Get the balance right

It’s important that students achieve a work/life balance, says Stephen Flatman.

Striking the right balance between our professional and personal lives is something most of us struggle with. According to the OECD’s (the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) Better Life Index, which looks at the quality of life of people in its 34 member countries, a good work-life balance is one of the essential factors for good mental health and overall wellbeing. Achieving work-life balance is therefore critical to maintaining a happy life.

CIMA has members and students working and studying in 179 countries around the world, who all have many different priorities to manage at work and at home. Some of them maybe experienced professionals with a family while others may just be at the start of their career with a busy lifestyle. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, the main key to achieving work-life balance seems to be allocating just enough time to your job (not too much) so you are also able to give yourself some much-needed down time. To help alleviate some of the pressure we have several tools that can help you seamlessly fit your studies into your life.

How to use the tools

The first tool available to all our students is the CIMA Study Planner, which allows you to create a personalised study plan that fits around your other commitments, keep study notes and track your progress. #

It’s also an online study companion you can access on your phone, desktop or tablet, meaning you can have it with you at all times to help keep you on track and effectively manage your time. Using tools like the Study Planner can be a very useful comfort blanket for times when you feel like you are under too much pressure.

In its ‘5 steps to mental wellbeing’ article the National Health Service (NHS) says connecting with other people is also a great way to support your mental wellbeing. Our free webinars and events, we hold locally around the UK, could be a great opportunity to meet other CIMA Students and like-minded professionals, while picking up exam tips and techniques.

Connecting in this way can be important as you get to be surrounded by people with whom you share common goals. This can help build your sense of purpose which is another facet of wellbeing. Connecting with others can also be a great source of emotional support and in turn can allow you to give to others by reciprocating.

We fully recognise that modern life demands flexibility – it’s how we manage to fit so much in to one day. And that is why we offer the freedom to book your exams when you are ready, or reschedule at your convenience if something comes up at work or at home, in any one of over 5,000 Pearson VUE test centres worldwide.

As the OECD’s Better Life Index points Get the balance right out, devoting time to personal care and leisure, is how you achieve the ultimate work-life balance and ultimately build a happy life. The NHS points to connecting with your loved ones as great way to feel happy. Things like taking time each day to have an evening meal with your nearest and dearest, arranging a day out with friends you have not seen for a while, making sure you take time away from your desk at work and have lunch with a colleague or a friend, will help make a difference to your overall wellbeing.

Everything you need

We hope all of these things give you everything you need to slot your studies into your life as seamlessly as possible and ultimately complete the CIMA professional qualification on your own terms and make time for the things. An investment in yourself will make you more productive in the long run.

• Stephen Flatman, Vice President, Examinations, Management Accounting, The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants