How You Can Balance Work, Life and the CFA Exam

It’s nearly impossible to add anything else to our already over-demanding schedules. That’s why we have to do more with less and create more value for ourselves.

It’s nearly impossible to add anything else to our already over-demanding schedules. That’s why we have to do more with less and create more value for ourselves. The CFA Institute recommends 300 hours of preparation for each exam. At first, that kind of commitment can cause uncertainty about whether you can handle the additional study hours on top of an already packed schedule with other responsibilities in your personal life. 

This is why self-awareness is crucial to becoming a CFA professional. You have to understand what it is YOU want and how to get there. It takes even more self-awareness to tell your loved ones, employer, and friends what you need from them to accomplish your goal. When you’re having a hard time getting things done, being upfront about your goals and dreams can be tricky. We may try to beat around the bush and hope that everyone knows how important it is to obtain a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter without actually communicating how significant it is for our careers. 

First thing's first: you have to know is what’s important in your life. Yes, it may be the upcoming CFA exam for you, it may not be. If it is, it's fine if you haven't had the time to allocate time for studying but now it's time to decide when you'll study. To find more time for yourself, one of the first things to do is take a look at your social life. Is there anything in particular that’s taking up all your time? The people you choose to spend your limited free time with can either give you energy, or drain it. Unfortunately, it could mean that it's time to carefully step away from friends who don't understand or support your efforts.

Similarly, your family and friends should be aware of what you’re experiencing so that they can help you through it. This is a tough one because there’s so much we don't know and we feel like we should be able to do it all on our own. Trust me though, you should talk to your family or friends about how they can help you with your studies. Tell them how they can help you to meet your study goals. Don't be afraid to ask for any assistance you might need along the way. You might find that those closest to you, or the people you depend on, can work on the same goal as you.

It's important that you prepare for the CFA exam during your full schedule. If you need to be, be upfront with your employer and coworkers about your CFA career aspirations and find out what resources they have to help you be successful. If there are any additional responsibilities or tasks they can assist you with during your CFA studies, ask them for help. Besides, what you're doing will make you more valuable to the company in the long run.

This is an important one!! Communication is a significant tool you need to balance your time and energy. Whether you work alone or as part of a team, always communicate with the people that are important in your life.

Last but not least, be fully engaged in the effort. It doesn’t matter how much time you’re spending on any one thing – if you’re not wholly committed to the task, whatever it is, you won’t get the maximum benefit from the time you’re devoting to it. If you’re at work, be 100% focused on work, not studying. When you’re with family, be 100% focused on having quality time with them, not thinking about work.

Needless to say, but when you’re studying, be 100% invested in the material in front of you. If you give everything your full attention in its proper time, you WILL find the balance you need to succeed on the CFA Exam. 

Honestly wishing you the best of luck! Not because you need it though, but because you can never have enough. 

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