As it is currently exams and assignments season, finding a balance between revision and social life during such a stressful period can be challenging. Here are some of my personal tips and advice on how I balance my university workload and social life.
First and foremost, planning is extremely crucial to set your priorities straight and manage your time effectively. I usually plan out my weekly schedule every Sunday so I am able to visualise my tasks and goals during the week, and also fit in plans for my days off. By planning ahead, I have something to look forward to which keeps me motivated and productive to accomplish my tasks. To add, I find that getting into a routine and sticking to it is one of the best ways to stay on top of my work and be productive. I usually start my day at 8 am with a morning run at the park as I find that it refreshes my mind and puts me in a good headspace for a full day of work and revision. I then head out for a cup of coffee and to the library to get my tasks done for the day. In addition, I find that having sufficient sleep is crucial to my work performance so I make sure to sleep as early as I can to get enough rest for the next day of revision.
Personally, I struggle to focus consecutively for long hours so I use the Pomodoro study technique which works really well for me as it uses a timer to break work sessions into intervals (or Pomodoros), typically 25 minutes per session and separated by a short 5-minute break. By using this technique, I am able to focus more effectively with short intervals, for a longer period of time. After doing about 4 to 5 intervals, I usually go for a longer break which is usually a 15-minute walk outside to get some fresh air. There are many study techniques out there that you can experiment with to maximize your productivity.
Everyone is different when it comes to studying locations and trying out different locations to find the most suited environment for you is important, as it will affect your productivity and work performance. I prefer getting my work and revision done in the library as it is the optimum environment for me to focus. I personally like the Phillip Robinson library as it is the closest to where I live, has 4 floors and is open 24 hours. However, it does get busy, especially during this time of the year so I go to the other libraries such as the Marjorie Robinson, and Walton library, and I also mix this by working in a coffee shop or at home for a change of environment.
One of the biggest distractions is going on my phone whenever I feel tired or stuck doing work therefore I make sure to always leave my phone in my bag with the “Do not disturb” mode turned on and to only check on my notifications during long breaks to avoid wasting time and procrastinating. Moreover, I sometimes use ‘Forest’ which is a productivity app that disables you from scrolling and checking your phone for a set period of time to beat procrastination and boost productivity.
Whilst optimising your time and getting as much work done as possible is good, it is crucial to have a few days off to relax and unwind to avoid getting burnt out. To make sure I unwind properly and get the rest I need, Sundays are when I usually allow myself to have a lie-in, stay at home and treat myself to a nice takeaway and movie.
I hope this helped and good luck with revision!