Complaints about not having enough time to study, eat well, exercise, work, and socialise are rife at University. Many students end up with a substandard lifestyle that doesn’t encompass all the things they want and need to do. This does not have to be the case!
I am still trying to master studying dentistry, upholding a professional sporting career, earning a wage, and spending time with my friends and family. I don’t always get it right and I have definitely over prioritised certain aspects of my life, but I am starting to find the right balance (just!).
For my first blog post I want to share my top ten tips for life organisation and how to find the right balance of work and play so that you can live a fulfilled life at university.
#1 A little bit of planning goes a long way
The most productive days are always the ones which have been pre-planned and organised. As a lover of organisation, my planning is very specific and time oriented. But this doesn’t have to be the case, a simple list of what is planned each day and approximately how long each item will take would suffice.
#2 Do you really need to do that now?
Prioritisation is very important. Too often time is spent doing the things that are most enjoyable rather than the things that need immediate attention. Rank the tasks in order of importance, taking into consideration the due date. During revision season I have definitely been guilty of finding random household jobs to do instead of getting my head down and studying.
#3 Ticking satisfaction
I love lists! Especially when I can tick off my completed tasks. Don’t make the mistake of only putting large tasks on your ‘to-do’ lists as even the small tasks deserve a tick. This will leave you feeling satisfied and accomplished.
#4 The early bird catches the worm
Mornings are the perfect time to be productive. I find that doing some exercise before University sets me up nicely for the day and really works up an appetite for breakfast. If you are going to use the early hours for productivity, then an early night is required.
#5 Failure to prepare means preparing to fail
Meal prep is my saving grace to make sure I am eating a balanced and varied diet. We all get in from a long day at University and do not want to start preparing a meal. I have been guilty of reaching for a bowl of oats for my dinner in the past. Combat this problem and prepare your meals at the weekend when you have the benefit of time.
#6 Every second counts
Procrastination is one way that will stop your productivity for the day. Relaxation and down-time are required but these should be factored into your day. Don’t spend your dedicated studying time staring into space or online shopping.
#7 Killing two birds with one stone
Sometimes tasks can be undertaken at the same time. Studying on the train home, listening to a revision podcast during a commute, or finding fun ways to exercise with friends are all ways to multitask your way to success.
#8 Distancing distractions
Whilst lying in bed with your laptop open in an attempt to do University work seems great, it is very easy to be distracted. Using the library to get uninterrupted work done is a great way to ensure distractions are kept to a minimum.
#9 A problem shared is a problem halved
Worry and stress are not a good combination for effective time management. No one has the time to waste their energy on unwanted feelings that dampen mood. Manchester University’s counselling service provides both private and group sessions to help with any problems that you may encounter at your time at the University.
#10 Finding your inner zen
Relaxation and time to yourself is mandatory for a healthy body and mind. Apps like ‘calm’ can guide you through meditation, body scanning, and sleep preparation to ensure you take time out of your hectic schedule for tranquillity.
Remember that we are all muddling through University and struggling with different aspects of student life. It is ok to feel overwhelmed at times and not always get the lifestyle balance right. The most important thing is to learn from your mistakes and use them to shape your future decisions.
I hope my top tips help in making the most out of your time and give you some ideas on how to get the most out of your time as a student.