I don’t know about you guys, but I am swamped. I have a ton of coursework, not to mention going in to uni for lectures 4 times a week. I’m getting everything done on time and am also finding time to do fun stuff i.e. shopping and my blog posts. So, how am I finding time to do everything? I’m balancing my time really well and am working with a great routine. This article will hopefully help you to balance your time well between coursework and relaxing.
My first piece of advice, and in my opinion the most important, do not work all night! I know pulling all nighters is really tempting, especially if you have a deadline, but you’re work won’t be at its best, and you’ll be tired, so you won’t be working properly. Instead of working like this, you need to make yourself a good routine.
I find that I work the best 1st thing in the morning, when my head is fresh. I wake up at 8, do an hour of work before breakfast, then come back to my work until midday. Then I’ll take another break for lunch, and possibly go for a walk to stretch my legs, then I’ll work some more until 7, when I call it a day. This kind of routine allows me to have evenings off (unless there is an imminent deadline due) and to enjoy some time to get fresh air. You also need to take constant breaks when working. Try a 5-10 minute break every hour. Use this time to stretch your legs and grab something to eat. It’s been proved that your brain needs a break every hour or so to breathe a bit, so do it for your poor brain.
A good night’s sleep is vital towards working well. Aim for about 5-8 hours a night and try to sleep and get up at the same time every day, so that your body can adjust to a normal routine and get used to it. A good night’s sleep will keep you fresh and active.
A great way to reduce stress is to do your work early. I usually start a piece of coursework when I get it and work calmly towards the deadline instead of work in a panic speed the night before the deadline, which is also when all the useful books are out of the library. Leia said to me that working for an hour a day for two weeks on something is better than rushing at the end, and she’s right. By doing something early, and with time to spare, means that I know that I’ve given it my all. You have to beat the library rush and start any research early. This means that I’m watching TV the night before a deadline while my friends (you know who you are) are in the library stressing about an essay.
Water is your best friend when you’re working hard. It improves your concentration and is good for you. I usually keep a bottle of water with me on my desk when I’m working. Avoid caffeine at all costs. Cokes, coffee etc will only give you energy for a short period of time, and then you’ll just be knackered.
As for food, try to stay away from junk food. Instead of snacking on a chocolate bar, try a banana or pear instead. I guarantee you’ll feel the difference and feel more energetic and read to work. I’m probably not the best person to say avoid chocolate because I am the biggest chocoholic ever! But I have been cutting down in favour of more healthy snacks. Grapes are great as well. Just have a bunch beside you when you’re working and just pick at them.
The most important thing to say in terms of food is to always have three good meals a day. I know lots of people who skip breakfast, but it’s not good. If you can’t stomach something heavy, try for a piece of toast, some cereal, or my personal favourite, a bagel. All three are fairly light but are enough to wake up your brain in the morning. A lot of people also skip dinner or lunch, but these are just as important. By sticking to three good meals a day, you’re less likely to feel tired or tempted to eat junk food.
A good environment is needed to work. Instead of getting your laptop and working in bed, get a desk to work on or if the weather is nice, take your laptop to the garden or to the local park. This way all you’ll have easy access to all the other resources that you’ll need and you won’t feel lazy either. By staying in bed, you will be more likely to feel lazy and won’t work to the best of your ability.
Most people also need peace and quiet to work. I don’t. I work best with loud music and my mum shouting in the background at my brother for not cleaning or something. But if you are one of those people who need peace to work, make sure you get it. Lock yourself in your room, or go to the library to get some work done.
Don’t be afraid to relax
Sometimes you do feel like doing no work. I know I do sometimes. When I know that I really can’t do something, I’ll take the day off. If you work well, you can afford to take some time off. By starting any coursework early, you’ll have a head start, and will be able to allow yourself to relax sometimes or got out with your friends. It’s not a crime to go out with so many deadlines looming, and you shouldn’t only have to do your work all the time. Take an extended break every now and then and enjoy being young (Cheesy, I know, but so true). University life is as much about having fun as it is about working hard.
Ahhh, my favourite part of coursework...the rewards. I like to work towards something and have something to look forward to when I’m doing a lot. Whenever I finish a big piece of work, I’ll go shopping and buy myself a treat or imagine all the free time you’ll have when it’s all over. Having something to look forward to, encourages you to work harder. By knowing that there is something waiting for you (those new shoes are just calling your name), you’ll be more likely to work to get them.