Getting the balance between your social life and your studies at university is challenging. On the day you move to university you are suddenly overwhelmed with freedom, you can stay out till 5 am and no one will question it, you can also lay in bed till gone midday and no one will drag you out. However, this is not a good routine to get into. You have come to university for a reason, not just to party, but also to learn and prepare yourself for your future career. We, therefore, thought it would be useful to put together some tips on how to structure your days as a student.
Keep a diary/calendar
If you only take one piece of advice away from this article, please let it be to keep a diary. A diary will be your best friend, it helps you structure your days, keep organised and ensures that you never miss a deadline or important date.
You might prefer to have a diary on your phone but personally, I like to have a paper diary where I can write down to-do lists for the day for both my studies and also my personal/social life.
This is also a great way to ensure you don't have to work late into the evenings, we are often far less productive.
Treat your studies like a job
Another tip that I found extremely useful whilst at university was treating my university days like workdays. Even if I didn't have a lecture at 9:00 AM I would make sure I was up, ready and ready to start work at the university library at 9:00 AM. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the university library, you might prefer to work in the public library, your desk at home or somewhere completely different.
However, by structuring my days like a 9-5 job it ensured that I kept on top of my uni work whilst also allowing myself to have evenings and nights out with friends. This was also extremely important for me as I also worked a part-time job and played hockey for the university team, so being organised with my time and work was essential.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is incredibly important, if you aren't getting enough you will notice how you become less productive and less motivated to work. This will cause you to get more distracted and be detrimental to how effective the studying you are doing is.
The human body thrives off routine, by getting into a good sleeping pattern and structuring your days your mental health will thrive off the benefits. Of course, another thing to ensure you are getting is exercise, whether it's a walk, the gym (when they open) or your preferred sport this will help you sleep and your mind to stay focused.
Give yourself breaks
However important your studies are, breaks are just as important. If you don’t include breaks into your work schedule you will end up burning out and put your mental health at risk. You need to ensure you incorporate breaks into your studies days but also into your life, you need to ensure that you allowing yourself time away from work to spend out with friends, whether it’s a night out, getting a takeaway or whatever it is you prefer to do with your friends, it is important to get the right balance.
In order to achieve quality focus, you need to be strict with yourself, turn off your phone or leave it in your bag. Set yourself points in the day where you can check your phone, whether this is every half an hour or perhaps every 2 or 3 hours, don’t worry, 2 hours away from Tik Tok or Instagram never hurt anyone! When you do let yourself on your phone be sure to set yourself a limit on how long you can be on it. I would recommend somewhere between 5-15 minutes, any longer and you tend to lose the focus that you had before.
When I am studying I frequently use an app called ‘Forest’. On Forest you can grow a virtual tree, you set a time for how long you don’t want to go on your phone for, for example; 2 hours, if you don’t touch your phone for those 2 hours you will grow your virtual tree. I found this a good way to stop myself from breaking my phone break and you can also compete with your friends.
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