How to balance work and school while practicing time management

The end of November marks the last stretch until the end of first semester (woohoo! Freedom is near!). The end of exams means the start of Winter break, and it’s hard not to daydream about your trip back home or the weekend in Whistler you planned with your friend, but we all know how intense the last few weeks of class followed by dreaded exams feels. Maybe you’re feeling great about wrapping up your courses and tackling those upcoming exams, maybe you feel you need 30 hour days rather than 24 hour ones (we’ve all been there), or maybe you even want a button to pause time so you can just breathe. Either way balancing work and school is a tough task.

We don’t always consider the various aspects of our wellness when we think of balance. In fact, as students, most of the time we are so focused on one task that we don’t take the time we should to ensure the other parts of our wellness are sufficiently met. So here are some tips as to how you can maintain a healthy balance, whatever that may look like to you.

Set personal deadlines for when you ideally want to have tasks done. Physically writing down your due dates can help you to plan your time better as it gives you a visual for what you need to accomplish within a set time frame. Using a calendar or planner, whether you’re an online kind of folk or enjoy using good ol’ pencil and paper, are super helpful for keeping track of your to-do’s and what you want to get done. Pro tip: Setting deadlines for earlier than the actual due date saves stress in the long-run! It gives you time in case something comes up or if you want to spend more time editing and fine-tuning that assignment.

Put your phone away or at least turn it face-down and use that silent button when you are doing work. If you are like me, phones can be a huge distraction when trying to get a not-so-fun assignment done. Something a lot of students find effective is setting an alarm on your phone for a set amount of dedicated study time. For example, if your focus lasts about 20 minutes, set an alarm for that amount of time and don’t touch your phone until the alarm goes off. Then take a 5-10 minute break and try repeating this 3 times before taking a longer study break.

Get to know your energy cycle to see when you are the most productive during the day. This can give you insight as to what time of day you are the most efficient at completing tasks, so you can focus on those not-so-fun assignments during that time. If you want to know more about your energy cycle come down to the Wellness Centre and grab a worksheet so you can see what it looks like!

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post, study places and tips!

Written by Claudia and Sarah

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