Things can start to feel overwhelming at the end of Term 2. Is it even possible to get everything done on time? Yes! Here’s five tips how to more efficiently prioritise your time during these hectic final weeks of term… By Amy Preston
As we’re approaching the end of Term 2, things can start feeling a little crazy. For me, this time of the year feels the most stressful as I’m juggling job applications with essay deadlines, keeping up with being an active member in societies, fitting in time to socialise with friends, not to mention eating and sleeping. It’s around this time of the year that I realise I need to start prioritising my time. Sometimes you just need to step back, breathe, sip some tea and consider how you are allocating your time. After three and a half years at university, here are five top tips that I have learned that will help you re-think your weekly schedule.
Allocate a number of hours to your Uni work
When you have multiple assignments to do at the same time, it can seem quite daunting. Scheduling your day into blocks of time is a useful method for ensuring consistent progress in your assignments or exam preparation. I like to concentrate on one piece of work per day and change to something new the next day. Alternatively, you could divide your day into halves or thirds and make sure you progress with each piece of work in some way. If writing a dissertation, it’s a good idea to arrange meetings in advance with your tutor – this will motivate you to do an agreed amount of work before each meeting.
Set aside time for exercise
The first thing I drop when academic work or society duties gets too much is exercise. However, without exercise, my sleeping schedule suffers and I end up feeling worse than I did in the first place. Even though it feels like you don’t have the time, scheduling gym sessions three times a week will benefit you because it forces you to complete your academic work around it. When I’m struggling with an essay idea I find that after a quick walk or run I almost always return home with a refocused and more positive mindset.
Keep a written track of your academic progress
Juggling multiple essays? It’s useful to keep track of the progress you’ve made that day in a journal, whether it’s a note on a new idea that you’ve brainstormed or a list of what you’ve read. I use different coloured pens to make it clear how much time I’m spending on each essay. This way, if I realise one essay needs more attention than another, I can rearrange my schedule accordingly. The same applies to revising for multiple exams.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘meal prep’ tossed around by YouTube and Instagram fitness stars, but organising your food for the week doesn’t have to be reserved for the gym junkies. Cooking a large batch of food on a Sunday night will prevent the stress of having to do a last minute food shop and preparing food during the week. If you’re returning late from the library, it’s always good to know there’s a Tupperware box full of pasta bake waiting for you at home. Not only does meal prepping save time, but it’s also cost effective and will stop you from buying expensive takeaways instead.
Master the art of saying ‘no’
This is the most difficult point for me and is definitely something I’m still learning. A huge part of university life for me is socialising with a whole range of people and I love building new relationships all the time. But when you feel like you’re juggling too much, it’s okay to be selfish. Sometimes you have to say no to a social event or two – remember, your friends will still be there for you after the assignment deadline. Rearrange the social meeting for after the due date – going for a well-deserved hot chocolate at Curiositea or pint at the Duck after you’ve submitted the assignment gives you something to look forward to and an opportunity to wind down and celebrate.
Turning these handy tips into habits by thinking about how you are allocating your time and reprioritising accordingly can really improve your week. Although things might feel stressful, just keep in mind that everything will get done eventually… and then it’s just a click of a submission button away to a glass of wine at the Duck with your friends.