Being a good student and a good friend simultaneously isn’t easy, which is why it’s so difficult to maintain a balance in your school and social life. Below are a few tips on how you can regain your control and train yourself to work smarter and play harder.
- Don’t procrastinate
When working, seeing friends and family, and also studying during busy semesters it’s easy to give in to procrastinating on work that you may feel doesn’t need to get done right away. All of us have procrastinated at one time or another, but it usually doesn’t fare well and will most likely leave you more stressed down the line when your due dates start piling up. Try your best to avoid scratching the procrastination itch and instead work even more when you feel the need to. The moment you resign yourself to giving up or doing something at a later time, the easier it will be to continue putting it off.
A great way to encourage yourself to not procrastinate is by taking your work everywhere with you so that you don’t really have an excuse as to why you couldn’t do it. This can be done through email, a USB stick, or a secure virtual data room that you can access online, anywhere and any time. Your productivity is in your hands, so don’t let it slip away.
- Stick to a schedule
Once you find a schedule or a routine that time works for you, stick to it. This can be waking up at a certain time or taking a well-needed study break half way through the day. Whatever works to help you stay on top of your work in order to have time to see your friends and family should be implemented as often as possible. Try scheduling your weeks out in a daily planner so that you know exactly what you need to do for the next few days in order to have Friday evening off.
By having a visual layout of your school work it will better help you recognize how much you still need to do rather than brushing it under the carpet and falling into procrastination habits. You can even set up reminders in your phone to give you hourly alerts of what you should be doing so that it’s even harder to ignore throughout the day.
- Train your mind to focus
Without enough discipline during your study periods then your mind can easily drift off, making it that much harder to focus. Multitasking has always been considered an admirable quality, however has been proven to limit how much effort actually goes into each task. Rather than giving only 50%, train your mind to focus on one task at a time, giving it all your effort before moving on to another.
A simple way to do this is by getting rid of any distractions that might take your attention away from the work you need to be dong, making it harder to finish what you need to on time. Limit your phone browsing and stay offline (unless you need to access your virtual data room) until you are on your scheduled break before getting back to work. Practice makes perfect and practicing your mental focus will better help you make time for an active social life.
- Sometimes you need to just be alone
Even though you are trying hard to balance your school work and social life, it’s okay to decide that some nights you would rather stay home alone and recover from a busy school week. When you feel burnt out it’s better that you listen to your body and give yourself the time to physically and mentally recuperate instead of forcing yourself to see friends. Not only can this be detrimental to your focus and mental clarity for the next week, but you also won’t be much fun to be around if you are constantly exhausted and agitated by how much stress you’ve been under. Give yourself permission to say ‘no’ from time to time and know that your friends and family will understand that you can’t always be available and capable of spending every weekend out.
- Don’t lose yourself in your school work
This is similar to the previous point, however, much more pertinent for new university students trying to stay afloat during busy semesters. School is important, but it shouldn’t consume you. Give yourself time to relax, see your friends, and escape the mindset of exam prep and essay writing. Know when to shut off your computer and pick up a book or watch a movie instead. Your undergrad years will go by incredibly quickly if you don’t give yourself the chance to enjoy them.