‘I am not an early bird or a night owl. I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon’
Being one step ahead is undeniably a wonderful feeling, but at what cost? I have learnt that at University, it is just as important to be OK, happy and on track. I used to put a lot of effort into being prepared for the week before it had even started, but sometimes you have to admit, being ahead of the game is hard work, and actually not necessary. So here are a few ways that I manage my time and maintain a healthy mindset when going into each new week.
How do you manage your time?
‘time is non-refundable. use it with intention.’
Time management is so central to any degree and maintaining a healthy mindset. I love the phrase ‘work smarter, not harder’ and it’s something I really try to live by. Here are a few ways I manage my time to work smarter.
- Complete my most important tasks first– if it has to be done, it’s top of the list.
- Don’t over-commit– I take on enough. Why give yourself an unrealistic target? It’s not worth having mountains of things to do, but never finishing them to a standard you are proud of.
- Have a good night sleep- boring but true. 7 to 8 hours is best to be productive the next day.
- Work at your optimum time– I find I work best in the afternoon and when I get the motivation, I grasp it with both hands! Some people work best in the morning. Find out what works for you and plan your time accordingly.
- Don’t procrastinate– as the Queen of Procrastination I can say this is a tough one. So I usually put my phone far away from my bed. Or even on a high up shelf, which sounds ridiculous, but my lazy butt won’t be able to justify reaching up to get it off of the shelf when I know I should be doing something else.
- Give your tasks a time limit– it’s tough but more time efficient. For example, I can have hundreds of pages to read for pre-reading, but if I have a lot of other tasks needing to be completed, then I will allocate myself 2 hours
- Leave a buffer time between tasks– I usually add 30% of the time I expected the task to take. This way if you run over, it’s OK and you have factored it in.
- Think of each task as an individual one- looking at a long list of ‘to-do’s’ is enough to stress anyone out. So plan what you need to do to complete your tasks and focus on only one at a time. I even get rid of all my other tabs, so I can fully focus on the task at hand.
- Exercise and eat healthily- I am a lover of chocolate and an advocate of treating yourself when the going gets tough. But, eating a healthy, balanced diet is key. Plus the gym is a great outlet.
- Make weekends actual breaks– granted we all have work that runs into the weekend, but take some time off for yourself.
- Create an organised system that works for you– I like to print of a calendar at the beginning of term and fill in all my deadlines and social events I would like to attend. Seeing it in this format makes everything look a lot less daunting.
‘the key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities’
How do you maintain your mental health?
Maintaining a healthy can be hard, especially when you have deadlines coming out your ears- so here are a few way’s that I rationalise my ‘to-do’s’ and maintain a healthy mindset.
- Keep perspective- everyone has those days where things just go wrong. But tomorrow is a new day. A new start.
- I write a list or a mindmap of everything on my mind, right before bed. It’s quite therapeutic, I pour out all my worries, concerns and to-do’s and go to bed with the knowledge I’ll pick up where I left off in the morning. You can even have a chuckle with yourself when you think ‘future me can deal with that’.
- Value yourself- a friend said to me that you should be your own best friend. Like the phrase ‘treat others the way you would like to be treated’ but in reverse. Treat yourself the way you treat others. Value yourself and avoid self-criticism. Make time for hobbies and the things you enjoy the most.
- Do not compare yourself to others– you’re doing your best and that’s all that matters.
- Take care of your body- eat a healthy diet, treat yourself occasionally, drink lots of water and avoid the consumption of things that aren’t going to benefit your body, such as cigarettes.
- Find something that makes you happy. For me it’s chocolate. Some may say comfort eating is bad, but when you’ve got deadlines and need a boost, or even have had a bad day… treat yo self.
- Surround yourself with good people- positive vibes are so important to maintaining a healthy mindset. People generally feel better with a bigger support network.
- Control the controllables. Change what you can and don’t worry about the rest.
‘surround yourself with people who see your value and remind you of it’