We’re all living through this unprecedented time together. Navigating these uncharted waters as college students; a whole new battle in and of itself. I think collectively we’re all just looking for a little guidance in how to manage our time and get things done, how to taking time for ourselves while staying on track with to-do’s.
We’re also hitting that point in the semester when motivation starts to dwindle. You’re not alone. I’ve compiled a list of tactics I’ve been implementing to eliminate that creeping in of stir-craze, and the discouragement that can often come when WFH.
What’s most important to remember is to be gentle with yourself (easier said than done), to give yourself credit and do the best you can with what you have in front of you. Getting work done while staying sane is possible. I hope these implementations, both work and mental health related, can help with that:
Hand-craft your mornings
As cliche as it sounds, mornings set the pace and tone for the rest of the day. I didn’t make the rules. I’m just here to share them.
Being intentional about what you need to succeed is vital in hand-crafting your best morning. The interesting and beautiful thing about this tip, is that it’s in no way universal. This will look wildly different from person-to-person. Not everyone has the same personality, tendencies, and therefore, the same needs.
This requires you to know yourself a little bit. What is it that you need to get in a good headspace for the rest of the day? Is reading for 10 minutes first thing in the morning? It is listening to a podcast while you get ready? Is it journaling? Listening to a certain type of music? Lighting candles? Working out? Sleeping in? Planning out your day/list-making? Your routined morning cup of coffee? Whatever it is, do your top few things that make you feel yourself. You deserve that (and more) at the very least. So, get crafting.
If quarantine time taught us anything, it’s the importance of talking walks. Taking time to get off a screen and take in the unblue-lighted outdoors is so refreshing and important. It’s a great way to break up the day and give yourself time away from whatever is most likely stressing you out, virtually. Enjoy some time out in reality to remind yourself school isn’t everything –– as much as it can seem like it is right now. The crisp fall weather is in full swing. I suggest getting outside while you can to enjoy the colorful leaves.
Chunking is the name of the game
Chunking has become my saving grace. Not saying it eliminates all stress (someone please show me that amazing creation) but it does put me a little more at ease. It makes tasks and assignments much less overwhelming and seem more manageable. Chunking is exactly what it sounds like: you take whatever assignment, paper, project, reading, etc. and break it into chunks, doing a little each day. It’s much less intimidating and allows you to allocate your time and energy efficiently while giving yourself some time to do things for you –– instead of cramming. To implement this, I recommend a planner or a to-do list of sorts. Google Calendar has also been my best friend this semester.
Make your nights relaxing
I will argue your nights are just as important as your mornings. I try my best to cut off work past a certain time. I understand that’s not always possible (for me too) or always an option. However, I think at least taking an hour to have dinner either with yourself or with friends/roommates and just talk or unwind with a show and forget about school for a little, before bed, I find really helpful and essential to my every day.
Set time-stamped boundaries
I just hinted at this, but setting up some sort of set time block for yourself really helps to give a sense of structure, and separates your work day from, let's call it, your “you day.” I just made this up in this moment but I’m referring to this as the rest of your day that has to do with anything other than school: social life, personal time, internships, creative time, Netflix/YouTube time, etc. Because in case you need a reminder, you are more than your work and your are not a machine. Have other things in your life that define you, like your relationships with others and with yourself.
I hope these tips helped, and remember that taking care of you IS productive and the WFH life as a college student is still an adjustment. We are all just doing our best. We're almost at a break, so power on! It’ll be that much sweeter when we get there.
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