Dealing With Working Too Hard and Hardly Working

This unprecedented semester has led to many students taking one of two extremes: either they’re working themselves too hard or they find themselves hardly working. When faced with stress and uncertainty, either of these two reactions is perfectly normal and expected. Despite the strong unhealthy tendencies we can often harbor, there are two apps that I’ve found great for dealing with each reaction to stress.


To Stop Working Too Hard

The first app I am recommending is “Insight Timer”. You can find this app for free both on the App Store and Google Play. Insight Timer has a ton of really cool features, like live events you can listen to and specific audio recordings for boosting self-esteem. However, the most useful (and important) feature of this app is that you can set meditation timers. You can set this timer to be any set of minutes you would like, which is convenient for short breaks in between studying sessions. In addition to this, you can select which audio track plays in the background. While I prefer quieter audio tracks, there are also louder ones like jungles. This can be helpful for people who struggle to immerse themselves in mediation.

Now, the hard part for those who can’t stop working is setting aside a time to specifically care for yourself. The hardest hurdle to get past is the idea that your schoolwork comes before you. This is never true, even during the world’s craziest semester. In fact, it is more important than ever to recognize that you are the priority during this semester. You have to take care of yourself if you want to succeed long-term. To help myself make “me time”, I will schedule in meditation sessions or just simple things like 15 minutes of drawing. I feel much more obligated to complete the “task”, and effectively trick my brain into taking care of myself.


To Stop Hardly Working

The opposite problem requires a different approach. When working too hard, you channel the energy you’re already using into taking care of yourself. However, an object at rest stays at rest. It’s so easy to just pick up your phone or open a new tab for Facebook. To deal with this, I highly recommend an app called Forest. Although this app costs a little money, I have not met a single person that has regretted getting it. The concept of Forest is that if you study for a certain amount of time (you can pick) straight, you will grow a virtual tree for your virtual forest. It may sound silly at first, but it is incredibly satisfying to watch your trees accumulate as you continue to study.

As you study, you also begin to accumulate coins. These coins can be used to purchase additional trees that you can grow. You have the option to purchase mushrooms, coral, bushes, and even sleeping willows. If buying more virtual things with virtual coins isn’t up your ally, you can also save your coins to eventually buy the planting of a real tree! Not only does this app help you study, but it also can help you contribute to saving our forests.


Regardless of which problem you’re having as a student, there is a way to make things easier for yourself. Sure, classes are incredibly taxing on all of us, but working with your rewards system / scheduling in time for self care can make a huge difference in academic performance and overall well being. Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends if you find yourself drowning in classes - they are your support system. They are another great tool for taking care of yourself.