In a world where the meticulous balancing of academics, work, sleep and a thriving social life is expected to be the norm, maintaining productivity and avoiding burnout can be a struggle. For those juggling the pressures of extra-curricular or for those simply needing some guidance on maintaining focus in deadline season, here are some of the hacks I’ve learnt to keep the focus on my studies when the surrounding noise of life going on around you may be too much to handle.
Social Media Breaks and Phone Downtime:
Comparison is your worst enemy. While having a much-needed study break, I found that seeing the aesthetic Instagram stories of those who managed to write a whole essay in Starbucks in two hours and seeing the celebrations of those securing summer internships on LinkedIn just made me feel even more stressed, and as if I wasn’t doing enough. Because of this, I limit my social media usage when studying. The Forest app has been a godsend; setting a timer for an hour or two where you can’t touch your phone increases productivity levels drastically and leads to less toxic social media comparison.
Quiet Study Spaces and a Change in Environment:
Especially in a year where working from home has been the norm, making use of the University’s study spaces now that they are open, will of no doubt be a welcome change of scenery that makes you even more productive. Silent study areas in George Green and Hallward have, tragically, been where I have spent most of my time in the past month, and I can wholeheartedly say that the change in environment has led to me adopting a better routine and work-life balance.
Lo-Fi Beats and Study Soundtracks:
As a huge music fan, I for one am guilty of Spotify-induced procrastination, crafting my playlists and discovering new tracks when I, quite frankly, should be working. Yet club anthems and sing-along ABBA may not be the best to listen to when working (we’ve all had the occurrence of writing the song lyrics in the middle of your essay). Instead, lo-fi beats with no lyrics make for a good study soundtrack, and I find study-tuber Jack Edwards’ ‘Optimal Focus’ playlist to be a great melodic companion.
Have That Drink or Go For That Walk:
While the academic guilt coming along with taking a break may be rife, having a work-life balance is key to avoid burnout. Working 24/7 is not a realistic lifestyle to maintain, and your quality of work will decrease if you have no breaks. So go for that drink with your housemates and for that walk to get away from your desk – it will do you wonders in the long run!
The Extra-Curriculars Can Wait:
While we may have side-hustles and extra-curriculars that we are involved in, we are first and foremost at University to get a degree. The temptation may be high to ditch that bit of revision to do something which, while still productive, won’t benefit your degree. Yet prioritisation is key, and putting your studies first, especially in deadline season, is extremely important.
For those of you with exams still to go or for anyone needing tips on how to balance a busy lifestyle, I hope these have been of use. Keep going in that final academic push – summer is just around the corner!