Your grades are important, but so are your friends, family and other commitments. When everything is a top priority, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Maintaining balance between work, school and the rest of your life can help you feel calmer and more in control. Take a look at these tips and try to incorporate some into your own routine.
Organize Your Time
Taking a few minutes to organize your schedule and map out your tasks for the week can go a long way toward helping you find balance. Make a weekly to-do list and think about how much time each task will take you to complete. Break bigger tasks into smaller steps, and prioritize your list to show what must get done this week and what can slide into the next.
Slot each of these tasks into your calendar based on your deadlines and how much time it will take you to finish them. This shows you exactly how much time you have for other activities, helping you avoid being overscheduled or forced to complete assignments at the last minute.
Now that you know how much time it will take to get everything done, make sure you use that time well. Clear your desk of anything that might tempt you to drift off, like books you’d rather be reading or your cell phone. Install a productivity app on your laptop, which allows you to block distracting sites for a set period of time while you work.
Be sure that friends, family and roommates know you’ll need some uninterrupted time to get things done. When you take advantage of every minute you’ve scheduled for studying, you’ll have more time to spend relaxing later. The focus certainly won’t hurt your grades, either.
Develop a Support Network
You can’t go it alone, so look for a team that will support you. Create study groups where members can help each other understand information more quickly, go to your professors’ office hours when you have questions and look for other on-campus resources like free tutoring.
There’s no shame in admitting when you need a boost, so take every helping hand you can find. You may get some important insight from a friend or professor that finally helps a concept click, saving you time and helping you feel more confident in your learning.
Get help with tasks at home, too. If you have kids, enlist the grandparents and find the kids some great play dates to give yourself study time. Most of all, let people help you.
Have a Meltdown Plan
Despite your best efforts, you might find yourself overwhelmed and realizing you haven’t seen your friends in weeks. When this happens, have a plan for how to handle your feelings. Take a walk and call a friend to catch up, do some deep breathing, spend some time on a favorite hobby or take a quick shower. When you spend a few minutes taking care of yourself and reconnecting with what makes you happy, you’ll be better equipped to handle your stressors and move forward with a renewed sense of calm.
Balancing your schoolwork and the rest of your life isn’t always easy, but it can be done with careful planning, a strong support network and a tried-and-true way to get back on track if you stumble. Remember your goals and work toward them, then give yourself a well-deserved break to stay fresh.