University is a time of substantial personal freedom. You could from 9am-3pm school days, with hours of structured homework, to as few as 6 hours a week with all the time in the world. This is an aspect of university I think many overlook and fail to understand how it can easily lead to a very unproductive lifestyle. Recently, I’ve looked to make some changes to my life, in order to help myself maintain focus and a self-produced structure in my academic life.

 

Cooking meals

This has been a recent change which has positively helped my mood and life structure. Whenever I can, predominantly dinner or lunch, I try my best to cook an actual meal rather than simply throwing something in the oven. This helps as it gives me a sense of achievement from making a healthier stir fry, rather than chicken and chips straight from the oven. In addition, it allows you to take pride in your food. These are all little things but can overall help to improve your mood for the day and be used as a welcome break when working hard.

 

Setting a bed/wake up time

An issue particularly prevalent to me as I suffer from Insomnia, setting a time I go to sleep, and wake allows me to have a real structure to my day. Waking up by 9 am even if I am not doing anything until the afternoon allows me to be productive or have some leisure time before my day starts. Even if I only work from 11 am until 12 pm I gain an hour of work I otherwise wouldn’t have had. This has enabled me to be less stressed over work and feel a lot more focused when I do work, as consistent sleep (even if it is only 7 hours) has made me feel more awake.

 

Getting out every day

Again, this is something which can really influence your mentality positively. Even on Saturdays and Sundays, when it can be very tempting to sit in bed all day. Even when you are working hard in your room and don’t feel you have time to leave the house, it can be very positive to leave the house to go for walk, go see friends, go for a coffee any kind of activity. This is because it enables you to relax if you’re doing work or feel productive and active if you are watching Netflix, both of which enable self-positivity and ensure you remain highly motivated even if you aren’t doing too much.

 

Doing some work every day

Especially key for exam season, this has helped me so much. Just doing even half an hour of reading, or watching one lecture, can improve my mood exponentially. This is because if I do a bit of work, next time I come to do work I have something less to do, something which I’ve helped to tackle. This motivates me, as the list of things to do becomes more manageable and enables me to properly structure my working life to enable me to do work most efficiently.