How to manage a heavy workload
The end of term is approaching, which means it will soon be exam-prep and essay season. That, on top of doing work for seminars and presentations, can sometimes feel like a lot. Especially as my motivation tends to lag towards the end of term, and being stuck at home doesn’t really help. So here are some tips I’ve picked up to help cope with these busy times:
Prepare in advance – this is a pretty obvious point, but when you know you’ve got a lot of work coming up, planning out your schedule around your deadlines is vital. It’s very easy to leave everything to the last minute only to be overwhelmed by it. Instead, planning your weeks and pacing the workload out will help prevent you from feeling stressed later on. Also, if your essays aren’t rushed, chances are they will be of better quality.
Make sure to take breaks – working all day every day is a recipe for a burnout waiting to happen. That’s why it’s important to schedule in rest time around your studying. This may sound obvious to some, but I’ve known a lot of people who struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Rest is a vital time to regain your motivation and concentration ability, and nurturing your hobbies is a great way to make you feel happy.
I try to hold myself to a 5 day work, 2 day rest schedule. This year I initially tried to take the weekend as those two days off, but it wasn’t working for me. I have three of my four classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, so I’ve found it more practical to work over the weekend and take Wednesday and Thursday off instead.
Within your work days, be sure to take breaks for lunch and dinner. Go for a walk or do some exercise, and use the few hours before bed to relax and do something that you enjoy, be it reading, watching a show, etc. This gives you something to look forward to at the end of the day.
Set daily goals –At the end of each day, I reflect on what I got done that day, and plan what needs to be done the next. That way, I can wake up in the morning knowing exactly what task to start on. Having a clear direction when I start the day helps to prevent me from procrastinating and wasting the day trying to figure out what I should be doing.
Hold yourself accountable – As students we have the flexibility to set our own schedules around our timetables, which on the one hand is great because we have freedom to choose when we rest. But the downside to this is that we have less accountability. We are not held to a set schedule like what you might have if working a standard 9-5 job, so it can lead to us taking liberties. Which is fine; we’re students, not workers, but studying still needs to be done. Set rewards for yourself as a means of motivation, for example, you’ll only get to have dessert with dinner if you’ve finished all your tasks for the day.