Taking Time and Making Time
Time’s a precious thing at University. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that there’s never enough time in the day and that’s often just for everything I have to get done without any thought for all the other stuff I want to do with my free time. And this term has definitely gotten off to a hectic start.
Coming back after Christmas has felt a bit like trying to run a marathon without any training . My timetable has changed from last term and, while I’m sure it’s not really as different as it seems, it feels so much more full on than first term.
So now I’m wondering how I’m going to fit all the other important things in around my academic responsibilities. The first week has made it painfully clear to me that this is important. You can’t spend every hour in the library. Time to reflect and relax is an essential so here’s how I try to take time and make time for those little indulgences throughout the day.
One of my greatest passions is reading and I feel quite lucky really that this is so. A lot of people say they don’t have enough time to read for pleasure but my advice is simply to always have a book to hand in your bag. It’s different for everyone of course but I find the simple act of pausing for even ten minutes and turning the pages, wherever I am, is one of the greatest escapes in my day.
So maybe your not such an avid reader but I think everyone should ask themselves, is there something that I can always have available to me to help me relax. It could be making sure you always have your headphones so that you can put aside your work and get lost in music for a moment or just having anything small that you can throw in your bag and use as a temporary distraction when needed.
Now this may sound impossible but it’s probably the most important piece of advice I can offer. Regardless of your schedule, plan time to turn off for a while and relax.
Of course it’s important to work hard at university but there’s a difference between working hard and working efficiently and most effectively. I would always argue that taking a break will renew your energy and motivation to work and to succeed. And when I say turn off for a while, taking this a step further and literally turning off your phone and stepping away from your work can amplify the effect significantly. In this regard, I think the cinemas always get it right when they encourage you to disengage without the outside world for a moment.
And speaking of cinemas, I always love to have something to look forward to when the end of the week arrives. I find that even the simplest of deviations from the normal routine really motivates me to push on in my work throughout the week just so that I can really enjoy whatever it is I have coming up. There’s nothing worse than having an assignment weighing on your mind when your trying to have fun so I always set myself a target to look forward to at the weekend and convince myself that I have to have all my pressing deadlines cleared out of the way by then.
Personally, I am terrible for working in the evenings. I will if I have to but I like to be able to switch off once I’m back after a days work and once I’ve cooked myself some dinner. I’m a fan of rigging my day so that I don’t make work the first or last thing in the day.
In the mornings, I’ll get up and watch a bit of TV or read with breakfast and then, in the evenings I make sure to set aside a decent amount of time to enjoy dinner and try to make it so that I don’t have to return to the textbooks afterwards. Maybe you disagree and think this is a sign of laziness but I find I’m in a much better state of mind if I have these moments of calm to bookend my days.
I feel I end every blog post this way but, of course, these are all the things that work for me and may not for you but I hope that there is something in here that can offer a little bit of guidance at least. The key message: take some time away from your studies and make sure you have something to fill the gap. Exercise and a healthy diet can be great in supporting your mood and well being but everything relies on taking some time to relax.
Be selfish once in a while and ignore everything, everyone and then get back to it once you feel re-energised.