For many students, trying to establish some sort of routine is near impossible. I remember my first year being a mess of waking up at 1pm and having writing essays at 2am. For ages I struggled to find a functioning routine that didn’t completely mess up my body clock, so I thought I’d share my top tips on setting a routine whist at university!
Treat It Like A Work Week
Now by this I don’t mean you have to work 9am until 5pm, but treat your week like 8 hour working days. This includes lecture time. For someone on a course like mine it is a super effective way to run your week. I have so much reading to do and on average about 7 hours of lecture time a week. So for me that leave 33 hours of the week I can spend doing allll of the things I need to do.
Of course you don’t have to work 8 hours solid, incorporate breaks and lunch time, but essentially during these 8 hours, whenever they are, be university/course focused. I tend to mix my hours up between reading articles and books, and writing my essays. But I also use this time to organise things for the societies I am committee members of.
By treating your university work like a work week, guess what? You free up the weekend! You can visit friends and family, go get drunk or explore your local area. The weekend is yours to do as you please because you’ve sorted yourself out in the week! It’s also an opportunity for those that wish to work at university to have weekend jobs to earn a bit of money!
Use the 30/10 rule
This is 30 minutes of studying/essay writing etc to 10 minutes of break. I find this is the most effective rule for me. I know some people say 40/10 is better but I find those extra 10 minutes go a bit funny! Set a timer and don’t let things distract you. If things happen like the doorbell goes or your mum phones, pause the timer! Don’t let it eat into your study time!
Plus during your break, step away from your desk. Don’t just sit at your laptop and close down your essay to open up Facebook or something else. Get up and walk around! Go outside if you can. Or do what I do and put on some music and have a mini rave! Just make sure it’s unrelated to your work to give your brain a break!
Another really important thing is, for example, say you’re writing an essay and in a major flow; it would be tempting when the time runs out to keep going. I suggest not, your flow will still be there when you get back and probably having that breather will give you that extra fresh space you need to keep going!
Create A Workspace, That Isn’t Your Bed!
I know so many people that work whilst laying in bed: DON’T do it! The temptation is there to just snuggle up under the covers whilst you go over notes but the chances are you won’t be anywhere near as focused as if you’re sat at a desk! It doesn’t even have to be at your house, go to the library! They’re there for a reason!
If you do use your own home desk, make sure you keep it clear and tidy with study related items. Don’t build it up with post, receipts or jewellery; keep it clear! A clear space creates a clear mind!
Now this needs to be taken with some common sense. Primarily you should try and stick to the same pattern on a day to day and week to week basis, but in the real world this doesn’t always happen. If you have to work on a weekend because something comes up in the week, so be it! If you have to work a few hours less on a Thursday because you went to the Student Union the night before, so be it! Being flexible is an important aspect of routines, but if the need to be flexible occurs for the same reason repeatedly it’s time to switch up the routine to accommodate!