How students work and learn while getting enough rest and having fun
If you look at this title and see “way too many things” or “an impossible combination,” it’s great that you’re viewing this page. Actually, most people probably feel they can’t combine all those activities effectively. For them, it’s either sacrificing rest and hobbies or getting lower results at work and in class. Still, being able to accomplish everything you want isn’t just an impossible dream. It’s achievable, but you’re right if you assumed that it’s not easy. If you’re prepared to invest time and effort into this goal, please keep reading to find out about some ways you can do that.
Time management is a necessity for everyone
Students are the group that illustrates diversity and moves society forward. That’s why each learner has a unique personality, which often comes with a chaotic but exciting schedule (or no schedule at all). Many parents feel that it’s quite normal for a youngster. After all, everyone needs some experience to understand systematic time management.
While there’s truth to that statement, we all know how unpleasant it is to learn from your own mistakes. That’s why students need working self-development plans that can support and upgrade their skills. Time management is one of those vital skills, so it’s important to invest your effort into this one. Imagine waking up feeling refreshed every day and knowing that you’re going to get well-deserved time for yourself after fulfilling all the duties. Going from chaos to this state seems to be really worth it. But what is the road you need to take to arrive safely?
Youngsters are often maximalist and radical, especially when it comes to changing themselves. They ask questions like, “am I not strong enough to get disciplined at once?” or “Don’t I have enough willpower to make it work sooner than several weeks?” While such readiness for a challenge is understandable and admirable, the honest answer is, nobody can. It’s not about willpower or inner strength, it’s really about changing the behavioral patterns wired into your brain. Those schemes determine how you need to act rather than how you want to act, so you can’t just reverse them in one go.
Instead, you require a comprehensive approach that attends to your individual needs, taking care of your mind. This way, you can gradually submerge into the new schedule and avoid relapsing into the good old chaos that governed your life before. If you’re ready, let’s look at some of the steps you need to take.
Getting started with self-analysis
If that’s so hard, then where to begin? Well, be prepared to postpone the active stage a little and spend several days understanding your unique needs and setting the goals. Here’s how that works.
- List what you’re going to change. Order matters here, so try to move from the easiest thing to the most difficult one. For example, you can start with going to bed an hour earlier every day and finish with the aim to entirely rebuild your schedule so that not a single hour goes to irrelevant activities. Of course, there should be goals of medium difficulty as well. For example, exercising for one minute every morning is already a nice achievement if you can cement that habit for the future. Just try to go into as much detail as possible.
- Think about at least three patterns that stand in your way. There’s a trick to this specific task. While you should write your thoughts down, you can’t do that in an emotional manner. “I’m lazy” or “I just can’t do that” won’t give you the needed result. Instead, be logical and constructive. For example, “I can’t get out of bed with my first alarm because I stay up late playing video games.”
- Watch what you do during the day. Now that you understand what the problems are, try to observe how those problems affect your life. You’ll be surprised how different the usual things will look once you know what about them you need to alter. You might want to start a diary where you’ll write your key observations and future plans.
- Understand how much time you can free without hurting yourself. Most students start to learn time management hoping to get more free hours, which is natural. However, know that overloading yourself during your part-time job or doing homework without proper concentration can lead to problems that will take up even more hours you could’ve dedicated to what you like best.
Steps to the right solution
Importantly, the journey to efficiency will be different for each individual. That’s why the best we can do for you here is offer some approaches that can direct your self-organization, but you should be the one choosing what suits you best and applying that method. Here are some dos and don’ts to get you started.
Create a precise plan, even if you’re not sure you’ll be able to fulfill it. You might fail at first, which is completely normal, but you need to have an understandable model before your eyes. Think about that plan as an ideal you’ll only reach after passing all the needed stages, and each small accomplishment will bring you joy because you’ll see how much closer you are to that ideal.
Understand your inner clock. Your body knows when it needs to recharge and when it’s capable of high productivity. What you need to do is feel those moments and use them to your advantage.
Prioritize your activities. That’s an old model. Urgent and important tasks come first, followed by the important but not urgent ones. Then you get urgent but not important, and, lastly, not important and not urgent. There’s no way to explain it more plainly.
Never try to multitask. Despite what some psychologists claim, our brain can’t perform several activities simultaneously. What it can do is jump from one task to another, losing focus and energy. That’s why you’ll lose either speed or quality if you attempt to follow that trend. It’s better to complete every activity separately.
Don’t allow anyone to manipulate you. While it’s necessary to spend quality time with friends and family, you should learn to say no when you know it might ruin your plans. For example, you don’t have to go to a party if you know you must rise early the next morning, no matter what anyone says.
Creating your own system
All the tips above are great, but only you know which ones are really important and how to pull them all together to create a working mechanism. That’s because there are multiple ways to get it started and end up with good results. Let’s look at some of those options.
- Planning is everything, but you decide how to do it. Maybe the perfect plan you aren’t able to follow at once demotivates you, reminding you about all the times you lost hours for nothing. If that’s the case, stick to the main goals and refine the details later. What’s really important is staying strong and energized to get it done.
- Tracking your accomplishments is up to you. If you can memorize every time you’ve succeeded or failed, it’s not obligatory to write that in a diary or on the calendar for everybody to see. The most important thing is the ability to measure progress and identify the areas you need to strengthen. Surely, there’s more than one way to do that.
- Rewards are important but not obligatory. Many experts say you should honor your successes with something material, but that’s a debatable perspective. Doing that on a regular basis might weaken your intrinsic motivation, so your brain will focus on each reward more than on your long-term goal. This can ruin the lasting results, so be careful there.
- Only you choose your decision-making strategy. If you fail, there are at least two options. One is to try again with the old plan after analyzing each mistake. The other is to create a new mechanism that will work better based on what went wrong the first time. While taking advice from good friends and parents is essential, remember that you’re the only person who knows best.
What comes next? Alterations!
Be ready to realize that your initial plan wasn’t entirely perfect after succeeding with that strategy. People who learn time management usually develop excellent analytical skills, so you might see more flaws once the initial stage is over and you’ve got a working schedule. Some learners get frustrated because of this, but, in fact, it’s an excellent chance for further growth.
Naturally, you won’t destroy what you’ve already accomplished, but building on that foundation is a perfect idea. You can use the same analytical tools that you’ve utilized before or add some new ones. That depends on what you need to alter since the arising issues might only partially relate to time management.
For example, let’s imagine you finally have time for everything but you started smoking because of the stress that all the changes imposed on you. It’s important to understand that we’re dealing with a habit here, so the approach should correspond to the nature of the problem. One of the effective schemes is three R’s of habit formation. These stand for reminder, routine, and reward, and many people have already changed their lives by using this system.
Still, everything in our lives is linked to time management, so prepare to spend additional minutes on exercises or calming activities that replace harmful habits. Breaking the unnecessary patterns in your brain might also cause unpleasant physical feelings, so try making some leeway in your schedule, giving yourself more time for the most challenging activities. After all, changes take time.
While all that’s going on, you’ll have to learn to forgive yourself for missing out on opportunities or making mistakes. Remember that nobody is perfect and your effort to make your life better is essential. It’s not only an individual accomplishment because your colleagues, friends, and family will surely be happy if you feel better about yourself.
Managing unplanned activities
It’s all fine and good, you can say, but how about the tasks and events that seem to come out of nowhere? Sure, being able to say no is very important but isn’t it harmful to dedicate all your time to work and self-centered activities? Let’s answer these questions as fully as we can.
- Balance is everything. If you want to stay mentally healthy, you shouldn’t get completely isolated, but neither should you sacrifice your learning and work to constant entertainment. If you keep the balance between these two sides of life, you’ll always have a good time because parties won’t become a routine.
- Assess all activities you’re offered. We all know that getting a crippling hangover on Sunday equals feeling terrible on Monday, but that’s not the only way. Try thinking several steps ahead, like a chess player, and you’ll understand which options are right for you. Maybe drinking on Saturday is safer?
- Don’t underestimate relaxation. It’s never too late to change your mind, but forgetting all the worries at least once a week will keep you safe from depression and burnout. Sure, you don’t get paid for having fun, yet we like to do that for a good reason. Essentially, our brains need recharging to work properly, just like smartphones.
- Try to create commitments in advance. If you get irritated by constant unplanned parties and games, you can ask friends about their plans and schedule those activities at least one week ahead. It’s really important to show up and not disappoint your loved ones, understanding the responsibility of such promises.
As you can see, it’s never easy to find a strategy that will fit you. It’s even harder to go through with the selected plan. As frustrating as it can be, failure to grasp perfect time management at once is never really your fault. We can’t predict all the things that happen in our lives, so there’s no need to blame yourself. What’s really useful is working hard and understanding what to do.
So, one thing’s for sure—managing your time perfectly is easier said than done. Self-reflection, observation, and a step-by-step approach are your best friends on the journey to the perfect schedule.