I think we can all agree that, since almost all of our time is spent online now studying or working from home, it is much harder to switch off and actually relax at home. I thought I would put together a few ideas that might help you differentiate between work time and chill time, despite possibly spending both of those in the same room!
This is admittedly also a space for me to remind myself to take my own advice. None of us are perfect, especially when it comes to taking time out. There is such a fine line between not taking enough time for yourself, and taking far too much time, resulting in a very messed up schedule. I hope this can help all of us in some way!
Firstly, as I mentioned, you might end up spending your time working/studying and your time relaxing in the same room. If possible, the best way to tackle this is to use different rooms for different tasks. However, I know most of us reading this are probably students who either live in halls or a HMO where the only room you’ll get any peace and quiet is your bedroom. Therefore, if you basically have to work and relax in your bedroom, I’d suggest these three things:
- Please, please don’t do work in your bed. Your brain will think ‘time to relax’ when you’re trying to work, and ‘time to work’ when you’re trying to get to sleep. Just don’t mess your brain up like that!
- When it comes to lunch time, or any meal time, don’t eat in your bedroom if you can avoid it. In any normal workplace, you get around an hour break for your lunch. Do this! Take an hour in the living room or go for a walk outside once you’ve eaten, whatever it takes to get out of the space you work in.
- Linked to the above, take further breaks where you leave your work space or at least sit on your bed for ten minutes instead of sitting at your desk. This just lets the mind reset and when you go back to your desk, you’ll be ready to tackle the next task.
My next tip would be to make a routine, or even a timetable, for you to follow as closely as possible every weekday. Normally, we’d be getting ready on a morning and going straight to campus to spend most of the day there. But, at the moment, a lot of our time is spent at home, watching pre-recorded lectures, or reading and preparing for live online seminars, and these tasks aren’t put into a timetable for you. Therefore, I’d suggest making a rough routine so you know when you’ll watch the pre-recorded lectures, and when you have to have all your reading and prep done by. This will make you feel a lot more organised. For example, I watch all my lectures on a Monday because I have no timetabled classes on Mondays.
Another huge tip that really helps me is to make a to do list for the next day before you go to bed. This can include non-uni/work related things too like hoovering your room or batch cooking a meal or two. I often find that having a to do list to work through for the day really motivates me to get each task done as efficiently as possible. Today, for example, I have my to do list beside me, and in a few minutes I’ll be able to tick off the ‘write a blog post’ task. This small achievement really motivates me to get on with the rest of my list ASAP! When I write a to do list, I often find that I finish the tasks a lot earlier in the day than I would have if I’d spent all day thinking ‘what should I do next?’ so that means I have a lot more time in the evening to relax!
As always, it’s a good idea to squeeze in some exercise so you aren’t sat down all day every day. I would suggest doing some type of exercise that you can be held accountable for, i.e. if you are part of a sports team that are allowed to train at the moment, the friends you have in your sports team will hold you accountable if you don’t turn up to training. Or if you have an exercise app such as Strava where your friends are expecting to see your run/walk route at least once a week, you’ll be held accountable if you don’t post any for a whole week. I would add, though, that you shouldn’t feel bad if you have no motivation to do exercise. I think we’re all in the same boat with that one! I just think having accountability means you’ll be far more likely to want to do it, so you don’t let anyone down.
These are all the tips I’ve found that help me, and I really hope they help you too!