By Nevena Skobic (she/her)
Studying at a university can be quite stressful, especially in terms of balancing study/job and personal life, and it can be even more chaotic given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has had a direct impact on mental health. No magic wand can create a perfect timetable suitable for everyone, but I will bring up some important notes on how to get through the day as smoothly as possible.
With the virus circulating around, spending much more time at home would seem advantageous for a student at the first sight, but that would certainly not be the case for it is much more alluring to procrastinate. Moreover, the significant increase in mental health difficulties, as well as COVID-19 disrupting access to numerous mental health services across the globe have put the students under immense pressure to perform well at universities as if the pandemic never occurred. Therefore, I will offer guidance on the much-needed time management:
1. Be creative with the timetables – this can be a colourful Google Calendar, cute little notebook which you can decorate to your liking, a (professional) planner etc. I use a super cute pre-made planner (as shown) filled with inspirational quotes, stickers and various tables (physical activity, study plans, monthly bills…).
2. Get to know yourself and organise accordingly – this is the core idea of the article. There is no universal guide to how to organise your time because we are all unique, and our bodies react differently to external stimuli. For example, I study best at night, so I will go to bed late, but will give myself more time to sleep in the morning, especially because my classes at Oxford are either in the late morning or in the afternoon. Listen to your body and its needs – this is essential for your physical and mental health.
3. Set goals – these could be daily goals (buying groceries, preparing for the classes), weekly goals (essay deadlines, do vacuum cleaning twice a week, internship applications), monthly (socialise more, finish a project, make an appointment with the GP) and yearly (learn new skills, eat healthier, apply for a job/further studies).
4. Do NOT compare yourself to others – just because your course mate reads faster doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail. You may be reading slowly, but more attentively.
5. It’s completely fine if you are not productive today – you are not a machine. Don’t just blindly stick to the planner but use the time wisely. If today is not your day, leave everything aside: go to take a walk (with a friend), sleep, listen to your favourite love songs or bake a cake. Take some time to process your feelings and relax.
6. Note down everything you have to do during the day, from consuming vitamins to replying to the emails. At the end of the day, you will be amazed to see how much you actually worked, which is quite uplifting and motivating.
7. Finally, embrace the time management process and remember - you will be fine!