How to nail your study-life balance

Finding a solid balance between work, life and study is super important, as it boosts your wellbeing and helps you feel ready to tackle any new things that land on your plate. When you’re deep in study mode, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy mix of study and fun times. Not only will it help you to keep a clear mind during busy periods, but scientific studies show that a balanced lifestyle (taking time away from work/study for sport and social activities) produces better results in school. That's a win-win!

Balancing act

The biggest stumbling block to nailing the study–life balance is failing to plan. If you don't set up a schedule or system, then before long, you'll be doing too much of one thing and not enough of the other.

  • Schedule blocks of time for different things in your life: school, study, paid work, hanging with friends and family, sport and exercise, and personal time.

  • Use a planner: If you're a visual person, try a wall calendar above your bed so you can always see it; or if you're a techie, download a digital planner for your phone, so it's always within reach.

  • Colour-code: Use colours to help make your planner super-easy to read.

  • Don't forget to sleep and eat: Being well rested and well fed will make a massive difference to your exam results. Now’s not the time to be tired and hangry!

Quality over quantity

Learning to work smarter, not harder, is the main aim when it comes to achieving study–life balance. Why spend nine distracted hours chained to your desk, when four fully focused hours would be way more beneficial? To ensure you're getting the most out of your study time, follow these top tips.

  • Have a designated, comfortable space to study. Avoid using your bed, as you want to be able to differentiate between your 'study' space and your 'sleep/relaxation' space.

  • Close the door and ask family members not to bother you. This includes pets!

  • Mute distractions, including all your socials. You can use apps like SelfControl, or the built-in feature on iPhones that lets you set how many minutes a day you can spend on particular apps – and turn off notifications!

  • Set a time when you'll stop, and make sure to schedule breaks between study sessions.

  • Write a to-do list for each session and tick off items as you go. Know what you want to achieve and try not to get distracted or sidetracked by other topics or tasks.

Reward yourself

Becoming time smart doesn't happen overnight, so if you're struggling to get the balance right, try adding a reward to your free time as a bonus.

  • Organise a catch-up with friends: Not only will hanging out help you to switch off from study, but having a commitment to keep will also motivate you to get your work done.

  • Save a series: Something new just dropped on Netflix? Perfect. Wait until you've nailed your study before giving it a binge.

Check out these study tips from the Online Community - 'I remember being given advice about motivation in terms of school, they told me "Think of it as needing to discipline yourself rather than needing motivation". I personally found that really helps me when I don't feel like doing something specific. Other times I set myself rewards that encourage me to finish work sooner, such as "After you finish this project go bake a cake".'

Stuck inside? Think outside the box

The nature of being stuck at home studying means that even rewarding yourself can start to feel a bit boring. If your free time isn’t feeling that fun, give some new things a go!

  • Try mastering a new skill. Get into meditation. Learn French! By adding variety and challenge to your free time, you’re less likely to lounge around and feel bored.

  • Post-school strolls. At the end of each school day, put the books down and your sneakers on. Fresh air and a new environment will create a clear ‘end of day’ vibe and make your schedule feel less cluttered.

  • Spice up your socialising. While chatting to friends is fun, add an activity to your catch-ups. Create a book club and pick one person to read a chapter. Host a trivia night, or get a group together and go watch a live match of your fav sport.

  • Challenge your family or housemates to get creative. Ask your fam or friends to get involved in your study breaks by creating fun ways to hang out. Ducking out of your room for an hour in between study blocks or just need to get your mind off study for the night? Time to put on an impromptu talent show. Let them have fun, while making fun for you!

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What can I do now?

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