4 steps to balancing study and life
Starting study doesn’t have to be overwhelming and it doesn’t have to take over your entire life! Creating a study plan can help you balance study, life and work without the stress.
Step 1 - Make a list
First things first, it’s helpful to pull out whatever planning tool has been helpful or effective for you in the past: a notebook, diary or planner is helpful if you find paper is your thing, otherwise using digital tools like Todoist, or even Excel or Word and make a list.
Then, figure out what tools or resources you need to study, what assessment needs to be completed and when, and any other goals to work towards. It may be helpful to add in any commitments outside of your study, like work, fitness or social events so you know what else is on your calendar. Be sure to add dates to your items so can keep on top of priorities.
At this point you’ll have one long list that outlines everything.
PRO TIP: Keep your schedule somewhere you can see it. This will help to remind your of what’s coming up and will also help keep your accountable.
Step 2 - Prioritise your list
The next step is to prioritise your lists. What is most important to you? What can’t move? What is more flexible?
Ranking your list and commitments helps you schedule and balance your study, life, and work commitments appropriately. You may also find colour-coding your entries or using symbols like stars or exclamation points help you quickly see what’s most important.
Try to be real with yourself. If you struggle with maths and have a heavily maths-based unit, you probably need to devote more time to that subject. If you know you're an auditory learner you may need to schedule more time to watch recorded lectures, rather than visual learners who may just be able to skim their notes.
By now you should know what you need to do and when, and its time to create your study schedule.
Step 3 - Divide up your time and get scheduling
Start by creating a table or spreadsheet, or turn to the weekly or monthly spread in your diary, that divides your week into manageable time blocks.
Plug in your commitments that don't move (like work or classes). Then check if there are times each week you can always study (for example 4-6pm every Saturday). Creating a routine will make your study sessions more productive.
Start scheduling out your list, working through it by priorities.
PROTIP: While it's important to schedule your commitments and study sessions it's also equally as important not to overload yourself. Leave time for non-study activities so you don't burn out. It's also important to build some padding into your schedule for when things take longer than expected or when life decides to throw a spanner in the works. Make sure to leave room for the unexpected.
Step 4 - Stick to your schedule
There's no point in making a schedule if you don't stick with it. Get into the habit of keeping a copy of your schedule on you, checking in regularly, using alarms/timers, and getting into a routine.
For more information on how to get the most out of your studies, check out our student support services.