Within a culture of high achievement and grade-oriented pressure, a “work, work, work” attitude might make some sense. After all, students want to perform as highly as possible to ensure coveted spots at top universities and colleges – or to please their parents and teachers.
But an industrious outlook can quickly become unhealthy if it isn’t managed. Overworking a young, curious mind can lead to burnout and anxiety, eventually having the opposite effect on academic performance.
It’s far better to create a “study-life balance,” an efficient academic schedule that leaves ample wiggle room for fun, decompression and digestion. As the new year kicks off, consider making study-life balance a resolution. To get you started, this article explores four simple ways to strike that balance.
Practice Effective Time Management
Perhaps the best way to create a study-life balance is to put it in writing! A simple schedule can break down overwhelming work units into manageable, bite-sized pieces, and plot them on an achievable timeline. So, instead of spinning in circles trying to absorb everything all at once, you can methodically work through assignments, studies and projects.
Effective time management also extends beyond the top-down scheduling process; it can be valuable in the moment too. As you embark on a day of studying, divide your time between working and relaxing by setting timers.
Consider Online Courses
In contrast to traditional brick-and-mortar classes, online courses are flexible and self-paced. You can take as little or as long as you need to complete a course, and you get to dictate when you learn. If you want to study in the evening, you can study in the evening. If you need to take a three-day weekend, you’re welcome to – no note required.
In this way, online courses make striking that study-life balance a lot easier. Seniors can take online grade 12 courses to prepare for post-secondary education, and students in grades 9 to 11 can take online courses to get ahead. Just make sure to take courses through an accredited online school authorized to grant credits.
Make Space for Mindfulness
As you develop a time management schedule for your online courses, leave room for mindfulness. Studies show that even a modest commitment to regular meditation can help mitigate stress and promote concentration.
If you need help with meditating or practicing mindfulness, read this short article from the Harvard Gazette (which also links to the studies mentioned above). In it, you’ll find expert opinions for getting started on your mindfulness journey.
Swap Perfectionism for Personal Achievement
Lastly, to create a better study-life balance, you need to get in the right mindset. A perfectionist attitude may not be the best lens through which to view your studies. Perfectionism often sets up impractical, unachievable standards, paving the way for disappointment and dejection later down the line.
Instead, re-shift your focus to personal achievement. Set high but achievable standards and work toward a personal best. Reward yourself for effort rather than outcomes. And go easy on yourself when things don’t work out as planned.
With the new year in full swing, follow these straightforward tips for a calmer, gentler – and more fun – academic semester.