Moving to University for the first time can feel as though responsibility has been catapulted at you whilst you were looking the other way. Juggling university work and reading, trying to keep your room relatively tidy, remembering to do the shopping and trying to find room to socialise all at the same time can feel like way too much. If you’re anything like me, you may take a look at all of your responsibilities and decide, “This is the perfect time for a nap”.
Being an adult is difficult. Organising my time was much easier when my mother was screaming at me to do my chores, but when there is no one nagging you to do anything it is very easy to decide to do nothing at all. Having been at university for over 2 years now, I managed to figure out a few strategies that have helped me juggle my responsibilities.
WRITE A TO-DO LIST: One of the best ways to get things done is to write a to-do this before you begin the day. Although I have never actually completed a to-do list, at least I have managed to complete some of the activities written on there and that’s better than nothing, right? I also, tend to either lose my to-do list or forget about it… However, one of the most important things about a to-do list is that it enables you to break down tasks into smaller steps which can help you feel less overwhelmed. So, try not to write things such as ‘Clean the entire house’ on your to-do list because most-likely, you will look at it and decide to do nothing all day instead. Remember it is better to do some of an activity than do nothing at all so try not to set your expectations of yourself too high by writing an impossibly long to-do list because again, chances are you will become too overwhelmed and then decide to ignore all your responsibilities.
If you struggle to do small, boring tasks like me then it may also be helpful to break down a task into chunks. E.g. If you can’t be bothered to take the bins out then step 1 can be: ‘walk to the kitchen’ Step 2: ‘Pull the binbags out of the bins’, ‘Step 3: ‘Put bin bags in the empty bins’ and so on… It may seem a little silly but every time you check off a step you feel a sense of achievement as a feel-good chemical called dopamine starts to release in the brain which helps motivate you to continue doing the task.
MAKE BORING TASKS INTERESTING: For example, when you need to clean your room pop in some headphones or play music from a speaker to help keep you motivated. I find hoovering pretty boring, but I don’t mind it as much when I am able to listen to music. Also, when you are revising for your exams try writing with colour. I personally, find this makes revision a lot more interesting than writing in black. Also, colour allows you to remember things better.
REWARD YOURSELF: I think I would find it impossible to complete a task if there wasn’t a reward involved after I’d finished. I often use food as a reward system, but this isn’t always healthy mainly because the food I eat are usually chocolate biscuits. Perhaps do a task you enjoy as a reward for your hard-work. For example, I always play video games after I have completed some work, or I write a blog. Also, don’t forget to take regular breaks, at least once an hour, as spending hours on something without a break leaves you even less motivated next time you come around to doing it.
BUY A WHITEBOARD: Or you can just use your tablet or phone. I most-recently got myself a whiteboard and have found it very useful, especially for remembering things. My whiteboard is usually where I write my to-do lists as having it written in big writing on the wall helps me to stop forgetting about them. I also think it is important to write my deadline dates for my assignments on there, just in case I forget I have an upcoming deadline and then end up starting my assignment last minute.