With all of the endless opportunities, interesting modules, and late nights, it is very easy to become burnt out while at University. Drowning in distraction and procrastination for days on end can really take it’s toll on your body.
I struggled with this while in the final year of my degree. I ended up having to write a supplementary exam for first semester Computer Science, in the middle of second semester. This was the hardest course in my degree, and if I failed the supp, I would have had to add an extra year to my studies. With difficult assignments clogging up my daily schedule in second semester, I had to go home at night and study hard for this exam. I thankfully ended up crushing the exam, but went into a period of burnout after.
I am going to share with you four bits of advice to help you get through this tough stage:
Get Some Sleep
Sleep should be a priority when you are struggling to cope. If you are not getting enough sleep consistently, you might get sick, you lash out, and you pretty much become a jerk. By now you should know how much sleep you need, some people need 8 hours, some only need 4. It depends on you.
Take a night off and get some deep sleep to decompress.
Learn to Say No
We all know how it goes, you never want to say no to a good opportunity. And these opportunities always come at the worst time. I used to look for jobs in the holidays but was largely unsuccessful. No that I am running my own business, I keep getting job opportunities popping out of nowhere. It is the same as when no girls are interested when you are single, and then when you commit to a relationships, other girls seem much more interested.
You need to learn to say no to these opportunities. Believe that something new will come around when the time is right.
If you are close to burnout, you need to say no to most new opportunities. Unless you can make a proper case as to why you should say ‘yes’, just say ‘no’. Most burnout comes from overly committing ourselves.
Schedule your Social Media, and Emails
The more time you spend checking-in on your notifications, the more time you spend checking-out from meaningful work.
If you can block these applications, then you can focus fully on the task at hand. The reason why most people have become so unproductive, is that they look at their phones as soon as they get a notification. We all know that being distracted like this wastes time, so why not schedule a ‘distraction time’.
Give yourself an hour of solid work with zero distractions, and then after that hour reply to all your texts. Doing this will make an impact of crossing tasks off your to-do list.
An interesting app you can look into is called Freedom. It actually blocks all applications on your phone, for a set amount of time. Once you start it up, you will not be able to access any applications on your phone. It will pretty much be useless until the timer runs out…
Learn About Time Management
I have always been relatively good at judging how long things take, but I still did a lot of research to become even better. Let me tell you how I am currently designing my days in order to optimize my time.
I use an app on my iPhone called Wunderlist. Before you go the sleep at night, write down all the tasks that you want to accomplish the next day. Having checkable tasks really helps you to know what you have to do, so you can get it done as soon as possible. The app also plays an extremely satisfying sound when you check something off your list. Strive to hear that sound a lot.
Here’s the secret. No matter what, do not go to sleep until all of your daily tasks are completed. Bear in mind that if you don’t do this for a single day, you will end up becoming lazy.
This simple habit of writing down my tasks the night before has had a massive impact on my time management. I know that 95% of you will not do this, but give it a go. You will see a difference.
Ask for Help
Realize that help is out there, you just need to ask. You can delegate some tasks to your friends, hire a virtual assistant, even ask your mom. If you are struggling with any task, there will always be somebody out there to ask.
Try to ask for help before you reach the stage of burnout. You will then be able to accomplish more, with more sanity in life.
You need to take back control of your days. Your productivity and passion will ultimately disappear if you cannot control each day of your life.
Thanks for reading my tips to dealing with, and preventing burnout.
– Your Pal Nic