Improving the balance between school, work and social life

Lilian, an International Student Ambassador, in her blog provides us with great tips on how to maintain a healthy balance between work, school and making time for ourselves and friends!

Hello again, my name is Lilian and I am a masters student studying information and network security at the University of Limerick. I am currently in my second semester and I am pretty much amazed on how I have been able to balance schooling, social life and a part time job. Here are my top tips to help you manage your time properly.

  1. Creating a schedule that works

It is the end of another day and you feel overwhelmed and unaccomplished, and wondering will you have enough time to meet all the deadlines that are fast approaching. Feels stressful?? Well take a breather and don’t panic!

Start by identifying your available time and prioritize your tasks. Also, make sure to include time for extra curricula activities. To avoid being overwhelmed and cramming last minute, I advise you provide personal deadlines which should be at a much earlier date to the defined deadline. If it helps, keep a diary that can help you keep track of your activities! Workflow, RescueTime or even a normal ToDo app on your phone can be used, you may even just decide to use the diary app on your phone or keep a physical one you can carry everywhere with you. If you don’t stick to the plans you made and your laid-out schedule, there is a huge chance that you may miss deadlines. So, stay disciplined, be smart.

  1. Do Not Procrastinate

As a student, procrastination is likely to get a hold of us and become our best friend, we know what we should be doing but we keep posting or binge watching TV shows. Although I still procrastinate here and there, getting my space organized, setting achievable goals and trying as much as possible to avoid distractions has been my savers. One great tip to avoid putting off tasks is to remind yourself of the repercussions if you do. It is easier to get more things done if you stay disciplined. Also, remember your study is for a limited time, and this is only for a short while so you might as well put in your best now and rest later. After all, a popular saying says; procrastination is the thief of time.

  1. Less of Social Media 

Too much of social media can cost us more than just time. I have set up screen time on my phone that locks my applications whenever I exhaust the allocated time for that day. I am so used to this that whenever I see my screen time going low, I just drop my phone and focus on my task for the day. Freedom and Moment are some apps that can help manage how long you spend on your phone. It is important to moderate the time we spend on social media, it can really make our days very unproductive.

  1. Take time for a quality rest!!

This is very important. It is ok to take time off and get relaxed. I always feel very efficient when I take out a little time from my day to do nothing, I feel like our brains are like computers and we need time to rest and rejuvenate. You may want to use this time to take a walk if the weather is great or watch Netflix. Maybe even chill and grab a cup of coffee, bond with that housemate you haven’t really spoken more than two words to or call your friends.

  1. Interacting with others

Vital information could be missed out, I would recommend to occasionally stay updated and catch up. Interacting with people have helped in creating my social sphere, boast my academics by reaching out to colleagues to discuss course work. Don’t be afraid to reach out, that’s what they are here for. It is also very important in improving your network.

  1. Don’t be afraid to say no sometimes:

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a real thing. Say no to FOMO. It’s not every gist that demands your attention. You don’t have to attend every party or be at every hangout. It is okay to tell your friends you can’t hang with them sometimes. Trust me, your true friends will understand if you are busy with college work. Take it easy on yourself. You’re doing amazing. It’s not easy to juggle working and schooling, so always know that you are doing your best!

The main point, is to find that balance. It sounds hard and can be daunting, but once you write it all down and schedule your weekly events, whether it’s penciling in when your society starts and finding time to work on your assignments, you will feel relived and relaxed.

~Lilian

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