With the amount of study required, the hours of attendance, and the effort students need to put into learning news skills, keeping up with technology, no wonder so many students experience overwhelm. I haven't even mentioned family commitments, and while we're at it, might as well throw in social life, social media time, and for those who also work, let's not leave that out.
Here are 4 tips to ensure you don't fall into the 'Over-whelm' spiral.
1. BLOCK OUT
Have a weekly calendar and block out the time slots you are required to attend classes, work, travel time etc.. These are what we call 'non-negotiable' times. Make sure you include adequate sleep time, and set aside times for meals. The chances are, if you don't set aside time to eat, you might be tempted to skip meals - BIG mistake!!! Sometimes it seems more efficient to work through meal times, but the truth is, our brain requires food and nourishment to function at its best.
Once you have allocated time slots to your activities, the next thing you need to work on is ‘STICKING TO IT’. Use a timer or alarm for reminders. This will train your brain to work more effectively. Don’t worry if you don’t finish the task the first few times, you still need to STOP regardless. By about the 3rd or 4th time you attempt this, you’ll be amazed with how much more efficient you will become.
2. CUT OUT
Write down a list of all the things you would do on an average day. Yes, including all the little things, like texting, browsing social media, face-timing, taking a selfie. Include the times you may spend deciding what to wear, or arguing with your partner who's going to wash the dishes etc. Absolutely everything should go on that list. Now on the right to that list, write down the amount of time you spend on each activity. If you have followed my advice here, you would have shocked yourself. Then proceed to the next step and highlight the activities that are a priority. You may use colour coding for the different levels of importance. For the low priority activities, CUT them out of your schedule, OR restrict them to perhaps once a week. You can even reward yourself some FREE time if you complete all the high priorities on your list.
3. OPT OUT
In today's society it's hard not to be distracted with social media and the countless number of subscriptions, all in the name of 'joining the Freeby' list, or fear of 'missing out'. Every email that you receive, every promotion, every video that lands in your news alert, takes your time. Even if you don't open that file, the fact is, it was there, It occupies a part of your brain. Even if it is a nano-second of your attention, it all adds up and takes away your focus on the important task at hand. A good strategy is to go through your inbox, and at the bottom of the promotional emails there is an option to 'un-subsribe'.
Ok, now that I've covered all the obvious distractions that contribute to over-whelm, there are also the not so obvious distractions. To name a few:
- Friends, TV, Unhealthy habits such as smoking or snacking through the day, and more. But if I ask you to delete these habits, it most likely won't happen because of subconscious resistance. So the 4th Tip is this:
4. ZOOM IN
What I mean by this is zoom in or focus in on the few IMPORTANT things. List the 3 main things that need to be done, and create a tunnel vision while you are completing each particular task. Remember you need to stick to the time allocated to complete the task. In other words, you're blocking out everything else and being totally present. You’ll find that by blocking out all the noise, and not having to worry about what’s next, you’ll be a lot more productive.
If you are still struggling, consider contacting an academic support team.