Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Balancing university work and life during lockdown

The one thing that the entire world can agree on is that this has been a rough year and hasn’t been a great start to the ‘roaring twenties’ we had all hoped. This has only been exacerbated by two government-enforced lockdowns which have meant all of us have been stuck in our rooms for an unhealthy amount of time. Being firmly into the first term, many of us have assignment deadlines coming up and I personally have a dissertation to manage at the same time. This is all in addition to juggling seminars and online lectures.

With the combination of lockdown and such a workload, it’s quite easy to completely destroy any sense of a work-life balance. Going between seminars, lectures, and readings, it might seem there is little time for breaks and doing other things outside of your studies. However, with a little planning and by creating some rules, you can bring a sense of work-life balance in your life.

Giving it a fixed weekly schedule will stop ‘dissertation drift’

It’s also important to note we have the advantage that this lockdown is different from the first. It’s far less strict than the first, most notably since universities are still open, which means you can still go to campus once you get inevitably sick of staring at your bedroom wall. The second thing I want to note is that you don’t have to be great at scheduling your life to get to grips with things. I should know because I am normally terrible at it.

Start simple by working around your Warwick timetable. If you’re a finalist with a dissertation and have a weekday free, make that the day you work on your dissertation. Giving it a fixed weekly schedule will stop ‘dissertation drift’, where you stop working on it as you distracted by other work.

It’s essential you give yourself a break

In terms of seminar readings, give yourself at least two days before the seminar itself to read through them. This will ensure you don’t rush through the readings before your seminar. That also goes for assignments, don’t leave it until the last minute and churn out some work. All of this is basic stuff you should be doing anyway, but it’s especially important during lockdown when you might feel you have limitless time to get through work since you’re stuck indoors.

Now that you have your work all planned out, it’s time to relax. It’s essential you give yourself a break. Some people plan out their leisure time because it helps them stick to it, but I prefer to keep it open because planning every waking hour feels terrifying.

Lockdown is especially hard for students

I also cannot stress hard enough how important it is to go outdoors. Make use of your exercise time to go outside and get some fresh air, it does wonders for not just your physical health, but mental health too. It’s also the one time you are legally allowed to leave what is now your workspace, so even if you’re not into exercise, go for a walk.

Lockdown is especially hard for students, being away from home with little living space can take a toll on your wellbeing. By planning out your day and setting some time aside for leisure activities, you can make it a lot more bearable for the next few weeks.


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