I don’t study on weekends.
It’s the simple reason as to why when it comes to my days of productivity there is (and pretty much always will be) two days that I skip before I continue on with my days of productivity again.
There’s actually a number of reasons why this approach benefits me, and I think it could potentially benefit all of you as well!
1. Avoiding burn out
Most of my life I had an issue where I was studying a minimum of 6 hours on Saturdays and Sundays, and this was while I was also working 10 hour days as a waitress. All it ended up doing for me was that by Monday morning I was struggling not to fall asleep in my 9 am class and ended up playing Tetris on my iPad instead of paying attention to the class.
That last step is definitely not recommended.
By mid-semester, I was exhausted, grouchy, highly unmotivated to do anything, falling behind in all my classes, ridiculously stressed and tiny things would set me into a fit of rage or leave me crying my eyes out. Basically, not a good look. Also, definitely causes your mental health to deteriorate.
Taking at least one day a week off study to relax can definitely help you with this.
2. It creates a goal for yourself to finish the tasks, and you get a reward too!
Basically, it acts as a bit of a mini reward!
If you finish all of the things you need to do by Friday, you get to have the whole weekend off to spend time with friends and family, or just do things that you enjoy! If you aren’t finished, you can also take Saturday to catch up on work but at least you still get the time off on Sunday.
Up until now, I have barely needed to use the catch-up Saturday. The only times where this is something that I need to do is really when I have a couple of assignments due at once, but even this can usually sort of be planned out so that you can do them in advance. Trust me, it’s a whole lot less stressful if you submit it a few days early and can check and edit your originality, then praying that it’s alright when you submit it one minute before the deadline.
Now that we’ve covered the why let’s go onto the how:
1. Get organised
This is what I’m going to emphasise the most. I generally just use to-do lists in my bullet journal, under the headings of different days.
This is organised by looking at the required readings for the week, any assignments due in the coming weeks and revision for different topics that have already been covered (which means you’re more prepared when it comes to exam time).
Now split all of it up. You have a class with readings on Friday? Then you’re going to want it done by Friday? That class has 70 pages of readings split into 6 sections? Then try to do two of those sections every day until you’re done with those readings.
2. Don’t worry about being too pedantic
This one seems contradictory.
Basically, I don’t worry too much if I haven’t accomplished all of the tasks in the day, as long as I have started all of them. Some days I have more motivation and also brain capacity to get through things quickly and understand the content I’m looking at.
Using this system, I’m usually still ahead by the end of the week! Like last week, I’d accomplished everything on that week’s to-do list, and also some of the stuff that was carried over to the next week! Just keep doing a little bit every day and you will get there.
But do remember that you do have to put a certain amount of time and energy in otherwise you will fall behind. Currently, Monday and Tuesdays I work 9-5, get home around 6 and do a solid 4 hours of study a night. Same goes for the days I have classes, including study during breaks where I have the time.
3. Have a plan for how to relax
This is another one that probably seems odd but was touched on earlier.
It can be super hard to switch from a really intensely studying mode to a mode in which you are allowing yourself to relax and not to worry about things. I have the awesome benefit of an amazing boyfriend who balances me out, and just being with him helps me destress. He also makes me feel like a weekend cuddled up on a sofa, not moving except to get up to eat and binge watching a weird tv show is 100% alright and completely worth it.
If you don’t have any friends who can help you to snap out of the studying mindset when you’re doing nothing, then you need to plan a way to achieve that!
Plan to spend some time doing something with your family. Plan to go out to the movies with friends if they’re free. Go do something that you and someone you know enjoy. Just make sure that you write that plan down in your bullet journal, and you go out and make the most of it.