We have all experienced the familiar sensation of burnout mid-way through our university year. How do we prevent this? The key is a work-life balance. Burnout is generally associated with a decline in academic performance combined with exhaustion, trouble concentrating, and social isolation. It is important to prevent this especially when you are young as it could lead to health complications such an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the future. By having a proper work-life balance, you will be able to alleviate a large part of your workload and enjoy your time at university while being productive.
What causes burnout?
The most common cause of burnout by far is actually assignment overload. A large majority of students linked an overly demanding workload to be the main cause of burnout. This often occurs as most students tend to leave work assignments to the very last minute and spend most of the year being unproductive. This can cause large amounts of stress especially when there are multiple deadlines. However, it can also occur when students place too much of an emphasis on work and don’t dedicate enough time to wind down or relax. Hence, a work-life balance is important for both types of students as both fun and work are balanced in moderation.
Tips to Improve Work-Life Balance
Learn How to Manage Your Workload
Time management is imperative when it comes to managing your workload. One of the best ways to do so is to create checklists. Checklists are a great way to compartmentalise your tasks as you can sort them based on priority. As always, first things first. Always remember to complete the tasks in descending order in terms of priority. By doing so, you will be able to get the most important things out of the way first, easing up your workload tremendously.
Also, if it is a large task, you should break it down into smaller and more manageable chunks. You can then split the tasks out over a few days which frees up some time in your schedule to do other things. It also prevents you feeling overwhelmed as you won’t feel like you have to complete one extremely large task in a short period of time.
Improve Your Working Environment
The right working environment is key to prevent procrastination and distraction. This, in turn, will help you meet deadlines without unnecessary stress. By completing your tasks quicker, you will also have more time to relax and recharge your batteries. Whether you are living in student dormitories or at home, a quiet working environment is best. It can be tempting to work in more social areas such as the student kitchen or lounge but this could lead to suboptimal concentration. You will be more likely to spend more time talking to your friends than actually working. Instead, the library or even your own bedroom will be better.
The library is a great option as it is very quiet and being surrounded by other people who are working may dissuade you from procrastinating. However, it can be quite intense and boring after a while. For those who are more self-disciplined, your bedroom is a great alternative. It is a very comfortable and relaxing environment to work in and it is suitable for those who prefer to work alone as well. However, getting distracted is much easier and you should keep that in mind when working from your bedroom.
Always Remember to Unwind
Although it is definitely beneficial to stay on top of your work all year round, you need to dedicate an amount of time to relax and chill. It’s called work-life balance after all. There are multiple ways in which you can unwind. One way you can do so is through joining your university’s clubs and societies. These are great ways to meet new people and to pursue an activity you enjoy in your spare time. Check out our article for more information on clubs and societies!
You should also find time during the day to exercise. Exercise has been known to pump up your endorphins and is a great stress reliever. It’s also beneficial for your health as it can help alleviate the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Also, you should find time to keep up with your hobbies. If you enjoy cooking, try out some new recipes! Even the occasional Netflix binge is fine assuming you have previously completed your tasks.
Moreover, you should find time to catch up with your friends. Life moves very quickly and it is easy to grow apart from your friends. Hang out with them and reminisce about the good old days. All in all, a work hard and play hard mentality is great for having a work-life balance and preventing burnout.
Learn How to Say No
Peer pressure is prevalent especially in university. You will have experienced this before, possibly even without realising it. This can occur in seemingly harmless situations such as your friends pressuring you to attend a party despite you clearly being busy. Although social activities are a great way to destress, you should learn when to say ‘no’. If attending this event will be detrimental to your assignments, you should probably reconsider taking the night off.
Overall, a work-life balance is key when it comes to preventing burnout. By managing your workload and working environment, you free up more spare time for fun and relaxing activities. Building up these habits of work-life balance especially now at university helps significantly when you graduate and enter the workforce. Many working adults suffer from the effects of burnout and you will be ahead of the curve if you are aware of this before you even graduate. By learning how to manage your time and social relationships, you will have a burnout-free and more fulfilling life.