Friday, 28 October 2016

Being a total girl boss at your degree #UNICHATS

As I've settled back into my second year at university, I thought now would be an appropriate time to share some of my organisational tips and tricks that helped me through last year and that I'll be using throughout second year too! I'm by no means an expert in managing stress and there were numerous instances last year when I panic cried to my tutors, BUT for me it's all about finding a balance with work VS life and ultimately aiming for girl boss* status when it comes to degree studying. (note: tips can be used for guy bosses as well as gals)


Probably a part of university that I struggled with as much as took pride in, was managing my work load and making the most effective use of my time. I struggled in this area in a different way to most in that I became a bit of a workaholic at university and had zero understanding of a work/life balance. Tut tut. One thing that really helped me and that I tried to stick to more and more as my time studying fashion went on was treating my day like a 9-6 job. I would work for those hours and then have the evening off to Skype my boyfriend, relax and re charge (aka snack on chocolate covered raisins and watch The Walking Dead) before the next day. I would often stick to this pattern on weekends too which is not a method I would recommend; GIVE YOURSELF SOME TIME OFF PEEPS! I found it really rewarding to know I had ticked of the majority of my to-do list every day and could fully relax in the evening in the knowledge that I was on top of things. Something that will make university life SO much easier is not having the mid term panic of "oh my god I have so much to do and so little time". Granted, you might have that anyway if you're a perfectionist like me, BUT reducing your stress levels as much as possible is a good way to go when it comes to being a babe at degree organisation. *Insert fist pump emoji*


To do lists!!! I honestly couldn't have been without them during first year in terms of looking at my workload and planning when I wanted to have certain projects done by and setting myself mini internal deadlines to keep on top of things. Either writing lists or getting yourself a planner/journal as I have this year is a fail safe way of keeping on top of your work, whether it be coursework like me that needs to be chipped away at constantly or simply for planning your reading and revision. I set out all my briefs at the start of term and planned what I was able to do week by week based on what we would be covering in lectures and what I could do based on knowledge I already had. Looking at a calendar and seeing the time you have can be really daunting and make it seem far easier to bury your head in the sand, BUT it's important to try and stay focused and realistic and plan ahead; that way your stress levels will be minimised hugely! I tend to sit down on a Monday morning or after my first lecture of the week and assess what I've already done, what still needs to be completed and what realistically can be slotted into my free time outside of lectures that week. Doing it this way means you have a set timetable for the week, giving you structure whilst also being flexible depending on your other plans or how close you are to deadlines. Getting organised from as early on as possible is my best piece of advice and something I will be carrying into my second year of university! 


It's easy to underestimate how important the environment you're working in has upon your mood and productivity levels and it's a factor I really value when it comes to getting things done! Last year in halls I was super lucky to have a desk in front of a huge window and with lots of space to spread out my briefs and folders whilst keeping things (relatively) tidy. Whether it be the addition of plants, motivational prints and postcards or photos with your best pals, I think the impact decor has can really add up to have substantial impact on your mood. Sitting and working at your desk rather than in bed is something that really helped me too! Feeling as if you're in the ~work zone~ is really important, even when it is super tempting to work from bed in your dressing gown; I won't deny I resorted to this occasionally but on the whole it's good to get up and dressed! Also working from the university library is something I did a lot last year. It meant I could separate my work and life and come home at the end of the day to relax in my room rather than associating it too much with work and deadlines. Coffee shops and cafes are another great one for working in a more relaxed environment and can stop you feeling lonely if you're struggling at uni like I did or are good in general for group work!

I hope these tips can help anyone just starting university/returning students but really they can be applied to any area of work! Let me know the ways you organise yourself or advice you have for keeping on top of your workload below!
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