Spring Break and End of Semester Two: How to find balance between productivity and rest

As we are currently a couple of weeks into the Spring Break and with the end of Semester Two teaching just over a month away, it is a good time to reflect. We all need to balance the need to continue our studies, work on assignments and revise for exams with the need to ensure that we are looking after ourselves. This time of the academic year can become overwhelming with upcoming deadlines and exams; therefore, we have compiled a list of tips to help you achieve your academic goals whilst also taking time for yourself.

Find the best place for you to work

Whilst some students decide to stay in Leeds over the break and study in their accommodation or frequent their usual on-campus study spaces, others choose to go home for this period, and finding a quiet place to work can become difficult. Everyone is different — some people find concentrating in the hustle and bustle of a family home easy, however, others may struggle. If you cannot find a quiet place to work at home, try a quiet coffee shop or local library. Some areas also have communal study spaces where students and professionals can visit to get stuck into their work. Take a look at what your local area has to offer and find the best place for you to be productive.

Create a priority matrix

Creating a priority matrix is a great way to manage your time. This four-quadrant system helps you to sort your to-do list so that you prioritise the things that you need to do first. This visual tool can help with clarifying your priorities and sharpen your focus on tasks in order of urgency and importance. Conceptboard has a free template that can be filled in and edited on their platform and have a handy explanation of each quadrant.

Use free apps such as Hold or Forest to help with productivity

· Hold — Hold allows you to earn points for not checking your phone for 20-minute periods at a time. These points can be exchanged for things such as money off items and services and also freebies! Hold can really help you to focus especially when you are easily distracted by notifications or scrolling through social media. For more information search ‘Hold’ in your phone’s App Store.

· Forest — Forest follows a similar idea but you will earn points for every 30 minutes of not checking your phone. The points can then be spent, and Forest will use these to plant real trees! When you want to focus, plant a seed in the app and see a virtual tree grow. Once it has fully grown you earn points, and each tree grown represents your dedication to focusing.

Find time to get out in nature

Taking some time to get some fresh air, whether it be on a walk or spending time with others outside, is really important! At this time of year there are plenty of things to see and do outdoors, from seeing pretty flowers to newborn animals, and going on walks or picnics in the park. Make the most of the outdoors and take breaks or trips out whenever you can, helping to get some exercise in too!

Take home message

Use these tips to your advantage but most importantly, take a well-deserved break! Don’t spend every single day studying as taking days off/half a day off can aid productivity in the long run. Spend some time with friends and family, some of whom you may not have seen for a few months so a catch-up is probably needed! You could even take yourself out on a solo day trip, there are plenty of things to do and explore! Whatever you do make sure you have plenty of time for yourself! It is perfectly fine to step away from your laptop for a while and let yourself do things that you enjoy.

Walking in the countryside

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