Falling into a downward spiral of embarrassing yet extremely common bad habits during the busiest times of the semester can happen to the best of us.
However, fear not. Here are some tips and advice to defeat these habits and become the best student you can be.
1) Excessive caffeine consumption
One cup of coffee or even one can of red bull can give you a temporary boost of energy and make you alert for a brief period of time. however, studies show that consuming too much coffee or caffeinated drinks can result in many negative side effects such as insomnia, restlessness, headaches and heart palpitations. Consuming too much caffeine can also lead to dehydration which in turn decreases your energy levels and begins the onset of fatigue.
It may be extremely difficult for you to decrease your intake of caffeinated beverages, but the changes you make don’t have to be drastic. Even reducing your coffee or soft drink intake by drinking one less cup a day is a good start.
Opting for alternative non-caffeinated options such as mineral water for those who love the carbonation of fizzy drinks or drinking teas, smoothies, or juices will provide you with the energy you need.
Find natural ways to increase your energy levels.
– Consume foods, particularly fruits and vegetables that contain water, nutrients and Vitamin B12.
2) Getting too much or too little sleep
Have you ever stayed awake cramming in a study session, or finishing off an assignment and suddenly realise it’s the next morning because the sun is peeking through your curtains?
Sure… you may have finished your assignment, but it’s probably not your best work. How well are you really going to remember eleven weeks worth of notes you spent hours pulling together for your exam?
Without sleep, your body and brain are unable to function properly which may impact your overall health if you don’t begin to maintain a regular sleeping pattern of seven to eight hours every night.
Here are some tips to avoid having to stay awake until the early hours of the morning.
– Organise your time more efficiently. Put all of your work times and dates, social events and assignment deadlines into a calendar or a planner that is easily accessible or visible at all times so you can stay on track and ahead of what you need to do leading up to each commitment.
– Plan your week. Break up the week day by day and write a to-do- list each day to ensure that you are able to complete everything you need to on time.
– Avoid taking naps, especially past 4:00pm as they may make it more difficult for you to fall asleep later on and lead to oversleeping the next day which will throw your sleeping pattern off.
Having unrelated tabs open on your computer can be a slippery slope to self-sabotage. An open tab at the top of your screen just increases the probability that you will spend forty-five minutes flicking through your old status’ on Facebook or watching cat videos on YouTube for two hours, wondering how you got there and where the time went.
Eliminate all distractions.
– Avoid having the TV or Netflix on in the background because you will get distracted and start concentrating on the TV instead of the task at hand.
– NEVER start a new Netflix series during the last few weeks of the semester. Each time you say to yourself… “I’ll just watch one more episode then start my assignment”, you know deep down that you will probably end up watching three more episodes before starting.
– Remove your mobile phone from the room you are in and turn it on silent. Avoid getting distracted by any calls, texts or social media alerts. If your phone is off, the temptation to check it all the time is decreased and you will be surprised at how much more work you will get done in a shorter period of time without it distracting you.
Deal with your problems as they come.
– Don’t wait until you are feeling too stressed and overwhelmed to deal with them head-on.
– If a task seems to difficult, break it down into smaller sections and work through it slowly by setting yourself deadlines.
– Here are 8 ways to help you to decrease your habit of procrastination.
There are a range of negative side effects caused by skipping meals which is a common habit for many busy students.
A result of skipping meals leads to an increase in fast food consumption as it is a quick and easy option when your starving but don’t have the time or energy to cook something healthy.
An increase intake of processed, oily and fatty foods will result in a lack of nutrients entering your body and in turn can effect your bodies ability to perform daily tasks. In the short term, Poor nutrition has the ability to contribute to stress, tiredness and you capacity to work.
Here are a few ways to avoid these problems:
– Meal preparation – prepare you weeks meals and snacks in advance so you feel organised and don’t have the added stress of deciding what to eat. Use containers that are ready to quickly be thrown into your bag when your running out the door. Here are 12 easy, healthy and affordable meal prep ideas.
– Set alarms on your phone to notify you when to eat. This may seem far-fetched, but when you get stuck into studying and completing assignments, time slips away from you and eating becomes less of a priority.
5) Studying with friends
Although studying with your friends may seem like a good way to make a tedious task a little more enjoyable, mixing your studies with your social life isn’t the best idea and will most likely end up in a three hour gossip session. In fact, you will probably end up doing anything but work.
If you are someone who gets distracted easily by other people, it’s best to stay home or find a quiet place alone so you can completely concentrate on your uni work.
6) Living in chaos
Over the semester, there is no doubt that your room will end up looking as though there has been an explosion of clothing, text books, papers, water bottles, coffee mugs and empty chip packets in your room. As the semester gets busier, the more cluttered your room will probably get and the greater the chances are of you not having the time to clean it.
Studies have shown that being surrounded by clutter and mess decreases your ability to concentrate and increases your stress levels.
Clutter isn’t just physical, but can also be considered in a digital form. This includes an unorganised computer desktop and even notifications on your social medias that fight for your attention and concentration.
When your brain has too much on its plate, you cannot complete tasks as efficiently as you should, such as filtering information, switching between tasks and keeping a strong working memory.
Here are some ways to avoid clutter from occurring:
– Dedicate a specific time each day, even if it’s just ten minutes to do a quick tidy up and of any clothes that need washing, or rubbish that needs to be taken out of your room.
– Buy storage bins, baskets and containers to ensure that everything you own has a place to go. This will make your feel much more comfortable and in control of the chaos around you.
– Have specific folders on your desktop so you can find things easier and quicker. Having a neat looking desktop will reduce your anxiety levels when it comes to working on assignments or studying.