How to Balance Extracurriculars With Academics.
Have you ever wondered how some people manage to be actively involved in one extracurricular activity or the other and still have time for their academics? How they do well in both and other areas of life? Have you wanted to do same but you’re not quite sure how to go about it without any area suffering neglect? If your answer to any of the questions is yes, read on, baby… I have something for you. ?
So for this I contacted some friends and colleagues that are doing well in this area and asked them how they manage. Guys, they were generous enough to drop some sound wisdom. ?? You ready? Let’s dive in.?
1. Outline your goals:
Ahh, the famous goal setting again. Really, you need to know what you want and where you’re going so you don’t end up doing things off point. You know, the whole extracurricular participation can be likened to solving a picture puzzle; if you have the big picture in mind you’d be able to know what moves to make and what moves to avoid.
You see, it’s not just about being involved in anything and everything, it’s about channelling your time, energy and resources towards things that would help realize any of your short or long term goals. Be intentional, be strategic about it.
2. Learn to say no:
I know this might sound weird, but really, not everything is for you, you can’t do everything. Remember we said to have the big picture in mind? Well if an “opportunity” won’t in anyway help realize any of your goals it’s not for you…let it go. I remember being hyped about volunteering at the beginning of 300level. I took up every volunteering opportunity that came my way, whether I needed them or not. One time I even joined a market clean up exercise. ? While I still got some things from it (for instance I got to meet some great people), it wasn’t exactly the best use of my time. It wasn’t an experience I needed to actualize any of my goals, so in that regard it wasn’t a win. I could have read my school books with that time, done some other productive thing or rested.
Another reason saying no is important is so that you don’t end up getting overwhelmed. Having too much on your plate or biting more than you can chew is disastrous. It could negatively affect your mental health, unnecessarily stress you out and cause you to neglect stuff you shouldn’t neglect. This is why you need to set your priorities.
3. Define your priorities:
What’s most important to you? What should come first? What’s the reason you’re where you are? After spelling these out, give them the treatment and attention they deserve. Give them VIP treatment. For instance, no matter how carried away you might get, the number one reason you’re in school is for your academics, and it’d be a shame if this aspect of your life ends up suffering. Extracurricular, social, and spiritual wise too it’s important to clearly spell out your priorities. Doing this would make your decision making on what to be involved in and what not to be involved in easier. Deciding to say no to stuffs would be as easy as checking if they meet your priority requirement or not.
4: Allocate time for your tasks:
This is something that works for a lot of people. I’ve found that scheduling my activities makes things way easier and less cluttered for me. No matter how much is on my plate, listing everything out and fitting it into my calendar has a way of keeping me organised and sane.
So how can you effectively do your time allocation? You could make a To-do list daily, weekly or monthly and clearly state the time/date for each activity on the list. This can work with a good old journal or an e-journal; there are a lot of great apps out there perfect for the job. Setting reminders is another great way to ensure your time allocation works. It helps you avoid stories that touch about forgetting.
I’d like to add that in doing this it’s important to know yourself, what works best for you, and work based on that. For instance, if you read and assimilate academic stuff better at night, it would be a good idea to set aside study time at night, while you utilize your day for other activities that you can gainfully participate in then.
5. Discipline yourself:
At the end of the day this is what will keep you committed and in the game. Saying no requires discipline, prioritizing your priorities requires discipline, respecting your allocated time requires discipline, basically everything you need to effectively balance your academics with your extracurriculars requires discipline.
Should we talk about procrastination? ? We’ve all been guilty at some point, but really, if there’s no concrete reason (like an emergency) to take a raincheck on any activity on your to-do list why not do it when you’re supposed to? It’s a nice way of ensuring you don’t end up jumbling your schedule.
Also, unless studying under pressure works for you (which is not even advisable), allocate time for studying daily (even if it’s just an hour) from the beginning of the semester and adhere to it. Make your body system get used to it, and when you have a test or exam coming up there won’t be much pressure on you.
?? Gather here if you belong to the I-can’t-kill-myself geng. Resting is soooo important, guys. All work and no play…?? That’s right, you got it, makes Jack a dull boy. ?
Really, don’t get so busy that you don’t have resting time. Give yourself space and time to chill, take a break and just relax. Recharge yourself. Reward yourself for accomplishments, no matter how little. Sometimes to congratulate myself for completing a task I give myself a treat, and it keeps me pumped up for the next one. What better way to stay motivated??
Okay, let’s wrap this up here. At the end of the day, proper time management is the difference between attaining balance and not. Good luck out there, go forth and make waves. ??
And yeah, I’d loveeee to hear from you in the comment section. Let’s discuss. What works for you? What doesn’t? Feel free to ask questions too, I’m sure there are readers out there with practical wisdom to impact. ??
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