Photo Credit: Aaron Burden, Unsplash
A look into a student’s daily routine
Katelyn Minacs, The Mike Contributor
Right now, daily routines have never differed so much from student to student. We are in the middle of a global pandemic, which has led U of T to adopt mostly online teaching mixed in with some in-person classes. As a result, we have had to create daily routines to adapt to this new format. I am very privileged to be living in the same time zone as U of T, which has afforded me more normalcy and flexibility. During this pandemic, I have found organization and structure to be more important than ever in operating in accordance with online schooling. I make a to-do list and schedule the night before each day. This provides me a general framework for my day and helps me remember my priorities and complete my most important tasks. I love waking up and having a plan of attack for the day.
I like to wake up relatively early on weekdays. For me, this means anywhere from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. I do this for a few reasons. First, I think it’s really important to follow your circadian rhythm in order to keep your overall wellbeing in check. If you’ve never heard of this, it can be explained best as an inner clock that coordinates with the sun. For this reason, I feel confident that my productivity is boosted when I’m taking care of myself and doing what my body naturally needs me to do, and this includes waking up at a decent hour. Another reason I wake up at this time is because it allows me to take some time for myself before buckling down on schoolwork. For me, this looks like going on a walk with my little brother every morning and making a nice breakfast with him. Both of these things are super important because it’s really beneficial to your circadian rhythm to get outside in the morning—apparently sunlight helps reset your body after sleeping—and we all know how important breakfast is in helping your brain function.
I usually do around 2 hours of work before my classes start. The particular work varies day to day, week to week as new tasks and priorities arise. However, I find that I like to do work related to memorization more in the morning. So, I’ll usually do my German homework before my first class starts at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. There have actually been studies that found our declarative memory (basic facts, names, dates, etc.) functions better in the morning. Additionally, I really enjoy memorization tasks and find that doing such tasks eases me into studying and helps capture a productive mindset, even when I don’t feel super motivated. This year, my busiest day is features 2 classes spread out over 4 hours. Since this is all online, I find I have much more freedom to be productive outside of class because I’m not having to run around campus and find a study spot between lectures. For this reason, it’s much easier for me to, when a Zoom class ends, open up my textbooks and begin reading or start homework.
I tend to begin my afternoons with a lunch break around 1 p.m. I give myself an hour to an hour and a half to relax and recharge. For me, this looks like taking a small walk around my neighbourhood while listening to music and having a nice lunch with a cup of tea. Sometimes I also like to play guitar on my lunch break so I can squeeze a practice session in when I still have energy in the day. I think it’s essential to have things outside of school that you’re passionate about. Hobbies provide an escape and a space to destress between school work. Balance is key! After my lunch break, I either have one more classes or a completely free afternoon. For the former, I have to work a little longer into the evening, but for the latter, I’ll typically work on assignments and readings until 5 p.m.
By the time the evening rolls around, I like to give myself free time. I try to squeeze in a quick workout and let myself relax. If I have pressing tasks, I’ll do more work in the evenings. However, I usually get my tasks done during the day and have more time for myself at night. Finally, I make my to-do list and schedule for the next day and then it’s off to bed! Although the situation with online classes due to COVID-19 is not ideal, I’m finding ways to adjust and make it work as best as I can. I hope that what you take away from this read is just how important well-being is to increasing your productivity. Take care of yourself first and foremost!
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