3 Tips for Balancing Study and Work

Are you working full time, studying part time, trying to keep fit, eat well and fit in some kind of social life? Me too.

Study assignments and exams fall to the bottom of the to do list and before you know it, it’s 4am and you are rushing to get an essay in or cramming for tomorrows exam.

I am making a conscious effort, as some kind of new years resolution perhaps, to stop putting myself under that kind of pressure by adopting some new habits that seem to be working out. There might be a thing or two you can take from these 3 tips for balancing study and work that help you too.

1. Schedule study time (and stick to it)

Too often I would block out a couple of hours at the weekend to study only to find myself dreading it all weekend and procrastinating about getting it done. I changed my approach to a single hour 2-3 evenings on weekdays that I was less likely to have plans such as a Monday and Tuesday after dinner, and more often than not, once I was into it, I would happily spend another 30 minutes “just to finish the chapter”. It’s like getting to the gym in the morning, getting started is the hardest part, once you’re there, you’re away.

2. Shut down social media

I am a queen procrastinator – 10 minutes in and I used to be on Facebook or Instagram mindlessly scrolling wasting time that could have been spent getting what I needed to do done. I now position my phone out of reach so I am unable to access distracting notifications and I make a conscious effort not to use my PC until I really have to for online tests or access to study resources. I now get so much more done in less time and I have my weekends back.

3. Find a study method that works for you (and is kind of fun)

Through trial and error, I learned that creating “chapter posters” using A3 paper and brightly coloured markers is the best study method that works for me. I make notes about key points and then these posters grace my walls for the duration of the paper. It gives me easy access to notes to refer to for tests and exam revision. Just by way of being highly visible, I tend to review the notes more often, such as when I am getting ready for work, and this helps me with retention of key concepts.

There you have it, 3 tips for balancing study and work to prevent last minute cramming and late night assignment writing while juggling other responsibilities.

Share your tips for balancing study and work below.

3 Steps to Completing Your First Triathlon

You can swim well enough to not sink, you haven’t ridden a bike for years but you’re sure you would pick it up again fast enough and you suffer through a run but you feel pretty good afterwards for getting off the couch.

It’s not a matter of not being capable of doing a triathlon — just the whole idea of putting all three disciplines together in one event seems, well, a bit overwhelming. Where do you begin?

Here’s your 3 step guide to getting over the hurdle of completing your first triathlon.

1. Sign up to a race

If you have set a goal to complete a triathlon, and you’re serious about it, you need a deadline. What better motivation to train than to have the date of a race you have registered and paid for looming in the distance.

For your first triathlon, assuming you can swim one length of a pool, ride a bike continuously for about 20 minutes and jog/walk for 15 minutes, give yourself 12-16 weeks to train for a sprint distance triathlon. A sprint triathlon is a 750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike ride and a 5 kilometre run and is an excellent race to begin with.

Check out the Totally Tri and the Tri NZ race calendars to find a race near you. It is great to start with something local as you won’t have the additional bother of finding accommodation, navigating an unfamiliar area and the best part is you can train where you will race. Many local event organisers run specific beginner triathlons too so keep an eye out for those, you may find some options shorter than a sprint distance triathlon that you could start with.

2. Find a beginner programme to follow

Unless you suffer from health issues that would make any type of exercise or change in training unsafe, there is no need to get fancy with a personalised training programme for your first triathlon.

There are many easy-to-follow training programme online available completely free.

Check out Tri Radar for free plans or Beginner Triathlete for affordable paid plans. Many of these plans also provide important advice about fuelling your body appropriately for the new training you will be doing and also for race day to ensure you don’t burn out before the finish line.

3. Use the gear you have or borrow it

There is no need to have flash gear to complete your first triathlon. The togs or wetsuit and goggles you have, the bike and helmet you can loan from a friend or neighbour as long as it’s comfortable to ride and the running shoes you already own are enough to get you through training and your first race.

Head to your local pool to get your swimming time in and spin classes or the treadmill at the gym are great ways to get time in the bike saddle or to get the running distances in – particularly if the weather is bad!

If you do have some money to spare, invest in a properly fitted pair of running shoes, this is important to prevent injury, particularly as the run can be the most fatigue inducing part of the race.

Once you’re through your first race, you will begin to learn about all of the gadgets and equipment available for triathletes – it does become addictive so don’t say you weren’t warned!

So what are you waiting for? Sign on up for a race 12-16 weeks from now, find an online training programme to follow and use or borrow the gear you have to get training and you are well on your way to becoming a triathlete!

Let us know how you get on and tag me in your training and finish line photos @samanthahowarth!