Balancing School Work, CCA and Spending Time with Friends/Family

  1. Recently, I always woke up at around 8:00 am when class starts at 9:15 am. I usually woke up at 7:00 am to do the essentials in the morning. Despite setting alarms at each interval of 10 minutes, I keep snoozing and cause me to woke up later. I feel that it might be due to me sleeping late to finish up my assignments. Is it normal? How can I improve my current situation and feel not lethargic during the day?

  2. Last week, my schedule was filled with studying to prepare for my continuous assessment and CCA events that I am involved in. During the weekends, I was so tired that I did not do anything useful and just relax on my bed or watch Netflix. Is it normal?

  3. Is there any ways that I can help my friends in terms of their mental and physical wealth to combat any signs or symptoms such as depression or anxiety disorders that deteriorate their day-to-day life?

  4. My friends and I are facing some sort of tiredness and lethargic due to the long hours of studying and sometimes, we have to sacrifice the activities that would keep us motivated in order to finish the given assignment and revision too!

Hi Wira09Kurniawan, thanks for sharing more about what has happened and the struggles you have been facing. I have consolidated your questions to be answered (I hope you don’t mind!).

I understand it isn’t easy to cope and juggle studies, project deadlines, and CCA simultaneously. In addition, there is pressure to meet our parents, teachers, and our own expectations to perform well in school. These pressures, stresses, and emotions can weigh us down and cause us to feel exhausted and lose motivation in school or other areas of life. The loss of motivation and drive may also be why we hit the snooze button more often than we want to. Though all these emotions are normal and valid, we can take steps to cope better and move forward with greater optimism and clarity.

Here are some suggestions on what we can do:

  • Develop New Routine (1) -

    1. We can learn to use time management strategies to help us manage our time and take frequent breaks. On taking breaks, Dr. Gabija Toleikyte, a neuroscientist, recommends that the number of breaks required depends on the complexity of the task. Also, the frequency and duration of breaks need to be tailored to your case. She recommends a 10 minute break every hour and a half in the morning and increasing the frequency to a 10-minute break every hour after lunch. You can read more about her work on the neuroscience of motivation here (2)

    2. Get enough sleep

    3. Prioritise self-care and time with friends and family

  • Develop New Habits (3) -

    1. Write a list of as many benefits of changing that habit as we can

    2. Write down a list of negative consequences now and in the long term if we don’t change it

    3. Seek clarity, visualise the future we want to build, and make small changes - The more vividly we can imagine the future we are trying to build, the more it stimulates our reward centres and the easier it is to resist the habits that get in the way.

    4. You can take time to reflect and ask yourself these questions:

    • What would you like to do?
    • What would you like to look like and feel like?
    • How much money would you like to earn and have in your savings account?
    • What kind of relationship or family would you like to have?
    • What experiences would you like to have and who would you like to share them with?

    1. Next, ask yourself these questions:
    • What one thing would I like to change this month?
    • Is that “one thing” achievable? Otherwise, what is the “good enough” standard
    • What could I do this week towards it?
    • What small step could I take this week to make this action possible?

    1. Act on the one thing you want to achieve!
  • Set healthy boundaries (4) -

    1. Recongise your limitis
    2. Learn to say “no” to others or attending events when your plates are full and when you need a break.

I hope this helps! I have linked the articles below for your readings.

  1. The Student's Guide to Managing Stress at Any Age
  2. Dr Gabija Toleikyte on the neuroscience of motivation | BBC Science Focus Magazine
  3. The Science of Habit: How to Rewire Your Brain
  4. Setting boundaries to avoid burnout - Thrive