As second term draws to a close and deadlines are fast approaching, it can feel extremely overwhelming. The library has so many unique ways to help you feel more like yourself and balance your time. Here are some of the great ways you can use the library to create a more mindful experience as life gets busy.
Wellbeing has become very integrated in our everyday lives. From trying to get the best work-life balance to spending time focusing on yourself, it is very important to try and keep this balance up when deadlines hit. To help with this balancing act, our library has so many lovely opportunities for you to take time out and focus on yourself. Whether this is understanding how to be more productive with your time, managing your tasks or getting away from distractions, there are endless possibilities to help you focus on your needs.
For postgraduate students, this could mean workshops that help you understand how to manage your time. One of the most difficult transitions for me from an undergraduate to postgraduate degree was coping with the increase in everyday tasks that had to be done. Sessions where you can learn to use admin tools like Trello can make such a significant difference to your timescale. For me, Trello has helped me track my progress in different goals, from deadlines to job applications – I even used it to help track my progress in my undergraduate degree! There are great workshops throughout the year through the OnTrack online module that can help you understand the different options to track your productivity.
Mindfulness practice is such an important part of our schedules, and part of this might mean finding a way to study more effectively without distractions. To supplement this, the library offers incredible workshops like Study Happy and Switch Off, where you can see the importance of working without your phone as a distraction. Sometimes, it can take a workshop like this for you to truly understand how productive you can be; something that is essential when your work starts to pile up. Simply by putting your phone in another room, you open up your mind to truly focus on your thoughts.
As well as these library-led solutions, the library itself can be a great place to truly focus on your work in a peaceful environment. When trying to get to grips with complicated readings, I often find the fourth floor of the library is a great place to sit and focus. In fact, a 2013 study found that two hours of silence can improve your learning, memory and emotions. As someone who struggles when distracted (especially when working on statistics or maths), having a space where everyone else is focused and in silence really helped me copy the behaviour and understand what I was working on.
Even though It can seem very daunting to try and create a mindful environment before working, it can be so beneficial to your productivity and for the quality of your work. By taking the time to do fun activities like a creative chillout or yoga session, you might find that this hour away from your desk has made you work more efficiently or to a higher standard. Especially during a stress-filled time, taking that one hour to truly relax can make a world of a difference to your wellbeing. Not only that, some of the activities can be integrated into your future jobs as well as into your work-life balance!
As always, if you do feel that your work is truly getting on top of you, it is definitely worth speaking to someone in your department or a member of the wellbeing team to understand how best to cope with the transition into undergraduate or postgraduate life.