At the moment I live in Newcastle, in the north of England. Two hours south, my grandparents live in Leeds and two more hours south of there, my boyfriend, James, lives in Coventry. (My parents live in an entirely different country altogether but I don’t visit them during term time so for the sake of this blog, we’re putting them to one side.)
During my undergraduate degree, I rarely went away at weekends. James was also living in Newcastle at the time and I made occasional visits to Leeds whenever I felt like some time with family. This year, I’m away more often than I thought I would be. Recently, I have been visiting Leeds more often since buying my first car. It was always going to be the case that I would spend at least one weekend a month visiting James, whether that be down in Coventry or meeting in the middle in Leeds. But as the year progresses, I can feel the hassle of travelling taking its toll on my university work.
Consequently, I’ve had to think a lot about how I’m going to fit everything in so here are my tips for finding that balance between managing your work and weekend travel.
- Get as much done before you go as you can. If I’m travelling on a Thursday, I make sure I put in as many hours as possible on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so that I feel a little more deserving of a rest at the weekend.
- Work en route. If you take public transport to get from A to B, plan to do some reading or write up your notes whilst you travel. Obviously, if you drive everywhere this isn’t possible so alternatively, you could add an interesting podcast to your driving playlist which is relevant to your studies. If you are taking public transport, aim to do your work first before you open Netflix. I’ve found if I start watching something first, I quickly become lethargic and less motivated to get stuff done!
- Plan time during the weekend to get more done, in advance! If you’re a morning person, waking early to complete work tasks means that you feel less guilty during the day and less concerned about doing more. On the other hand, if you’re a night owl you could stay up later for an extra hour to finish some notes. Whenever you decide to do it, choose your time slots before you leave home so that you know exactly when you need to get your head down and crack on!
- Don’t plan to do too much. If you’ve got a busy weekend planned, taking several journal articles, lectures notes and an essay to write is not the best idea. Prioritise what needs to be done first and if you have an essay due, it’s probably best to get it done before the weekend. My assignments are always due on a Friday so I aim to have them completed by Wednesday night so that I only need to proofread before submitting them.
Do you travel regularly on a weekend? How do you manage your work-life balance? Do you have any tips that you could add to these? Leave a comment below and thanks for reading!