Birdseye view of a laptop, book and cup of tea.

How to make the most of your reading week

Reading week could be a godsend if you’re overwhelmed with work, have 50 books to read and you need to catch up on your notes.

What’s most important is the efficiency of your work this week, so this blog is all about how to make the most of a ‘week off’ uni!

Now don’t forget, you only have a week. You might think, ‘wow that’s great!’, but trust me, it goes so quickly. So first of all, plan what you’ll do every day and stick to it! Make sure to assign a bit of work to each day of the week – maybe even write it up and stick it on the wall so that you have a reminder of what you need to do. Also make sure you’ve assigned equal work every day, with sufficient breaks for rest, food and water.

Catching up on your work is great, but the work won’t be any good if you’re running on three hours sleep and some leftover takeaway from the night before. Efficiency is all in the mindset, and if you start your working week with a fresh mind, its likely your work will be a thousand times better.

If you have a part time job at university, you might want to consider taking the week off. Reading weeks may be a break from class, but not from your studies, so it could be beneficial to have a week of only uni work. For me, taking the week off simply wasn’t possible, and so instead, I asked for a couple days in the week off so I could catch up on my work and still bring in some money.

A problem I’ve always found with balancing my course work and my daily activities is that books take a long time to read. So my advice is to get Audible or any other audio book platform. If you haven’t listened to an audio book before you might think that listening to the information isn’t helpful as reading it and that it will still take ages, but the Audible app tells you how long the book will take to read so you can put time aside to listen to chapters whilst doing other things like cooking. You may prefer reading books but if you are strapped for time audio books can be a really useful tool. Top tip: if you are really short on time you can speed the book up to 2x which would halve the amount of time!

One last pointer, whilst it is a working week (and it’s important that you still do the work) you also need to take a break, so try and give yourself a day of rest. Make sure to take time to relax, maybe binge-watch your favourite TV show (mine is Downton Abbey) or meet up with a friend. An escape from work may be all you need to help that writer’s block or help lower frustration levels if you don’t understand something.

Reading week is there to help you. It’s not there for you to slack off, and it’s not to be used as a week of furious work. It’s there for productivity and efficiency, to help you have a breather from the course whilst you catch up with the semester. Use it as you will, but please make sure you’re taking the opportunity given to you to catch up on work – it can be incredibly helpful!

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