Study routine: finding the right balance.


Whether you are new to tertiary education or completing the final year of your degree, every university student faces the challenge of balancing a study schedule with everyday routine. How many hours need to be allocated to study each week to be successful in your course?

At Western Sydney University Online, we recommend each student dedicates 10 hours of study to each subject per week. For a standard study load of two subjects, this equates to 20 hours of study each week. No matter whether you’re doing a degree in marketing, accounting or anything else.

How many hours should I set aside for study each day?

20 hours a week may seem overwhelming at face value but when we break this down, it equates to approximately 2 hours and 51 minutes of study each day. Developing regular, healthy study habits at the beginning of your teaching period will make balancing study and everyday life more manageable.

Three hours, 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds…

There are countless things that we do each day that take up a significant amount of time without us really noticing. According to ABS, Australian adults spend an average of almost two hours a day watching TV, and a recent Sensis report revealed that we are spending around 1.2 hours a day on Facebook. Three hours can seemingly disappear in the blink of an eye- the following activities are just some of the ways we can lose the hours each day that we could have spent studying:

  • Planning an imaginary holiday that you won’t be able to take unless you finish studying
  • Watching Netflix documentaries – now you know everything about The Panama Canal and The Hoover Dam, but unfortunately these topics are irrelevant for your upcoming assessment
  • Plunging down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theory videos on YouTube
  • Scrolling through countless photo albums on Facebook
  • Buying three new outfits online

Setting aside time for study

Take out a pen and a piece of paper and identify all of your time wasters. Be honest with yourself- no one needs to see this list but you. Which of these do you really enjoy doing and would like to keep in your routine for when you take some time to enjoy yourself? Which of these are pointless time wasting habits that you really need to work on minimising?

These tips will help you work towards finding your personal study balance:

  • Make a detailed study plan every Sunday afternoon/night for the week ahead. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Write down everything that you have on for the week and when you are going to study every day. If you have a family birthday dinner on Thursday night, write it down and allocate your study time between 3pm and 6pm. The dinner will seem like a reward for your hard work!
  • Try to study at the same time every day. We know that this may not always be possible, but consistency works well for a successful study routine. Some students prefer to study in the morning and others prefer to do so when they get home from work. Some students like to head to their local library each day for a few hours of uninterrupted study. Do what works best for you and try to develop a consistent routine.
  • Engage with other students online. Talking to your peers is a great way to stay motivated and to support one another. If you have a question about an assessment, try reaching out to your peers to help you. On the other hand, if a student asks for assistance and you think that you can help, teaching and explaining concepts and ideas to other students is a fantastic way for you to consolidate your knowledge.
  • Set goals and reward yourself when you achieve them. Make sure that all of your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Based. When you reach your goals, reward yourself- you deserve it! Completed your online activity? Play with your dog or cat for 15 minutes. Finished a time consuming and challenging assessment? Enjoy a delicious brunch at your favourite café.

We are all guilty of procrastinating every once in a while but by identifying and minimising the ways in which you often waste time, you can help build a great study schedule that works for you.

Break down your study into smaller pieces instead of trying to tackle it all at once and reward yourself when you reach your goals. It’s all about prioritising and finding the right balance for you.

Learn more about how online study works.

more blogs