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University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

Being organised: a Practical Guide

Taking a break

How to manage your time effectively and prioritise tasks.

Taking a break

You can't be working all the time. You need to give yourself time to rest, relax, and focus.

Breaks are important

Taking a break gives you time to unwind and/or re-energise. It also gives you chance to reflect on the work you've done, and what you've achieved so far.

A punning photograph of pool balls breaking off

Life should never be just work work work (that would be terribly boring, and also terribly bad for us). We need to leave time for some fun. And at University there's more opportunities for fun than we might normally get...

But I've got work to do...

Sure, when you're working on a project you may need to put a few things on hold to give yourself time to concentrate, but that's not the same as just cloistering yourself away until the work is done.

You need to leave time for some sleep, too! If you're tired, your concentration will suffer.

When you're working on something, there's few things worse than staring at a blank screen. Don't be afraid to walk away for a bit if you're wanting for inspiration. A break can offer up new ideas. How many good ideas come to you when you're sat on the toilet or trying to sleep?

Give yourself some space

The Living Room, with its hanging chairs, lush rug and foliage

There's a range of spaces to explore throughout the Library, the campus, and the city as a whole...

The Living Room

Our Living Room space on the top floor of the Fairhurst is a place where you can switch off your devices, curl up in a hanging chair, and take a moment to relax and have a break.

Sensory Rooms

A view of the Sensory Retreat Room, all green dappled light like you're under water.

Our Sensory Rooms, also on the top floor of the Fairhurst, are spaces that allow you to moderate your sensory experience. We have two dedicated sensory rooms: the Sensory Study Room designed primarily for studying and the Sensory Retreat Room which is a calm space that allows you to take time out from studying.

The rest of campus

Our campus is beautiful (no, really, it is!) with plenty of places to sit and get away from it all or let your hair down. If you really want a bit of peace and quiet to chill out in, there's even the secret garden that is the Quiet Place...

The rest of the city

Actually, York's pretty lovely as a whole. There are far worse places to be...

Digital creativity

Siobhan and Sam are playing nicely with some bits of plastic tat they've printed in YorCreate

Perhaps you want to try your hand at some creative play. Why not take a look at the two digital labs we've got in the library?

Creativity Lab

This lab has computers equipped with a range of creative editing software and access to game engines like Unreal and Unity. A wide selection of equipment is also available, allowing you to explore Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), 3D design, podcasting, 360 filming and recording, and more. The Lab is open for drop-in use on Mondays, with more facilitated sessions and training also available.


YorCreate is our makerspace. There's 3D printers and crafting materials, free to use after a short induction. Find out more:

Digital Wednesdays and other training

Our Digital Wednesdays programme include sessions on media editing, coding, and getting digitally creative. The Creativity Lab also offers a host of training sessions. You can find all of these events listed on our Training page:


In terms of the Library, the resources we hold, both physical and online, aren't just there for educational use. They're also there for recreational use!

Online collections

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is an on-demand TV and radio service where you can catch up on free-to-air UK broadcasts from the last decade or so...

There's more media content available in our collections via the eResources guide:

Physical collections

In addition to streaming video (not to mention all the DVDs and CDs we've got) there's our graphic novels collection, and literature ranging from 17th-21st century. All of this is available via YorSearch. Or you can browse our virtual shelves, below.

Switch off or burn out

Thanks to technology making our work or studies just a click away, it’s easy to forget the importance of a work/life balance and the need to effectively manage our workload.

Four tips for switching off

Here are some useful features, tools and tips that can help you to address your work/life balance:

Do not disturb
Turn off alerts

Getting alerts at all times of the day can be stressful and distracting. You can use the Do not disturb function on your Apple or Android device to switch off alerts from all apps. If you want to manage this on an app by app basis then you can do this in the settings.

Taking a note
Make a quick note

When you have an idea or remember something you need to do, note it down somewhere to look at later. You could use a non-tech method like a post-it or notepad or a tech solution like Google Keep. The Keep mobile app has voice recognition: you can speak the idea into your phone and it’ll take a written note that can be picked up later.

No phones
No phones rule

Identify time when you won’t look at your phone. You might find it useful to have no phones in the bedroom so you can go to sleep and wake up without the distraction of technology, or no phones at dinnertime to encourage interactions with family or housemates.

15' rule

When you get home, for the first 15 minutes do something to take your mind off work and make you happy! If straight after getting home doesn’t work for you, pick a different time that does. This is a technique picked up from readings of positive psychology and mindfulness. The Action for Happiness website provides useful tips and activities that you could consider using for your 15 minutes.

Wellbeing resources

There's a lot of online help in terms of wellbeing, some of it by us here in the Library...

Forthcoming training sessions

Forthcoming sessions on :

Taught students
Show details & booking for these sessions

There's more training events at:

Wellbeing collections

Here's a selection of virtual bookshelves for some of our wellbeing-related collections. You can also find them on YorSearch.

Life skills

Graphic novels