If you’re currently a student you’re probably in a similar place to me right now, and that place is assignment hell. I’ve got 3 weeks of uni left and all my deadlines are coming up, and I am not prepared. Im stressed and slightly panicked, yet my essays still aren’t being written. So I figured rather than focus on getting a good degree and completing my assignments, I’d write a blog post on how to cope with the stress of deadlines. Hopefully I’ll make use of some of these tips myself!
Organisation is key, planning is your best friend. Write down all the things you need to do, and work out the best strategy for getting them done. Work out what’s a priority, assign tasks for each day, even down to how many words you need to write, set targets and then you know what you’ve got to do. I love to plan, and I have calendars with dates circled and words scribbled all over them, and notepads with to do lists for every day of the week. Im the sort of person who can’t focus on two things at once when it comes to essays, so if I have deadlines close to each other I like to set my own deadline so Im not overlapping writing essays.
Find out how you work best
This is important for getting things done. Learn where you work best, home, library, coffee shop, park. Where ever it is, as long as that’s where you’ll get the most work done! Also what time of day you work best at is important, some people love to get up early and get cracking, while some people work best in late at night into the early hours of the morning, learn your prime work time. Another key point is how you work, do you need the pressure of knowing your essay is due in a few hours, or does that thought make you want to cry and you’d much rather have 4 weeks to write an essay? Personally I need almost complete silence to get work done, so the library is great for me at less busy times. For me to work at home I need an empty house, and my bedroom has to be tidy. I also work best in the morning and late afternoon, I normally need a lunch break, and after about 7pm I can’t focus on anything. I’ve also discovered I work best when I start an assignment about 2 weeks before the deadline.
Just write something
Half the stress of deadlines is having an empty word document and not knowing what to write, and the best thing for this is, just write something. Anything that’s slightly relevant, even if it’s rubbish and you end up deleting it, having words on the page will make you feel so much better and also start your brain thinking.
Take breaks, but only if you deserve them
Having regular breaks is important, because sitting in front of your laptop for hours on end, getting more worked up is never going to result in you finishing your assignment. Take a break, forget about your work for a little bit and chill out. A break could be 10 minutes to scroll through twitter and Facebook, or it could be an hour for lunch, or even a whole evening to watch a film. Whatever works best and whatever you need to relax for a bit. However be realistic, don’t take a break when you’ve spent the past two hours pretending to do work, but really you’ve been reading blogs, only take breaks when you deserve them, or when you have to, like eating lunch.
Finally the most important tip to coping with deadlines, is to treat yourself. If you’ve worked hard and had a better than expected day, maybe you wrote 1000 words instead of 600, or maybe you finished your assignment, make sure to treat yourself, a pamper evening, or a trip to the cinema, some online shopping, or maybe a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Make sure you acknowledge how well you’ve done, and feel proud, hopefully this will make you feel more determined to do just as well tomorrow!
So what do you do when you’ve written 0 words for both of your 3000 words essays, and all your deadlines have suddenly creeped up and you’re sitting at your laptop crying your eyes out wondering if you should just quit uni because you’re going to fail anyway? (yep, I’ve been there.)
Firstly, don’t panic, walk away, close the laptop, go for a walk, or go to bed if it’s stupid o’clock in the morning, and just forget about it until you’ve calmed down/slept. Nothing is going to get done while you’re crying and freaking out. When you’re feeling less like you want to quit uni and never come back, reevaluate. How much needs to be done, and how much time do you have to do it? Make a plan, and stick to it! If it’s a totally not doable feat, just do as much as you can do, and then speak to someone. Email your lecturers, ask for an extension, explain whats happening and you never know you might just get one. You might not, and you might fail one essay, but in the scheme of things, that one essay isn’t going to matter, and failing one essay is always better than failing two.
Hopefully, if you're in deadline hell these tips will have helped you, and if you're not in education or aren't struggling with deadlines I really do envy you! Let me know what deadlines you're working to at the moment in the comments.