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With Christmas festivities beginning and the holidays fast approaching, the thought of sitting at a desk and writing up coursework is hard to stomach. However, there is no need to fret. Below I have listed seven checkpoints you should adhere to, to help efficiently meet those deadlines. All, in a way that won’t dampen your Christmas spirit!
Write all of your deadlines down
Although this might seem like a tedious activity, as having to go between modules looking at deadlines rather than actually doing the work can seem pointless, it allows you to get a sense of the time you have. It also helps those of us in denial come to terms with our workload by visually seeing them laid out in front of us! Not only does this simple act allow you to figure out the space you have between those deadlines, but it also begins your thinking. Even a quick glance at the assessments at an early stage can conjure up ideas, and you’ll soon find that when it comes to tackling that question, your brains already prompted with some thoughts!
Dedicate reasonable amount of time in advance
This tip is one that we all (misguidedly) say that we will stick to – as we all begin the year telling ourselves we will get our essays done massively in advance of the due-date. Yet this can be unrealistic when faced with the end of term hand-ins. Therefore, instead of pushing yourself to complete a deadline, begin by dedicating a reasonable amount of time to research/reading in the weeks leading up to it. This nest of research allows you to start to formulate a complete and flexible plan that will be useful at a later stage. Equally, a bonus is that you avoid the unnecessary stress of cramming what should have been a few weeks worth of reading and research into the night before, something we are all guilty of at some stage. Just remember, it’s never too early to start!
Keep a daily routine
When it comes to deadlines, most of us are guilty of thinking that staying up late and ruining our sleeping patterns is the answer, even though we are aware that it is indeed the wrong answer! A more efficient way to manage your deadlines is to stick to a steady routine. A good example is to work hard for 30-45 minutes and then have a short break for 15 minutes. In managing your time and sticking to it, you are preventing stress from taking over, something that a state of fatigue and rushing can cause. So designate time for the gym, and assign time to chill as well – a deadline should never rule your life!
When your deadline is done and dusted, it is easy to forget about it quickly. Yet perhaps giving it that one last read over is the difference between an A and an A+. We all have those lecturers who are hawk-eyed in their attempts to catch us out on an incorrect reference or simple grammatical mistakes, so let’s stop them in their tracks! Just a simple read over the night before allows you to correct these small errors that can sometimes go amiss, and genuinely feel confident when it comes to submitting our work. Then your essay can truly be done and dusted!
Know that you are not alone
The stress of a deadline and the immense pressure we sometimes put ourselves under makes it easy to feel isolated and alone in our worries. However, as this article has pointed out, all of these mistakes are common, and so you are not alone! Realising that you’re not on your own is extremely important; there are other people out there sat with four empty costa cups surrounding them. Hopefully, sharing this struggle with others should make you feel less stressed, as you realise that others are in the same boat, experiencing similar pre-deadline anxieties. Most significantly, recognising this allows you to step out of that pit of despair and talk to others. By teaming up with other like-minded individuals, you are already making that deadline more fun to achieve by hanging out with friends in the process. It also does not harm you to ask questions and receive help from your subject friends either. In other words, team-work makes the dream work!
Scheduling time to relax is probably the most important tip there is to meet deadlines. It is integral, when you have upcoming deadlines, to take a break and truly step away from your work mindset for an hour or two. I would recommend administering a break in the middle of the day and before bed. That way, you are preventing that well-known slump in the middle of the day where the vast amount of work you still have left to do seems daunting, as well as allowing yourself to go to bed on a much more positive and thoughtless note. Perhaps this step is most important in that it will enable you to combat stress, which is a good thing because, if you haven’t learnt by now, stress gets you nowhere! On that note, go and annoy your flatmates, go and watch that TV series or, more appropriately, go and watch Elf!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
As easy as these steps may seem, it is understandable that they are hard to commit to when stress completely takes over. The idea of relaxing can seem impossible, the idea of a good night’s sleep unnecessary, and the thought of reaching out to others on your course may seem scary.
Still, despite this fear, perhaps the most crucial step is realising that this stress has gone too far and you need to request help from someone qualified in the subject. Many of us forget that lecturers are looking out for us; they don’t want us to buckle under immense stress. So, if you find yourself struggling to commit to these steps or feel that you’re deep in a downward spiral, acknowledge that there is a support system in place. This support system understands that general student stress is normal and something that can be combatted or taken into consideration. Speak to your tutor about an extension, or ask them the questions that keep you up at night regarding your deadline!