You’re in a panic. There are only a few days/hours before a deadline (or maybe even less) but you haven’t finished your assignment. You already compose an exculpatory story, imagining the face of an enraged professor, and then look at the cost of tickets to Canada. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s not surprising. Each student somehow goes through this.
We all know how important planning is for effective work. Sometimes we’re obsessed with it. But, when it comes to start implementing the list of tasks, we begin to postpone them, reaching out to the last minute, or even completely breaking the deadlines. This happens to all to a greater or lesser extent.
It’s no wonder that deadlines and the need to do work at the last minute are considered the most popular cause of stress while studying. The thing is, if such last minute assignment stress grows into a habit and becomes something mundane, it can provoke a bunch of further problems, including improper time management, serious break healthy nutrition diet, sleep disorders, development of bad habits issues with self-confidence, brake relationships and even depression. In turn, these problems lead to many others, which are even hard to list. There is a vicious circle. Such stress takes its toll. Workloads in such moments are higher than planned.
So, what to do? First of all, calm down. To break deadlines is a common practice. No one has been killed for this yet. Even the Sydney Opera House was built with a delay of 10 years, exceeding the original budget by $95 million. It’s a pity, we won’t know how the architects got off the hook of the city administration. Do you like to work in conditions of time pressure? No? Then read how to deal with the last-minute assignment stress and deliver your work on time. Most likely, you’ll no longer have such problems.
To begin with, it’s important to understand why you keep putting off things. The reasons may be general fatigue, dissatisfaction with your study in general, and simply broken time management – a lack of planning skills. In the first two cases, you need to evaluate your stress level properly. Maybe you just need a rest – a day or two, or maybe a gap year – it depends on your physical well-being and mental condition. If you just love to procrastinate, you can work it out.
Have you missed the deadline? Looking on the Internet for a decent guillotine or other devices for self-destruction or googling on “how to leave college”? Well, it won’t help. Take responsibility. Instead of wasting time in a panic, take your sedative (or drink a cup of tea) and send a letter to your teacher that you don’t finish the assignment on time. Such a confessionary letter means that you understand where you’ve made a mistake, you care about it and you can prevent future deadline breaks.
Be creative. “Family problems”, “broken computer”, “sudden illness” and just “unforeseen circumstances” – these are all synonyms of the phrase “I’ve been doing nothing for two weeks and today I suddenly remember that there is no time to finish the task.” Don’t think that only you (and I) know about it. So, you have to come up with a more original excuse or just tell the truth. Report on the dates for which you have time to prepare everything (you don’t want to send such a letter again, right?).
Now the bad news is. If you practice the above method too often, nothing will save your reputation. Therefore, alternate the completed on-time projects with pleas for a postponement of deadlines.
Well, if you still have time (even very little), you need to use it to complete the task.
My college roommate could write faster than anyone else. If he needed to write a 10-page work by 9 a.m., he would start writing it at 6 a.m. that very day. The craziest thing is that he always got an “A”. I could never understand how he could do in a few hours something on which I spent a whole week.
When I asked him how (and why) he did everything at the last minute, he said that he needed the pressure of the upcoming deadline to spur motivation. He also said that if you put things off at the last minute, they would take only a minute. Wise words.
Yes, indeed, last-minute postponement can be an effective, but nervous way to work faster. Therefore, I decided to come up with some other solutions to increase efficiency without much stress. Here’s how you can speed up the process and increase your productivity.
1. Set own deadlines for each task
The amount of time you spend on a specific task depends on how much time you devote to it. If you don’t set a deadline, then you’ll spend as much time on the assignment as you want. But if you limit the time, then the pressure that you experience when trying to get ahead of time will make your work faster and complete the job before the deadline. Limiting time can make you focus without noticing anything around, even your thoughts, emotions, and time. In other words, you’re just on fire.
2. Take the first step
Start to do something right now and you’ll get rid of anxiety and stress. As soon as you have important things to do, take the time to at least start solving these problems or ask for advice if necessary. You’ll have a chance to handle these matters as soon as possible. Most likely, as soon as you start to do something, you’ll get drawn into the work and finish quickly enough.
3. Divide projects into smaller tasks
It may sound like a waste of valuable time – but still, try. This helps to understand at what stage you’re working, especially when working on large projects. Perhaps you’ll see that everything isn’t as bad as you expected. Small tasks cause less stress because they constantly lead to small victories.
4. Follow the 25 Minutes Rule
To reduce the temptation to postpone the task, each work phase should take no more than 25 minutes. After 25 minutes of work, take at least a 5-minute break. Have a cup of coffee, reply to a message on Facebook, do a little exercise or just lie down. After four periods of work, a longer break follows. Even if you think that you don’t have time for such breaks, do them. This will allow your brain to switch between activities and relax from the study load. So you’ll work more efficiently and faster.
This technique is especially effective with a large amount of work or when you need to do what you don’t want to do at all. When you know that you only need to work for 25 minutes, it’s easier to finish the assignment.
5. Eliminate distractions
That is perhaps the most obvious piece of advice. But it’s always easier said than done. You need to create a positive work environment for yourself that promotes productive activities. Eliminate all possible distractions. They’ll only become pretexts for you to stop working. The Internet, friends who are always ready to chat with you, phone calls, TV shows – all this helps you to start putting off work. Eliminate all distractions for at least 25 minutes and get busy.
By the way, you can listen to relaxing white noise. It maintains concentration because it’s constant. It sounds the same way and your brain gets used to it. Thus, sound distractions no longer affect you. This increases your focus on the current task and allows you to work faster. Also, white noise helps you calm down if you’re stressed.
6. Calm down your inner perfectionist
Perfection is often the enemy of productivity. Reviewing the paper, triple checking for errors and completing additional work delays progress depletes your energy and can destroy your emotional health.
The problem of perfectionists is that they have an all-or-nothing mentality. If their work isn’t perfect, they consider it a failure. Is that you? Well, then just remember that you can refine and improve your work as much as you like. But after a certain moment, your efforts will bring only minor improvements, time will be lost and you’ll get extra stress. Don’t try to make the last-minute assignment perfect. The main thing to finish it.
7. Think positively
No, things aren’t so bad as to give up everything and pray (I hope so, anyway). But positive thinking will help you, especially if it isn’t an abstract set of sounds, but a very specific setting. Keep telling yourself “I know how to do these things. I can handle this problem” and something like that.
Why is all this necessary? Firstly, it’ll save you from nervousness and help cleanse your brain of panic thoughts. Secondly, such self-hypnosis will give you confidence – this is a fact.
8. Ask for help
If you understand that you simply cannot finish your task on time, ask someone to help – your friends, roommates, fellow students. For instance, they can help you collect and properly structured information, conclude, etc.
Otherwise, you can contact the custom writing service if there are no other ways. Keep in mind that it can cost you a lot and you can get paper of not very good quality. Therefore, evaluate all the risks and think twice.
9. Remind yourself that all this isn’t for long
Do you know that feeling when there is an endless end of work ahead? So frustrating. Think of the fact that you aren’t going to work in salt mines for a year. All you need is the final push and you can finally catch a break.
I hope these tips will allow you to get rid of stress, or at least reduce its level. As a rule, the devil is not so black as he is painted. Perhaps you’ll cope with your last-minute assignment as soon as you stop panicking. All you need is just get started. Even if you have to work all night, do it. Prove to yourself what you can do it. And next time, you’ll hardly postpone your tasks until the last minute.