Okay, so the odds are you’ve been told at least twenty times by now that ‘starting early’ and ‘getting ahead’ is the key to keeping up with work in the run up to your deadlines. And if you’re one of those people that makes a start on the essay the day after its set, then great (I’m not at all jealous.)
But if, like me, you’ve found yourself with three assignments due in the next week that you’re yet to even start, then you’re probably more than a little stressed- and we all know the most effective method of coping with stress is ignoring it and reading articles about it that you found on Facebook.
In all seriousness, though, stress helps nobody: it makes you tired and irritable, it has a negative impact on your mental health and it definitely won’t get your assignments finished. So with that in mind, here’s a few ways to keep calm, and make your deadlines on time.
Make a schedule
If you’re at university, the likelihood is that you already have an endless list of things to do, and assignments do nothing but add to the workload (especially if you’ve left them all until the last possible opportunity.) Making a realistic study schedule helps you map out all the things you’ve got left to do, prioritise which are most important (ergo, the ones due tomorrow morning,) and actually spend enough time getting them done. Not only will this ensure you submit all your work on time, but it helps relieve some of the stress, too- if you can see your workload all colour-coded and organised into a spreadsheet, it doesn’t seem so scary.
Get rid of distractions
Trust me, I get it. The urge to pick up your phone when its right next to you sometimes feels literally impossible to resist- it’s a reflex. But is the world really going to explode if you hear the snapchat notification and leave it unopened for longer than 0.2 seconds? You know it’s only a short trip from that to “I’ll just take a break and scroll through Instagram for ten minutes,” and then cut to two hours later having absolutely nothing done. Social media is the jewel in the crown of procrastination, so if you have to, try deleting the apps from your phone whilst you’re working- I guarantee you’ll be ten times more productive, and feel all the better for it.
Take a break
We’ve all been there. There’s only so many times you can read the same three sentences, trying to work out why they don’t sound quite right, before you go insane. Get up, stretch and go for a walk- even if only for ten minutes. At the very least it’s a momentary respite from the torture, but you never know, a minute away from your work might actually give you some good ideas. There are also knock-on mental health benefits in taking some time for yourself.
Having a Costa with a Krispy Kreme machine a two minute walk away from wherever you’re studying is both a blessing and a curse: always seems like a good idea, but before you know it you’ve spent half your student loan on obtaining rotting teeth and the shakes. Caffeine and sugar are actually scientifically proven to just make you more stressed, so instead try some mood-boosting snacks like dark chocolate or fruit – and the calming effects of a good cup of tea are unrivaled.
Talk it out
If you find yourself daydreaming, staring into the distance or, worse, panicking when sat working in your room alone, try studying in groups- you’re far less likely to let the stress get to you when you’ve got someone who gets it to complain with. And if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, then try calling a friend, texting the girl you sit next to in the lecture to see how she’s getting on, or using the facilities provided by the uni to ask advice from someone who’s already been there and done it. Chances are you’re not the only one stressing, and you’ll come away with a fresh perspective.