Around this time in the semester, it seems like all our deadlines hit us at once. I’ve got a couple of tips that will hopefully help you if you’re struggling with this like I am!
Firstly, if you haven’t already, make a note of when all your deadlines are. It might be worth structuring this list by order of priority, so you know what you need to get done first. Sometimes, if you’ve got a 3000 word essay due in two weeks and a 5 minute quiz due in two days, it’s actually better to prioritise making a start on the essay than focusing on the quiz for too long.
Following on from that, I’d recommend adding onto a calendar small goals for each assignment. For example, two weeks before an essay is due, I usually put ‘start writing essay’ as this is usually the time frame I’d be happy to write an essay in (providing I’d planned it first). Then I sometimes put word count goals on different days on the lead up to the deadline, for example ‘1000 words on Monday’, ‘2000 words on Thursday’. This helps me make sure I’m staying on track with each of my assignments as sometimes it’s easy to focus too much on one assignment and forget about the rest of them.
If you feel like you’re running behind a little, take another look at these goals and refresh them. You won’t always get things right first time, and it can be really useful to spend 10 minutes readjusting your goals in order to make your life easier. It’s okay to fall behind even though you’re putting in lots of work to try not to! It’s only natural. But if you can catch that feeling early and work on it ASAP, you’re far less likely to suffer.
Reward yourself when you meet these targets! It makes it far more likely that you’ll keep on smashing them. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t quite make them. As long as your goals don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you should have time to catch up after a busy or bad day. For example, I don’t expect myself to be able to write 1000 words in a day, that’s just not possible for me, so I make a 1000 word goal every other working day usually, as I know writing 500 words a day is possible for me. But I don’t make my goal ‘500 words a day’ because I don’t want to assume I’ll be able to reach that every day, so I round it up to 1000 words over two days. This relieves some of that pressure on constantly reaching targets.
Finally, I always like to end blog posts like this on a reminder to take breaks and be kind to yourself! Deadlines and even university in general isn’t the be all and end all – *audible gasp* – no really, it isn’t! You and your health should always come first, so make sure to take breaks when you need them, and treat yourself like you would your best friend. Good luck with any upcoming deadlines you have!