The deadline season survival guide
Spring blooms around us, the sun is shining outside your window. It’s the time of year that we all know and dread: deadline season. When we get that ominous tone of a Tabula notification, reminding us that our assignment is due way too soon, how do we deal with the anxiety and panic that creeps in? Here are some ways to help you deal with the stress of these deadlines:
Practice time management
Firstly, I’m sorry if hearing the phrase “time management” makes you want to puke. For me, it brings back nostalgic memories of GCSEs and A Levels. However, it really does help. Giving yourself an earlier deadline and allowing time for doing your work will dial down the stress levels because you’re not racing against the clock to submit it on time.
Break it down
When completing an assignment, it’s difficult to do so when we view it as one massive task we can’t comprehend completing. Breaking down your assignments into smaller tasks makes them more manageable. Instead of looking at a blank Word document and feeling overwhelmed, (“oh my gosh, there’s so much to do. I don’t even know where to start”), make a checklist of smaller tasks to complete and go through that checklist daily. Tell yourself, I’ll try to complete four tasks today, and, by completing those tasks you’ve set yourself for the day, you’ll ride on that momentum the next day and get a good start to your assignment.
Do work with a friend
Working with a friend is always nice. Having someone there who is in the same boat can help you feel less stressed, knowing you’re not alone. You can hold each other accountable. For example, my friend and I will say we want to finish writing X amount of words within the next hour. We check in at the end of the hour and make sure we’ve completed what we wanted to get done. It is easier to complete a task or write a certain amount of words with a friend, which builds momentum and makes you feel good about the stage you’re at with your assignment. Stress can come from fear of being unable to complete it in time, so if you get stuff done, you’ll feel a lot better about it.
Choose your atmosphere wisely
The atmosphere makes a big difference. Find an atmosphere that works for you. Some people work better in messy spaces, some in clean spaces. Some may even prefer to work outside their house in a little café. I personally enjoy lighting a nice candle, in a clean living room, with an ‘ASMR Harry Potter Common Room’ theme playing in the background. Bonus points if you can guess which house! So, choose your atmosphere wisely, as it can help you feel calmer and ready to tackle an assignment.
Take adequate breaks
Try not to do your assignment in one sitting. Instead, take some breaks between your dedicated work sessions and do something you enjoy, whether watching a comfort show (I highly recommend New Girl), listening to music, or whatever else relaxes you.
Take care of yourself
You might be thinking, “hey, if I just grind and get the assignment done in the library tonight, then it will be ok”. If that works for you, then go for it. At the same time, remember taking care of your body is as important as taking care of your mind. So, during deadline season, make sure you’re sleeping well, eating well and getting some form of exercise – even if it’s going for a walk to Tesco. If your body is not feeling its best, your mind will not be at its best.
Every bit of hard work deserves a nice reward at the end. Set a deadline by which you will strive to complete your assignments, then plan a day out with your friends, family, or significant other. It will give you something fun to look forward to and motivate you to finish the work by the deadline you’ve set for yourself.
Lastly, remember that perfection does not exist and your grades do not define you. At the end of the day, do your best, give it your all and pat yourself on the back for getting through the blood, sweat, and tears of completing your assignment(s). For everyone with their heads buried with work this season, you’ve got this!