It is always really stressful at the beginning of the end of the semester, particularly when you are still trying to recover from the trauma caused by the exam preparation from last semester or that 4000-word research paper you just handed in. What can be done to get yourself back on track then?
Even in my second year as a university student, I still get panic attacks just having the thought of getting back to school, having to assignments, reviewing readings and studying all over again. What I found most useful though was something my high school teachers could not have stressed more: time management.
Time management is simply the management of time in order to make the most out of it. However, there is much more than that! There is procrastination, which is the act of putting off actions or tasks that should have been done, sounds familiar? It is not too late to fight your academic procrastination, all it takes is to try these simple and practical techniques and you will be on your way to success!
Be honest with yourself and recognize that you are procrastinating is the first step to beating procrastination! It may be useful to start writing an activity log for a couple of days to see how you spend your time. Write down the activity, time, duration, and give each task that needs to be completed a priority. Then, track changes in your log to see when you are most alert, energized, and effective while working and leave this time for the most important jobs.
Identifying your priorities and making a “To-Do List” can also help you manage your time better and reduce stress, so you no longer will feel out of control or overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to get done. All you have to do in a “To-Do List” is to list all the tasks you need to complete and prioritize them from the very important to most trivial. You may find that some items, like a school project, maybe too big to complete in one day, so it is easier to break it down into several components to finish over consecutive days. Remember to fit in a five to ten-minute break for every one or two hours of work so you can refresh your mind!
An action plan can ensure that you cover all the components for your major projects that you need to complete. This list may include contacting your group members to set up meeting dates, meeting with your instructors and teachers’ assistants for feedback, and going to the library or Internet to do your research. Think of it like a recipe, list all the ingredients and when you want to add them (as in achieving each task)!
Last but not least, reward yourself for scheduling your time wisely and achieving your goals successfully! And remember, time management is your friend, not your enemy! Learn to work with it and you can say goodbye to your stress, deadlines, and cramming once for all!