24th May 2016
Whoosh! How to Stop Deadlines Whizzing Past
Nobody likes a deadline. If nothing else, it has the word “dead” in it, which is rarely comforting. More pressingly, trying to work to a deadline can be very stressful.
Some people, like author Douglas Adams, cope with this stress by ignoring deadlines entirely:
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for your average college student, as missing a deadline will mean losing out on marks. This could, in turn, affect your overall grade, so you need to turn in your assignments on time whenever possible.
But how can you make sure you do this? We have a few suggestions…
1. Start Early!
This might sound obvious, but the most common mistake people make when working to deadlines is to (wrongly) assume they have more time than they really do. Next thing you know, your work’s due and you’re forced to rush the writing process.
You can avoid this stress (and the poor quality work that usually results) simply by not leaving your paper until the last minute. On which note…
2. Have a Plan
To make sure you have enough time to finish your paper, you should formulate a plan before you start writing. This includes the time you’ll need to research your paper, write it up, and make any revisions required before submitting the final version.
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At the very least, you should try to sketch an outline of your argument so you know what you need to do for each section of your paper, as well as how your argument hangs together as a whole. This will make it much easier to overcome any problems you encounter while working.
3. Break Tasks Down into Manageable Chunks
A well-written paper is rarely finished in one session, so if you’re working on a longer essay you might want to work on it in smaller chunks. This will make it seem less daunting, in addition to letting you schedule work more effectively.
And as long as you start early enough (see above), even writing a paragraph or two a day should get you over the finish line in time.
4. Prioritize Your Work
If you do have a deadline approaching, you need to prioritize. This simply involves knowing which tasks are most important and being willing to set other things aside until they’re done.
For example, although you might have been invited to a party on Wednesday night, you should probably prioritize work if you’ve got a deadline on Thursday. Sorry to be a buzzkill about it.
5. Conquer Procrastination
The final hurdle every student (and everyone else) must overcome when working to a deadline is the urge to procrastinate. Time management is a big part of this, but it’s also important to create an environment free from distractions and to allow yourself regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
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