Exams are approaching, deadlines got us all sweating — I know it well. After a week of deadline after deadline, with presentations, interviews and even a video project crammed in the middle, I figured it was time to compile a good starter guide to management. If you’re like me in the past and you have no idea how much time to schedule for anything, or no idea how not to start the night before… this is just the post for you! Just promise me you’ll go study or work after this, okay?
Find your biologically productive time
I know a lot of people, like myself, who perform between the time that the sun goes up and goes down again. This is a little inconvenient in winter, but it works fine otherwise. Others, like many of the midnight warriors at Polak, perform under the pressure of the impending night. To each their own, of course. Finding your biological time is not that difficult — ensuring that you use that time to your advantage might be. Either way, here’s a rule of thumb: be well rested before you start working. There’s nothing worse than wasting your time falling half asleep and having to take double espressos to trick yourself into believing that you’re not that tired. Just… don’t do it, kids. We’ve all been there, and we kind of wish we haven’t.
Write down everything you have to do
Yes, that includes that paper that you haven’t written yet. Allow yourself the clarity of writing down all your tasks — even if they’re not academic. I’ve always found that working hard and not knowing just how much you got done is pretty annoying and it can even be demotivating. When studying for large exams, writing out all your chapters and sections that you need to know might make it less overwhelming. You don’t have to tackle everything at once, but crossing off every task makes you feel more accomplished.
Smaller things you can do
- Prioritise your tasks. Some things have more urgency than others, even though everything is due and whatnot. Still, focusing on one thing at a time is better for your brain and better for your grade.
- Take breaks! They’re important, even if you feel like you can’t take any.
- Be realistic about how much you can get done, and realise that there’s also tiny time slots you could not waste.
- Using a self-timer can work. That way you can schedule yourself to work for 20 to 30 minutes, before giving you a five minute break.