It's that time again - we are coming to the close of another semester and that means that stress levels are high, and we feel the urge to check out early and procrastinate now more than ever. I myself am the worst procrastinator, but because of my lifelong struggle with putting off my work, I have learned many valuable lessons that have helped me curve some of my bad habits. Here are my top 5 tips to help you with procrastination, and to help keep you focused, organized, and motivated! Good luck to everyone on your assignments to follow!
1.) Stay Organized
It is never too late or too early to get your coursework organized. I am personally the person that comes to class on the first day completely organized and ready to take extensive notes and jot down everything important, and I too, am the person who comes to school later in the semester with a messy backpack and wrinkled papers. So as we near the close of the semester and we are getting bombarded with essays, assignments, labs, and the like, it is crucial to keep track of all of your papers and due dates to make sure you don't lose anything or miss an important date! I suggest downloading or creating a calendar (there are plenty of templates out there) and slipping it on the inside of your binder. I've noticed that I can get overwhelmed with an agenda and almost always never use it - this way, your crucial dates are somewhere you will always see them, and you can keep track of them much easier. To make it even harder to ignore, use bright colors!
Try to clean out your binders and folders as often as possible and keep one folder full of your graded paperwork. Some professors lose grades and you don't want to have ended up with a lost paper that you spent hours on because you tossed it in the trash. Keep these somewhere handy so you have the proof readily available if you need it.
Make sure to have a folder stacked with extra paper, scantrons, and other test materials in case you get too busy to head to the store and grab one before an exam! You will thank yourself later for having been well prepared.
Color code your notes and lectures so you can look back on them when studying. This will help you create a full study guide before exams!
2.) Stay Hydrated & Fed
I know how hard it is to stay healthy during finals, but your health affects your concentration, and that can make or break you on an exam. If you don't take care of yourself, you are also more likely to get sick, and you don't want to be stuck in bed the night before a paper is due! Make sure to always have a water bottle on you to keep you hydrated, and pack snacks either the day before class or pack small snack baggies on Sunday for the entire week. There are plenty of healthy options like granola bars, almond butter and crackers, fruits, and more depending on your preferences!
I hate eating breakfast (which is a terrible habit) but no one likes to be hungry when you are trying to pass your finals, so try and catch a quick light breakfast before you leave the house.
I am prone to headaches, which can be killer while studying, so make sure to not just stay hydrated when you are out and about, but when you are in bed studying too! Calming drinks like peppermint or chamomile teas can also help you de-stress and take care of yourself if you are having a hard time.
3.) Get Plenty of Rest
Sleep. Is. Crucial. I know how hard it can be to get enough rest if you have three essays to write, a lab, and a final to study for, but being exhausted won't do you any good either. There are multiple apps (for Android users) and a built-in bedtime alert (for iPhone users) to help you keep track of when you should go to bed and when you should wake up in order to get the right amount of rest for your body. This can be helpful in encouraging you to start your before bed routine earlier, so you are more prone to be ready to hit the hay when your alert tells you to.
Try and break up working on your assignments throughout the day instead of all at once when you get home. If you work or have classes all day, work on your assignments during your breaks, or study/read the materials during this time - always keep a notebook and pen on you so you can jot down any ideas you get while you are busy with other things. That way when you get home you have fewer things to do and you aren't left with all the work at 2 AM.
4.) Create a Schedule
If you are the type to lay about all day and then start your work at 6 PM (like me) try and create a checklist/schedule for yourself. Go through all that you need to do and decide how much time you will need for each item. This will keep you on track and encourage you to not get behind or daydream while working, causing you to stay more focused and get done faster. Once you have checked off a few items, you can take a break and lay down, eat, watch tv, or check social media before getting back to it. You will feel a lot more efficient and you will do better work when you don't feel so rushed.
5.) Ask for Help
It is okay to ask for help if you are too swamped! Most colleges offer free online and on-campus tutoring services that will help you revise your essays to make sure that your writing is clear and well organized in case you don't have the time to look it over -*hint* you can have your tutor window open while you work on another assignment.
Find a study buddy in one of your classes and see if they would like to help you out with anything you aren't understanding. More than likely, you have a solid grasp on something they need help on, and it will work out to be a great trade! It also gives you the excuse to head out for a bite to eat with your study buddy or go to your fave coffee shop to study.
Most professors are very understanding when it comes to finals - they have a ton of work to grade and so they know you have a lot on your plate too. If you are unsure about anything, take some time to ask them. Even asking what to focus on studying for exams (if they didn't mention it in lecture) or to go over a essay before you hand it in (give them enough time for this; not all teachers do it, but if you give them plenty of time to read your work, most won't mind helping you with revisions to make sure you have a good handle on the prompt) Bonus: make sure your professors know you are grateful for their help. Don't go to them the day before the final asking for extra credit or what to study for, and don't demand anything from them. Some are just too busy and you being rude or unhelpful to yourself won't want to make them help you now when they have most likely been trying to help you throughout the entire semester. Make sure they know that you would appreciate, but don't expect their help, and they will most likely offer you some kind of assistance. They have been where you are!
And there you have it. Let me know if any of these tips helped you, and if you have any healthy snack recipes, study tips, or the like to add on to it!