3 Ways to stay productive
Your email inbox is filling up, you’ve got three assignments due next week, and an exam in the midst of them. It’s all part of University, except that today you’re on a tight deadline, and you need to stay productive.
Being productive on a deadline is one of the more challenging high wire acts of University life. Not only do you need to put distractions aside, you also must manage the pressure that comes with being under the pump.
Whether it’s a strict assignment deadline or a presentation that cannot be moved, meeting deadlines can make or break your semester. Here are some tips for how to stay productive and confident as you approach the finish line.
Plan out your time
Time flies. We all know this. How many times do we say to ourselves things like: “It’s Christmas already? I haven’t even started to shop for presents!” In University, this phenomenon can have devastating effects on our life and livelihood. One way you can make big deadlines less threatening is simply by starting early. Reading 300 pages is a massive task if you need to do it before tomorrow morning. But if you start one month in advance, it’s only ten pages a day. If you want to ‘beat time,’ the best way to start is by planning in advance.
Break the project down into smaller tasks
In a similar vein, projects can seem more manageable when broken into parts. When the deadline for a big project looms large, it can feel like you’re being crushed under the weight of all those unfinished tasks. Challenge yourself to identify your goal and what will go into it, all the way down to tasks that may only take five or ten minutes each.
Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise
It’s easy enough to say that you should set aside non-essential tasks on the day that a big project is due. But even within the project, be reasonable with yourself about how much you can accomplish before the deadline. Deadlines often get missed because people spend too much time on convoluted elective parts of the project while leaving the key deliverables undone. Ask yourself what your teacher really wants and focus on providing that first and foremost.
It is never fun staring down the barrel of an important deadline, but with poise, planning, and prioritisation, you may find yourself doing better than you expected. Next time you’re assigned project, try to get an early jump, but even if you’re rushing at the end, these tips can help you achieve your primary goals.
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