This is the week that will drive you crazy, the week before finals *insert horror movie soundtrack* But there are things you can do in order to get your assignments done and not die in the process.
1. Put a hold on the fun (for now)
Thinking about giving that new show on Netflix a try? Not just yet. Prioritizing activities will make a big difference. The show can wait, there are only two weeks left of class. Think about how good that marathon will be once you are done. Force yourself to dedicate to that essay or paper that is hanging over your head. The thought of relaxing only after I am done usually helps me a lot and it keeps me going until I finish. Only after I am done, I give myself a reward.
2. Keep track of everything you need to finish
I know this is the most basic thing, but it is very effective and that is why many people do it: make a to-do list. I have a whiteboard in my room in which I am constantly writing what I need to do so that I am able to see it at all times while I am in my room. I find enormous satisfaction in crossing out things from my to-do list and watching it get smaller. Keeping track of all that you need to do and having it in a place where you can see it can help you obtain determination and finish all the items on that list sooner rather than later.
3.Turn off your phone
Really. Our phones are our greatest distractions as students and there is an anxiety factor, especially during this week, that almost forces us to keep grabbing it every five minutes to check Instagram Stories, read texts, or just aimlessly scroll down. Just turn it off. Not having anything to reach out to while working on your assignments will force you to commit to the task at hand and finish it in less time than you would if you kept distracting yourself every so often. Also, every time you distract yourself and look at your phone screen, your brain actually loses concentration and getting it back on track might take a lot of time, the time you know you shouldn’t be wasting.
4. Don’t be afraid of quirky studying methods
This I learned from my College Success teacher and advisor, Dr. Jennifer Bulcock. She told us the story about how one of her friends use to put his desk in the closet to achieve maximum concentration and the perfect ambiance for studying and writing. I totally related to this because I get very easily distracted, so when I have very important assignments to do, I basically become a hermit and I have several rituals that help me to be more effective. For example, I have to have my room organized or else I feel my head is not in order, so before starting to work I clean up my room and leave it nice and tidy. If I start doing my assignments and my room is not tidy, I usually take longer and just feel lazier. Having order around me helps me concentrate and feel better about myself. Also, I let my family know that I will be disappearing into my room because having formal lunches and dinners while I’m working on important assignments just takes away time and makes me lose concentration. It is safe to say I also go on some kind of diet because I eat things that I can take to my room and eat without having to put effort into it. So do whatever works!
Sacrifice other things in order to get things done but don’t sacrifice sleep. Your brain and body need those zzz’s in order to restore themselves and keep you functional. Three hours of sleep won’t do, you will wake up feeling tired and your brain feeling exhausted, making it almost impossible to address what you need to. So plan your day to manage time effectively and schedule your sleep, your body will be grateful and you will feel much better and ready to attack that to-do list!
6. Interval studying with energizing or relaxing activities
Exercise and Yoga can help you energize yourself and provide you with stimulation to help your body feel healthier and more active. The Dixon center offers yoga, Pilates, Zumba and spinning classes that you should really take advantage of. Taking an hour or two to exercise will make a difference and will leave you feeling ready to tackle your projects.
Breathe, concentrate and go for it, you’ve got this!