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6 Top Tips to Beat Deadline Stress and Stay Focused

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

Everyone gets stressed, and a little bit of stress can be a good way to get yourself motivated, but too much can be really damaging for both your physical and mental health. Avoid the last-minute freak-outs by following these top tips:

  1. Break it down.

The sudden pile-on of work can be overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep calm when it all seems out of control. Avoid this by looking at exactly what you need to do and planning carefully how you can approach it. It’s a lot less scarier if you write out how much reading you need to do each day to get that essay in on time, rather than simply having the idea of the whole essay hanging over you.

  1. Make a tick list.

Once you’ve broken down your work, a tick list can be really handy. Setting yourself little goals can help you to feel as though you are being really productive and being able to physically tick these off a list can be really satisfying! It’s also really good as it prevents you from forgetting work you have to do and helps you to keep on top of it.

  1. Work with friends.

Working alone can be really miserable, and can lead to you getting distracted. This not only builds stress because you are ineffective, and thus have to stress out when you do get round to doing your work, but also because you feel as though you have been doing work all day, despite how little you have got done. Working with other people can help solve this, creating a chilled vibe that keeps you calm and focused on your work. Make sure you pick friends who will help motivate you (rather than those who you just love to natter with) and you’re away!

  1. Keep specific times and places for work.

As tempting as it is to curl up in your bed to work, this can be very counter-productive and result in more stress. Find a place you are productive in your work and stick to it – not only does this mean that you’ll get your work done quicker, but eventually you might end up associating that place with work, which will help you to automatically focus. Similarly, if you give yourself a limited amount of time to work you place a little bit of pressure on yourself, which can help you to get things done. It also means that when you’re done working you can properly get away from it, and keep certain places sacred.

  1. Listen to music.

Music can be really helpful in keeping you focused, particularly if it’s instrumental (as it’s less likely to distract you). Find some classical artists you like and save them for when you’re working, as this can create an association between the music and work that will help you to concentrate. For some inspiration try Brian Crain or Balmorhea.

  1. Reward yourself!

Taking time out from work is so important to keep yourself happy and healthy! It can be really easy to panic just before an essay is due and lock yourself away to work on it, but you’ll end up overly stressed and not actually doing much work! Taking lots of short breaks, and rewarding yourself with little things can help you to refresh yourself, so you’ll be more productive when you go back. (Top tip is to stop working when you’re doing well rather than completely shattered – it makes it easier to go back!)

Third year History student Co-President of HerCampus Exeter