We’re already about a month into the fall semester and I don’t know about you guys, but that burnt-out feeling is starting to creep up behind me. In order to set up for a great rest of the semester and to prepare for midterms which are slowly but surely approaching (!!), I thought I’d share how I tried to stay sane and keep it together during this crazy busy time.
1. Write everything down
I’m someone who will absolutely forget something if I don’t have it written down a million times. For me, that means recording things digitally as well as handwritten. I use the Stickies function on my MacBook to keep track of all my assignments, simply deleting a Stickie each time I finish an assignment. I also use this notepad to keep track of my immediate tasks as well as long-term projects. Having lists in both places means that I won’t forget anything, no matter if I’m at or away from my desk.
2. Don’t feel guilty about taking days off
Look, we all get it. School is stressful. Life is stressful. Sometimes, we just need those days where we don’t have to worry about staying up until three A.M. studying for that test we forgot about. If you manage your time properly, you can afford to take some time for yourself. The key to this is making sure that you plan the day before and the day after you take your rest day. You don’t want to be enjoying your day off when you realize you have a four-paged paper due the next day that you completely forgot about. Pick a day where the majority of your assignments are done, and the rest can wait for later. Trust me on this: your brain needs a break, and it will thank you.
3. Space out your easy tasks
This is for those days when it feels like you have a million assignments to do and you’re done with all your classes, so you have to do your homework now. Depending on the type of person you are, a math worksheet may seem less daunting than the history outline you need to write. Or, that history outline may seem easier than the psychology textbook questions you need to answer. Basically, the key to this is to write out all the tasks you need to complete. Once you do that, rank the tasks on a scale of 1-5 based on how quickly you could complete them. Make sure to sandwich your complex tasks between easier ones. I’ve found that ending on an easy task makes me feel better about not doing more work for the rest of the day.
4. Romanticize. Everything.
I feel like I don’t even need to explain this one. Put on that cute yet comfortable outfit you found from Pinterest! Treat yourself to that iced coffee! Put on that dark academia playlist you found from Spotify! If you make doing work feel special, you will feel inclined to do it more often.
Although the semester might seem scary, you’re already almost halfway there! There are also millions of other ways to stay motivated, and it’s totally okay if these ways don’t work for you. As long as you keep your eye on the prize (the prize being Christmas break) and just keep pushing, you’ll be done in no time. Good luck with the rest of the fall semester!