As school work picks up and midterms being around the corner, everyone is starting to feel like they’re falling behind. Taking classes in a pandemic with no Spring Break to look forward to is an unprecedented challenge to us college kids. Luckily, I’ve collected some of my favorite tips to stay on top of your school work this semester.
First, buy a planner, or a designated way of organizing your schedule, such as a white board or piece of paper. Then, pick a day (either at the beginning or end of the week) and write out all of the assignments that are due that week. I prefer to do this task on Sunday, but I know people who plan out the next week on Friday, or even Monday. You can also decorate your planner with stickers, tape, colorful pens, or doodles to make it more fun!
Next, try to distribute the work that you have to do as evenly as possible across the week, getting the things that are due first done first. Pro tip: try to finish your work a day early, if possible, that way if you decide that you’re brain dead on Tuesday, you don’t have to worry about a paper that’s due Tuesday night. You should also try to get your hardest assignments done first. By doing this, you can use easier assignments as a “wind down” period for your brain, and it feels like you have way less on your plate.
Make sure that you take breaks in between your study sessions to snack and stretch. Set a timer for every hour or so and do a few squats. Touch your toes to make sure that you keep your blood flowing, and don’t fall asleep on your desk while studying your 50th textbook page! Remember that self care and mental health comes first! However, I don’t recommend “taking a break” by scrolling through Tik Tok for hours or taking a 5 hour nap. Trust me, we’ve all been there, and taking a twenty minute break (if you absolutely have to) will leave you feeling just as refreshed.
Also, you should plan to work during your “peak” hours. That means that if you’re an early riser, work on your assignment early in the morning, and vice versa. Estimate your maximum productivity time and use that to plan out what you can get done in that time period. Another way to accomplish this is by guessing how long it will take you to complete each of your assignments, so that you don’t overwork yourself.
Above all else, do not procrastinate! I know that it’s tempting to push off assignments, but an assignment you complete at 11:59 pm isn’t a true representation of your work. It’s not going to be acceptable in a corporate workplace, and if it was a good idea, you probably wouldn’t have read this far. When in doubt, complete an assignment the day before and check it over the day of.
The most important step is that after the end of a long day’s work, you should congratulate yourself, even if it wasn’t a particularly productive day. It’s hard to be a student during these times, and there’s a lot more responsibility and pressure to be as good as you were pre-pandemic. However, I think that if you feel proud of yourself for doing even the smallest of things, it will have a big impact on what you actually can get done tomorrow. Never discourage yourself because you didn’t get everything that you wanted to get done (it’s worse than procrastinating!) finished on time because that’s what planning is for. Remember: it’s better to live a happy life than a productive one.