With deadlines fast approaching, it’s easy to lose track of the task at hand and become overwhelmed. Particularly in the current circumstances, academic work can be tough as we are forced to search for online resources and separate our home lives from work, despite being in the same space. Of course, academic work is extremely important, but letting it saturate your thoughts can be disheartening. So, I’ve put together some tips and tricks for tackling academic work as well as for sustaining your mental health during stressful times.
Give yourself more time than you need.
We all know that things often take longer than we expect, particularly academic work. Readings take longer to go through, or a paragraph is slower to write than you were hoping. Allowing buffer time within your schedule and expectations can be really helpful for relieving stress around deadlines. Similarly, sometimes unexpected issues come up, like illness or even anxiety. By giving yourself more time than you need, taking a day off to recuperate or even just extra breaks throughout the day won’t delay your targets, and will alleviate some of the pressure.
Have a clear target for period of work.
Creating set outcomes for yourself that you would like to achieve within a study session can help to motivate you, as well as keeping track of your progress on the project. Despite this, it’s important to remember that not reaching your set target is not a failure and in fact taking note of your development can help you plan for the rest of the task and future projects!
Break the project into smaller sections.
No matter what the task, approaching thousands of words to write, or weeks of classes to revise can be daunting. By breaking the overall project into doable sections is a lot more mentally accessible. Whether this is separating topics to revise individually, or isolating paragraphs to write, this can really help! By completing each component on its own, you’ll have completed the whole task in no time, without it feeling too overwhelming!
Take some time to yourself.
This is something that everyone seems to know is helpful and says they will do, yet when it comes to down to it and the deadline is looming over you it can be easy to forget. Giving yourself time to forget about work and relax can help your general mental health and relieve stress. In fact, giving yourself breaks from work can aid productivity as your mind has had time to recover, making it feel sharper when you return to studying.
Keeping Note of Citations and References
For many of us, the sense of relief after finishing an essay is swiftly halted by the thought of a bibliography or citations that need to be finished. Despite often only being a short list of sources, finding the details and correctly formatting these can take hours! By noting key characteristics such as authors, dates, and publishers as you write your essay will save yourself time and stress at the end! Keeping a separate word document or note on the side is the perfect way to keep track and have them readily accessible when needed!
Make use of To-Do Lists
Although this may be clichéd, to-do lists really are the perfect way to keep track of progress through deadlines, whilst also recognising what you have already achieved. Mentally, the effect of being able to tick of a completed section and look back on how far you have already come is invaluable.
So, through your deadlines, stay organised, know what you have to do and what targets you would like to achieve, but don’t forget to look after yourself. Acknowledge that this may be a stressful time and allow yourself to feel that pressure. You’re not alone! Take the time you need to refresh yourself and take breaks, and be proud of the work you have already achieved!