Updated: Jun 15, 2021
How many times have you started solving your assignments and realized that you only have a few hours left?
And then you start getting anxious, you try to finish, but you can only produce a mediocre version of what the assignments should really look like. After getting that non-so-satisfactory grade, you start hating yourself and your time management skills.
But, it’s a vicious cycle, since you do it again with the next assignment, and again and again… never realizing that you have an actual problem: procrastination.
The worst thing about this virus is that it spreads faster with every assignment it attacks.
Before you even notice, it will become a default mode of functioning. To avoid the stress and frustration that comes with an overwhelming amount of soon due assignments, I have selected some tips that could be useful for students looking to improve their time management skills.
1. The old-school schedule for solving your assignments.
Use a schedule to block off the time you will need to spend each day on a certain assignment.
Try to work a little bit on more than one assignment per day.
This will help you prioritize projects and provide a structure to help keep you on track to meet due dates. It would be a good idea, if you’re feeling a little bit extra, to also use a different color for each subject so you can follow the schedule quickly and easily.
Use the schedule to also mark the time you will allow yourself to do the things you actually want to do in your free time, so that you put some limits to the fun part, yet you do not ignore it completely.
2. Say “bye” to the world when you sit down.
I have noticed that usually I waste much more time with distractions when I sit down to do an assignment than the actual work I have to do. Same thing is probably happening to you as well, so the next time that you are going to study make sure to turn everything off.
Switch off your phone, log out of any social media in your laptop, and turn off the TV. Find a quiet and secluded place, where you feel unbothered and comfortable.
It would be a good idea to tell your friends and family that you will be busy, so they don’t bother you. It is much better to be alone mentally and physically when solving your assignments!
Sometimes, when you are studying, you can get invited to hang out with friends or go somewhere with your family, but regardless of what your answer is going to be, it is much easier to do work without any temptations.
So, the best thing for you to do is get secluded, and focus on what you have to do.
3. Start ASAP!!!
When you get notified by the teacher or professor about an assignment, immediately book time for it in your schedule, and start doing it as early as possible. This will earn you time to make a plan on how you are going to work on it.
Separate the amount of work you need to do for it in small chunks, and put a due date on each of them.
Trust me, you will feel like the assignments will be ten times easier than usually. You will put more effort, but in a distributed amount, so it won’t burden you so much.
4. Be smart and use the S.M.A.R.T technique.
Whenever you set your goals for solving your assignments, make sure to focus on the following criteria:
Specific – clearly defined desired outcome, what you want to achieve.
Measurable – there must be a way to measure progress.
Achievable – the goal can be met with available resources.
Relevant – it must fit a bigger picture and you must know why you want to achieve something.
Time-bound – a clear deadline for when the goal will be achieved.
If you need a more detailed description on how to set goals based on this technique, check this out https://www.toolshero.com/personal-development/smart-goals/
5. The Salami Slice Method.
Do not try to take on a job all at once!
The best way to start and also to solve your assignments is to take a small piece of it and complete just that piece first. The same way that you would never eat all the salami at once, but you would rather cut it in pieces and eat them when you are hungry.
This will help you to avoid getting overwhelmed and tired. You will have more mental energy to focus on a single part of the assignment. Eventually you will be able to finish it on time and it will feel like a piece of cake… or in this case a piece of salami!
6. Discipline yourself!
None of the methods will work if you do not manage to discipline yourself.
You have to tell yourself, sometimes even forcefully or angrily (whatever works on you), to start doing the assignment and to get it over with!
This will often give you the momentum you need to counter inertia and stop procrastinating. But, this needs to be a constant thing. You need to do this every day, without letting yourself cut slacks or have “a pass” at something.
7. The Swiss cheese Method (for Solving Your Assignments)
I hope you are not getting hungry because of all these food references as I am… What I am trying to say is that you should treat your task as a block of Swiss cheese which is made of holes.
Punch holes in your task and select a part of it, which doesn’t necessarily need to be more than five minutes.
Complete only that hole and do not worry about the whole of it. For example, if you have to write an article, break the task down into small pieces, and then take an identifiable amount of time to complete just that one piece.
And then another and just like this, one small piece at a time, whenever you get the chance. Many authors begin writing books by writing just one page per day. Just imagine, if you wrote just one page per day, you would have 365 pages of a book by the end of the year.
Actually, it will probably be more, because on some days inspiration will hit and you can write more than one page. But, all you need is, again, discipline.
8. Free yourself up from the inside.
Most of the time, we don’t even realize how much we hold inside of ourselves. Starting from worries, stress, emotions, unnecessary thoughts, distress, fears…
And more often than not, these intangible things will break the log jam in your work. What you need to do every time before you start a task, is to free yourself up mentally and emotionally. There are many ways to do that, you just have to find which one works best for you.
For example, you can meditate. Doing so doesn’t have to involve burning candles and sitting in the lotus position; it can simply be sitting comfortably, allowing thoughts to enter your mind and pass through without engaging in them. Doing this for as little as ten minutes can be enough to free your mind from persistent or annoying thoughts.
Exercising can also help. Exercising focuses the body on its physical requirements and takes your attention off your mind. Exercise also releases endorphins and lowers cortisol, often bringing about a more positive and happier mood. What you can also experiment on is solving your assignments immediately (or even during a workout) the focus would be intensive!
Practice EFT. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is something that can be learnt quickly (in a matter of minutes) and can help you to feel better immediately. EFT is often also called “tapping”. EFT involves verbalizing the problem or issue in hand whilst using an affirmation phrase and tapping energy points on the body.
Visualize yourself as the person you want to be. Think of someone you admire and imagine how they would handle the thoughts you are having. Then visualize yourself acting in the same way.
9. Organize your systems well!
Are you wasting a lot of time looking for files on your computer?
Organize your folders after solving your assignments!
Take the time to organize a file management system. Is your filing system slowing you down? Redo it, so it's organized to the point that you can quickly lay your hands on what you need.
If you type “document management system” into any search engine, you'll get long lists of document management “solutions,” many featuring software or apps that advertise the advantages of having a paperless office.
10. Use the 80-20 rule.
The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, states that for many phenomena 80% of the result comes from 20% of the effort.
The principle has been named after Vilfredo Pareto—an Italian economist—who, back in 1895, noticed that about 80% of Italy’s land belonged to 20% of the country’s population.
The Pareto principle also comes in handy in the context of time-management. Once you realize that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of the time and effort you spend on them, the importance of prioritizing becomes obvious.
If you have a 10-item to-do list with each task being equally time-consuming, you can boost your efficiency by identifying and completing two top-priority tasks. As a result, even if you don’t manage to solve you assignments fully, the 20% you completed could amount to up to 80% of the impact.
11. Find the time when you feel the most productive for solving your assignents.
Prioritize solving your assignments in descending order (from hardest to easiest) first thing in the morning. For most people, the first few hours of work are the most productive.
Oddly enough, you can focus more easily when your brain isn't fully awake. Booting-up brains have less excess energy for daydreaming and worrying about other tasks. Use this to your advantage and take on your most mentally demanding tasks first thing after waking up.
But, if you hate morning as much as I do, you can simply find what time is the best for you to be productive. To find your golden hours or biological prime time, break your workday into 3-5 time slots.
Keep track of your productivity for the week using a notebook or free time tracking tool. At the end of the week, rank these time spots from most to least productive. After you've found your golden hours you'll be able to plan out your weeks accordingly. Schedule difficult or highly involved tasks for peak productivity times. This will help you optimize your work.
12. Add a done-list after the to-do-list.
You don’t only need to know what you have to do in the future – you also need to know what you have already finished. This will help you organize your thoughts, but also there is an inexplicable satisfaction behind crossing something off your list.
It makes you feel accomplished and this in turn boosts your motivation to get more items in that done-list. At some point, it feels like a game that you have to win by putting as many things in it as possible.
13. Reward yourself – you deserve it.
This is a crucial and non-negotiable part of your routine. Whenever you successfully accomplish every task you have put as a goal to yourself you have to be rewarded.
It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy. Here are some ideas:
Watch that movie you have been postponing for so long.
Go on a dollar store shopping spree.
Invest in bath salts, bubble bath, a candle and a mud mask. Turn on some relaxing melodies and soak up.
Buy all the ingredients, crank up the tunes, and whip up your favorite dessert. This is a double treat—it’s fun to make, and you get to eat it after!
I hope that reading these tips has at least inspired you to try some of them. I know the hardest point is the start, but I can promise you something great will come out of it! Your life will change if you are finally cured from procrastination.
But, hey! In any case, you can still ask KATREXA for help – a very quick and effortless way to get your assignments done with the highest quality.