As the students are embarking on the last few weeks of the semester and exams/hand-ins/final presentations are just around the corner, it is no wonder that most people are highly stressed out and loosing sleep to complete the work on time. It might seem to be natural but sometimes the stress and extreme pressure that students put themselves through can have long-term consequences and lead to mental and physical health issues. And no one really enjoys the overwhelming feeling of running out of time and exhaustion.
I believe there are ways to make your life as a student so much easier and work better just by setting the right pace. To help explain the ideas on it, imagine your whole university career as a marathon, which requires a lot of endurance and patience, and parts of a single project as sprints – much more intense yet shorter.
You probably knew what you want to achieve during your time in university way before you actually enrolled. Most of us generally want to get the skills and knowledge that would lead to a job we would love and the paycheck that would ensure a comfortable life. Whatever your personal goal might be, it is your reward for finishing this three or four year university marathon well and you should remind yourself of it whenever you are feeling under the weather. It is going to be worth it.
As a real marathon, university is all about endurance. It might seem like all-nighters, overload on caffeine and sugar is the only way to get through it but it’s simply not true. University is the perfect place to set your professional life habits that would lead to an effective work without burn outs. Good balance between work and rest is what you should strive for – try to use the work time as effectively as possible, starting your assignments early, working at them everyday and including breaks and downtime to help fully recover for the next session.
All of that being said, the deadlines can be highly stressful even with the best planning possible and the time right before the hand-in is always busiest. The key at dealing with these intensive work sprints is to assure your high effectiveness when it is needed the most. To help with that, you should aim to have all the preparatory work done before diving into sprint, get good night sleep, eat well and remove as many distractions as possible. Good work environment is extremely useful when it comes to dealing with more work than you would do on a casual day – use it to your advantage.
Also, remember that you have a limited time for any of your university tasks and perfection is simply impossible. So be realistic about what you can achieve in time given and try to pace yourself to use that time as effectively as possible and cross out the tasks as you go. A physical list of thing that need to be done in short time can be highly useful because we tend to forget things and it is handy to be able to physically see how much work is completed and how much still needs to be done.
When you complete your work and deadlines are done, you can fully enjoy the feeling of bliss and achievement. You should get plenty of rest and take some time off to fully recharge after the sprint as well as catch up on your personal life and hobbies. It is important to distance yourself from the work that you have been doing for a while and enjoy some completely different activities. It will not only help you feel refreshed and recharged but also will help to see your work from a different perspective once you get back to it.
If you have more than a few days before the start of the new project, it is a good idea to start thinking about it in advance. After you caught up on your sleep and feel refreshed, read through the next project brief and dedicate a little bit of time thinking about the possible approaches and ideas while still enjoying your downtime. It should not be a straining task by any means but when you actually start the project, the initial ideas and thoughts are sure to give you a motivating head start.