As I’m sure you’re well aware by now, we have reached week 10 already. How on earth did that happen?? If you’re anything like me that sentence just sent your brain into the upside down, inside out, Alice in Wonderland world of chaos and confusion.
Okay, so lets procrastinate for a moment or two and really give this some thought…. It’s week 10, you’re still working on that task from week 2 and your assessment to-do list that you wrote with all good intentions in week 1 has long been re-purposed into a coffee coaster, that is no longer legible for the coffee stains. It’s at this point you start thinking, what am I doing, I’m so far behind, I’ll never be able to catch up and get it all finished in time, I may as well QUIT!!
After you’re mini quitting meltdown, you think to yourself, “It’s going to be okay, I’ve got this! I’m going to write a new to-do list and I will get started on the first task straight away!” Full of optimism, you write that list, then look at it and think, “No problem, I can have that ticked off by week 12, maybe even a little earlier!!”
Now that you have your beautifully colour coded to-do list in your hand, it would be safe to assume that you sit down and get cracking on that first task, right? Wrong! Instead you photograph that list and post it on all your social media pages, boasting to all your followers about how organised you are. You then take a break because you’ve worked so hard today making said list, plus you need to keep refreshing your feeds to make sure your fans are liking and commenting on your outstanding display of time management. We all know that this cycle continues with you cooking toast for dinner at 9:30pm because you flicked over to watch some funny cat videos online whilst waiting for people to comment on your post. It’s at this point you realise you didn’t tick a single item off your to-do list and you now have one less day to get everything completed. But this doesn’t phase you too much as you trundle off to bed at midnight (you had to just check in on your social media accounts one last time for the day) you think to yourself, “I WILL get started on it first thing tomorrow”.
As you drag yourself out of bed at 10am (“Oh no! I overslept, how on earth did that happen??”), you have a serious case of the dreaded ‘can’t be bothereds’, which let’s face it was pretty much inevitable after a dinner that lacked some serious nutrition, followed by a really late night, smashing down red bull, eyes hanging out of your head scrolling through mind numbing news feeds.
It’s right about now that I’m going to hit you with some tough love, prepare yourself, it’s time to get real! If you stay on this current trajectory, it will be week 11 before you can blink, you won’t have achieved anything you set out to do and the stress levels will be completely unmanageable. But if you want to see the light at the end of the tunnel and calmly walk (well maybe run) into it, you have got to do things differently.
I have two techniques that I have picked up over the years that may be of value to you. I did not design these and I stumbled across them far later in my degree than I would have liked but never the less they made my last year of university my least stressful.
Tip # 1: Just do something, anything!!
The idea here is that you have that beautifully colourful to-do list already complete, first job done, tick! Now let’s get cracking. Pick one thing on that to-do list that you can do really quickly. I mean the quickest easiest task on there, do it now and cross it off. We all know how satisfying it is to cross something off a list, so much so that I have even been known to write things on my to-do list that I already accomplished before writing said to-do list just so I could cross them off straight away, everybody does that right; right? Each day for the next three and a bit weeks make it your motto to ‘just do something, anything’ on the list, because something is better than nothing, and the more somethings you do the more motivation you gain to do the rest of your somethings.
Tip # 2: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Blast Off!
The first tip is great but there’s a a grey area to it’s success and that is the over-thinker. You and I are the people who pick a something on a our to-do list and then decide to make a cuppa and give it some thought before starting. We are also the people who put off making that call to the doctor/hairdresser/tax accountant to book an appointment, we sit and we think and we think and then we think so much that we eventually talk ourselves out of doing it, because we probably don’t have the time to do it now, and we put it back on the list to deal with tomorrow, which soon becomes next month. The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off theory is that once the rocket is launched there’s no way to stop it from taking off. So, pick your something to do and then in your head do the count down and when you hear the words blast off, just do it there and then. Job’s done, cross it off in big black marker, so very, very satisfying!!
Although there’s always a bit (sometimes a lot) of pressure, stress and tension at this time of the semester, everyone around you is usually feeling the same way, you are definitely not alone. All you can do is take a deep breath, eat well, get plenty of sleep and give these tips a go, you just might find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
ASK Desk, SMB.