The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

How to avoid deadline stress

Vera Simmons-Law discusses the realistic ways you can avoid the tension of deadlines

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As the time of deadlines emerges, I think about how I can prevent the usual agony I put myself through every year. The ever familiar phrase “I’m going to start my work early this time” rings in my head as I look down at the list of things I have to do.

I’m sure everyone can agree that this is said and not done. It is often the case that we forget to start early because this task gets pushed to the back of our heads as it is not as urgent as other things.

But do not fret! With these tips, you’ll find yourself managing your time more efficiently so you don’t end up with sleepless nights.

Create your own checklist. By creating smaller tasks that don’t seem as intimidating, you can build up the amount of work you do. This will avoid you being overwhelmed by too much work at once and means your work won’t mount up. Set reminders on your phone! By creating your own mini-deadlines on something that you use every day, you will be constantly reminded of the little tasks that you need to do to meet your bigger deadline. Start a week before you think you normally would. Giving yourself as much time as you possibly can is probably the best thing you could do. I know, this usually never happens, but if you stick a reminder to do this every day for that week on your phone, it’ll be almost like one of your teachers/parents are nagging you and you’ll (hopefully) eventually do it. Put up visual reminders around your room! Having physical reminders surrounding you can really help spur you on to work. Stick up some post-it notes on your walls or pin board! Even buying some neon coloured ones will help make you notice it more. Attach a small reward to each task. If the motivation of finishing your work is not enough, adding on rewards that you’ll actually enjoy will really urge you to work. For example, tell your friends that they can’t let you go out with them unless you finish a chapter of reading or reward yourself with a chocolate bar after an hour of working. Having something to look forward to will mean you have something to work towards. Work at intervals. For me, trying to concentrate on one thing can prove difficult after about half an hour. Set timers on your phone for realistic times. Work for twenty minutes then take a break for five – don’t go on your phone! Don’t stress! I am definitely guilty of stressing out even when I tell other people not to. This is so easy to say and not do. The trick is to take a step back when you are. Leave whatever is stressing you out and go do something else for half an hour. Exercise is particularly helpful in these cases – go for a walk!

Keeping in mind these few things can really take you a long way and save you a lot of grief. If you don’t trust yourself to remember, then ask one of your friends or maybe even a family member to remind you every once in a while.