Dealing With the Crunch Before Finals – 5 Things

I try not to blog about my student life too much, but since it’s nearing the end of my last semester, I thought I’d blog about something I’ve been thinking about lately: dealing with final projects.

1) Make lists, lots of lists.

I’ve found that one of the best ways to manage busy weeks is to plan them out using lists in my agenda. As I complete each item and each day, I cross everything off that I did.

For example, here’s this past week from Monday:

list_before

And here it is today, on Thursday:

list_after

First and foremost, lists get things off my mind. If it’s on paper–and not in my head–there’s less for me to think about. They also give me a delicious sense of accomplishment when I look back on them later and see that everything is crossed out (the more violent the crossing out, the better).

2) When you make the lists, over-plan.

When I create the lists, I make sure to schedule everything as if it’ll take me more time than it really will to complete. Not only does this give me the illusion I have tons of time to finish, but it also gives me elbow room if I fall behind. I think of it like a self-created buffer. Because of this, it takes stress off of me as I work, and gives me relief if I don’t work fast enough.

3) Use good music like a pre-epic movie battle speech. 

When I’m in a crunch and really stressed out, it helps to have good music to turn to to keep my head up. Usually this helps take my mind off the stress, as well as get me motivated and positive.

Here’s some examples:

“Hold Your Head Up” by Argent

“Under Pressure” by Queen

“Fooling Yourself” by Styx

4) Take time to relax.

Along with having good music to get me motivated, it’s also helpful to have something relaxing for slowing down. When the workload gets really heavy, it’s easy to feel hurried or caught up in a rush. Taking a moment to close my eyes and listen to some kind of white noise or nature soundtrack helps keep me centered when projects pile up.

Two of my favorites:

5) Know when to stop.

I used to work on projects without stopping until I finished. I never pulled any all-nighters, but I was in the habit of staying up until four or five in the morning–and getting little sleep–to complete assignments.

This was a problem.

It took me a while, but I eventually realized it’s better to stop working on a project, get sleep, and start again early in the morning, than trying to plow all the way through it in one night. Now, I try to get at least five to six hours of sleep, even if I have a lot on my plate. This (plus a cup of coffee) helps me feel refreshed enough in the morning to finish whatever I started the night before.

Further, if I do get in a situation where I have to stay up absurdly late, it’s easier to do after several nights of decent sleep, than several nights of little sleep.

What about you?

I know I’m just one person, and everyone has different habits. So, I’m curious, what do others do in the crunch before finals? Let me know in the comments down below!

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About jekcarter

Farmer/Writer/Editor/Advocate for the Imaginary
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