How to Deal With Deadlines

What do big exams, small quizzes, research papers, math problem sets, and all homework assignments have in common? Deadlines. You have until a specific due date to complete the work or studying necessary for all of those things. It’s perfectly understandable how quickly that can stress a student out and cause major procrastination, forgetfulness, or weakened effort. When all of this work must be done in a shared time period, deadlines can easily get the best of you in a negative way. Organized scheduling and time management are absolutely necessary for meeting these deadlines successfully, and there are several tricks that can ease your many paths to various due dates.

First and foremost, identify the best way to mark down these deadlines – this means, the way that is best for you personally. For instance, many students use written-in planners, others use larger calendars. Some use sticky notes on their desk, some use reminder applications on their computers or smart phones. There are no right or wrong answers here, all that matters is that you choose one that works best with the way you personally think and work. Don’t choose based on somebody else’s approach.

Once you have picked a method of recording your deadlines, you must go a step further in that particular area and decide if the deadlines by themselves are enough to keep you truly time-focused. Sometimes, making the actual deadline as your only reminder can lead to a trap of forgetfulness. Unless you are someone who makes a habit of frequently checking weeks ahead into their planner or reminder list, you’re not going to know when this test or assignment’s due date is until the week of since you never bothered to check early on. That certainly defeats the whole purpose of recording deadlines if you’re not going to be aware of them until the last minute.

Therefore, a helpful tip is to make your own pre-deadlines and extra reminders. If a big project is due on the 30th of the month, identify every task you need to complete in order to get it done and allot the appropriate amount of time necessary for each one. Then, proceed to set personal deadlines throughout the month to finish every task. Depending on how much time you found is necessary to complete each one, you may have deadlines spread through the entire month, or possibly just a couple of weeks before the project’s due date. Either way, you have assured that you will be staying on task with plenty of time ahead before your project must be turned in.  More importantly, you are constantly reminded of the project and will not be blind-sighted when the week of the 30th arrives.

All of these points cover organized scheduling, now it is time to move on to time management. Your planned schedule will be meaningless if you do not recognize the amount of time you both need and have. We’ve already established allotting time for tasks in order to be able to set appropriate deadlines for them, but now it’s a matter of managing your time within those allotted time frames.

Let’s say you have scheduled three days for yourself to get a certain assignment done. Look at the particular days of the week: Do they include the weekend? Are they at the end of the week when you’re usually less motivated? Or are they in the middle of the week when you are most busy? Take into account any other plans or commitments you may have scheduled for those days as well. And of course, check if you have any other tests or assignments listed for those days. Other classes, social plans, and after-school clubs and organizations can catch up you very quickly and make things difficult. But in the end, having more to do is good because it forces you to manage your time better by prioritizing more.

If you identify all of those factors that can affect the possible productivity of a day, you will be far more prepared to take these tasks on. Ultimately, with a successful reminder system, a recognition of any obstacles and challenges, and most of all, an honest understanding of the way you work as an individual, you will find yourself approaching these deadlines with confidence and extremely well-completed work.