We’ve all been there – you’re just getting on with your everyday tasks and then suddenly it dawns on you. The deadline for that really important piece of work is only two days away and you completely forgot to start it. I’ve certainly been gripped with that fear a number of times, but I’ve come up with a plan of action so that next time I inevitably have to cram for a deadline I can get it all done!
First things, first – stop whatever it is you’re currently doing, because the chances are it is less important and can wait till after the deadline. Find whatever materials you need to complete your task and gather them together – this might be pens, paper, the laptop or art supplies. Once you’ve collected everything you need, it’s time for step two.
Write down exactly what you need to do. Step by step. It’s really important you do this so that you don’t miss anything out in the rush to get everything done.There’s no need to make it a fancy list so skip any doodles or cute washi tape you would usually add – this is just about having a basic outline of what needs to be done. If you have already started the project make sure you flip through and cross off any completed sections so that you’re not stressing about work you’ve already done.
Step three. Clear your schedule. How much of your schedule you need to clear depends on how long you have till the deadline but if it’s less than a week, and you’ve got a lot to do, I would suggest clearing as much time as possible – it’s better to have too much than not enough. You might have to sit down and work out what you can logically cancel, as some things will be easier to get out of than others – like the meeting with your boss. Don’t attempt to cancel that, but that day you were going to grab a coffee with your best friend – apologise and re-schedule for another week. Re-arranging or cancelling social activities is the easiest way to free up time, it’s not ideal to miss them but as long as you aren’t leaving deadlines till the last minute regularly you should be fine to miss them for one week.
Let people know you are busy. I don’t mean you have to ring your Auntie or let your coffee barista know, but anybody that might accidentally disturb you is a must. This includes your housemates and anyone you live with or anybody that might ring you in the middle of the day for a chat. Usually the easiest way to let people know without getting caught up in a long conversation is via social media, try posting a Facebook status that says something like ‘I’m going to be really busy for the next couple of days as I’ve got some important work due, please only contact me if it’s an emergency!‘. If Facebook isn’t your thing you could send an email round, or a mass text message. Just make sure you let people know to minimise disturbances!
Five – clear your work space. Time is obviously tight, so don’t bother with a full spring clean, but make enough room so that you can comfortably complete your work. If that means simply picking up the folders lying on your desk and discarding them in the bottom of the wardrobe for a few days, so be it. You can always organise your space properly when you don’t have a deadline getting ever closer.
Finally, turn off any devices you don’t need and get started. If the task as a whole doesn’t seem manageable, refer to the list you made earlier, and choose smaller, more achievable chunks. Before you know it the smaller chunks of work will turn into one big piece. Perseverance is the most important thing, right now you might feel like all you want to do is give up and take a nap but in the long run the work can only be beneficial to your education.
Most importantly get it done.
Share your best tips for getting last minute work done in the comments below!