Thursday, 11 March 2010

5 Ways to Catch Up on Work When You Fall Behind

Image thanks to jessica flavin

There are few things worse when you are a student than that feeling of being completely out of control with your workload. Sadly, this can often happen even when we’ve done our very best to avoid it, because of unexpected pressures and non-academic commitments. The last thing you want to do when you feel this way, however, is to let it get you down – you’ll only hit a downward spiral that way. Instead, accept that you’ve taken your eye off the ball, take a deep breath, and get to work on making your outlook a little brighter. Here are five of my tips on catching up at university or college:

♥ Get a Study Buddy. There are few things more encouraging than the support of a real person so, as geeky as it may at first seem, finding someone to work with simultaneously can be really beneficial. Organise sessions side-by-side in the library, set fake deadlines together a fortnight or so before your real ones (and hold each other accountable), or even just meet for coffee and really talk things through. You might soon find that you’re well ahead, rather than lagging behind.

♥ Take an hour. Even if you feel totally swamped with little to no free time, chances are you can find an hour to sit down and get to grips with just one piece of work. Between lectures, before or after dinner, in between two of your favourite TV shows – there’ll be an hour to find somewhere. Even if you don’t finish what you work on, this solid block of time with only one focus will certainly help you make progress.

♥ Write a comprehensive list of everything you need to get done. This sounds obvious, but is more than a simple to do list. I’m talking about every piece of work that needs to be in: any academic appointments or emails you need to organise, any seminars you really can’t afford to miss – look about a month ahead and factor everything in to get on top of it all. It can be difficult for us to be truly organised without a physical map of the work we need to do and, if you don’t write something down, you could easily forget it all together and fall even further behind.

♥ Tackle one thing at a time. Focusing on getting everything done all at once rarely works. If you’ve got a free day, rather than doing a little bit of everything, take just one piece of work and tackle that to completion. The weight that gets lifted will feel a lot greater.

♥ Talk to your tutors. It’s easy to forget what your tutors are actually there for and feel like you’re on a lonely expedition to hit your deadline; but remember that your tutors want you to do well and are there to help you. If you’re stuck with a particularly grumpy tutor, try getting an appointment with another one within your subject department. They were students too once upon a time and will probably be happy to give you some advice and support.

Do you have any words of advice for students feeling overwhelmed by their workload? Your fellow kind needs you!


I am Danielle and you are? said...

This is perfect advice for anyone with a lot on their plate. Thanks!

Zmaga said...

I really needed this! Thanks!

Kylie said...

This simplicity of this post is what makes it so amazing. Being behind with work and school is so overwhelming, a simple, not-too-complex guide like this is going to be so helpful to a lot of people.

Jodi said...

thanks! i needed this

Anonymous said...

great advice!!...thanks alot.

Alex Croston said...

i need to catch uo on a years work :O

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