Assignment deadlines: love 'em or hate 'em (usually the latter); they are common to all students. Occasionally, you only have one or two to meet each semester, but on a more regular basis, you will be inundated with them, especially if you are taking multiple courses at the college or university you are attending.
Like an ever-looming shadow hanging over you, these assignment deadlines probably fill you with dread and fear. What if you don't manage to meet them? What if your work isn't up to par? What if they get in the way of those other aspects of your college life, such as...erm...partying and staying up all night watching reruns of Friends? Common fears all, and you probably relate to them yourself, especially if you're desperately trying to get work done on time at the moment. Thankfully, we do have some help. While we won't do your assignments for you (sorry), we have a few general tips that might make your life a little easier.
#1: Create a schedule (and stick to it)
To meet your deadlines, you need to manage your time, and one of the best ways to do this is to create a schedule for yourself. By getting everything down on paper or through the use of a time-management app, you will have everything you need to do written down in front of you, so there is less chance of you forgetting something vital. Factor in such things as planning, research, and proofreading, as well as the actual writing of the assignment, and prioritize everything according to when your various deadlines end. Then stick to the schedule, as there is little hope of you meeting your deadlines if you don't; well, not unless you want to have that last-minute panic and late-night working session that is the unenviable alternative.
#2: Avoid distractions
It can be easy to get distracted as a college student. One minute you can be working hard, and the next minute you can be waylaid by a fellow student. You might be researching your assignment online one moment, and the next, you might have been suckered in by a Facebook post or a funny cat video. Therefore, do all in your power to avoid them. Turn your phone off if you aren't expecting any urgent calls, work in a quiet area of your home or halls of residence so you are less likely to be interrupted by other students, and install a website blocker on your laptop to remove the temptations of Facebook, YouTube, and any other internet site that is guaranteed to steal you away from your studies.
#3: Improve your working area to improve your mood
The happier and more relaxed you are when you get down to work, the more productive you will be. Therefore, despite the miserable prospect of having to knuckle down and get some work done, take steps within your working area to lighten the way you feel. How you do this is up to you, but as examples, you might add a few funny knick-knacks to your desk, cover your computer with silly laptop stickers, play music that will calm your mood, and have nibbles and drinks on standby to fill your belly and keep you hydrated. You should also take steps to remove anything that could hinder your productivity and stress you further, so you might want to declutter your desk, for example, or remove any reminders about other deadlines that don't have to be your top priority.
#4: Have everything you need to hand
You will only waste time if you suddenly discover you don't have what you need and consequently try to look for them, so be prepared before you start work. So, in advance, bookmark any websites you might need for research purposes. Collect the books and notes you need, and open them to the relevant pages. Sort out your stationery, and lay them out neatly on your desk. And if your tutor has handed you assignment guidelines, have them ready and waiting for you, so you don't have to look for them or pester your tutor or other students for the information you need. By taking each of these steps, you will then spend more time working and less time hunting down your necessities.
#5: Take a break occasionally
Even when you have a lot of work to do, you need to know that taking a break isn't unproductive. The alternative is slaving away at your desk without any intervals, and while this might be okay for some people, for the majority, this can often lead to tiredness and slowdown. Getting a break, on the other hand, will improve your productivity. By getting a little exercise as well as something healthy to eat, you should return to your desk feeling refreshed and in a better position to work harder, without the risk of tiredness and a muddled mind getting in the way of your ability to work.
#6: Get help from wherever you can get it
If you're struggling with your assignments, don't suffer alone. You will only stress yourself out if you do, and this could affect your productivity. Therefore, speak to your tutor if you need to, and ask him or her for help with anything you find complicated. Team up with other students and work together on difficult projects. And while this might be considered cheating (and a little risky too), you might still consider using assignment writing services if you are bogged down with the amount of work you have to do. Many hands make light work, so they say, so if you need help meeting those awkward deadlines, get it!
#7: Sleep well (but don't be lazy)
It isn't a misconception to suggest that students spend a lot of their time under their duvets. Possibly because of late-night partying or assignment cramming, you might sleep in well past the time when your alarm clock alerts you to do otherwise. Big mistake! If you get too little sleep or if you sleep too much (over 10 hours), you will be less refreshed than you would be should you have received the more sensible 7-9 hours sleep a night. Therefore, don't sacrifice your sleep and don't spend more time with your head on your pillow than you should. You will work better when you are feeling energized, so be sensible with your sleeping habits.
Meeting assignment deadlines can be tough, but it is possible, provided you take the necessary steps to give yourself a fighting chance. We hope you have found these tips useful, but let us know what you think. And if you have any further advice for our readers, perhaps from your student experiences, please share them with us.