Keeping up with your workload

Monash Buzz - Keeping up with your workload

As we move into mid-semester, you may feel like your coursework and exams are piling up at an alarming rate. The amount of work you have to get done, not to mention the preparation for your finals, can be overwhelming.

Here are some ways you can avoid collapsing at the end of the semester.

1. Make a believable list

List your daily to-dos. Not everything is essential so get your priorities right. Important tasks go right on top. Even if you're dreading them, work on them first. Include things you plan to do into the list too. It helps if you give yourself a treat once you’ve checked off everything on the list.

2. Know your responsibilities

Take a deep breath. Understand and keep track of what you are supposed to do. It is completely OK to say “no” if your friend asks you to go for a movie, especially when you have a test or presentation due the next morning. You can always reschedule or catch up at a later date and time.

3. Organisation

Planning ahead always works. Knowing exactly what you must accomplish, and when, will help you plan effectively. Also, grouping your assignments into smaller categories and organising deadlines works! Give yourself a deadline and spread that work over a feasibly wide range of time. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, when it comes to crunch time.

4. Silent mode

Set up a time devoted only to studying or homework. Shut off your phone and respond to calls or texts when your work is done. Minimise distraction, emails and that facebook or Instagram notification can wait.

5. Procrastination is the thief of time

And the robber of peace of mind. Assignments that cause the most anxiety are often surprisingly easy. If you avoid putting off coursework, you’ll have a larger advantage nearing finals. Identify assignments which needs to be completed in the first two months of the semester, ask necessary questions and prepare a near-finished version of each assignment for review, closer to the deadline.

6. Time-out

Breaks are crucial, especially towards the end of the semester. Stress reduces performance, as does lack of sleep. Even if you feel that no amount of study could prepare you adequately, taking breaks is pivotal to keeping your mind fresh for tests. Also, try walking or stretching, or one of these deskercises between study activities to help clear your mind.

Other tips

  • Early bird or night owl - Are you a morning person or a night person? It may be helpful and more efficient to work during the time of day that suits you best.
  • Time budget - Figure out how much time you usually spend on your activities and then create a weekly schedule to follow. Determine how much free time you have before you add any commitments. And don't forget to schedule time to relax.
  • Keep your work with you - If you find yourself with extra time, whether on the train or bus or waiting for an appointment, you can get something done.
  • Great things come even in small packages - You don’t have to wait for big chunks of time to get things done. Small things like touching base with an academic advisor, editing a paper, reviewing notes, or reading a few pages of required reading­, can be accomplished in spaces between other commitments.