Four tips to help you complete your assignments on time
Are you studying for a qualification or for a new career? here are four tips to help you complete your assignments on time.
However determined you are when you set out on a new course or when studying for a new qualification, when it comes down to sitting down and completing assignments, many students find it a struggle.
It can be hard to get over that initial frustration at looking at a blank screen or sheet of paper, and at times like this it’s easy to get distracted. Maybe your friends have invited you to meet up, or the washing up REALLY needs tackling (it’s amazing how attractive the dullest household tasks become when you’re looking for an excuse to put off work…).
But you can procrastinate all you like – your assignment deadline isn’t going to go away! In fact, all you are doing is creating more pain for yourself by dragging out the working process and giving yourself less time to complete it.
So, to help you beat procrastination and get the work done on time, here are four pain-free tips to help you complete your assignments.
1) Take control of your time
In the past, students would depend on diaries and calendars to organise their schedules and plan what they are doing, and when. Today, studying has gone digital and rather than a paper schedule, students are using their devices and apps to plan and track their time.
And planning and tracking time is essential – as any student knows, the key to completing work assignments on time, plus managing their lesson schedule and personal life, comes down to good time management.
So if you haven’t done so already, research time management apps (there are lots of great ones for free) and install and start using it. This will enable you to plan your weeks in advance and ensure you set aside a comfortable amount of time to complete your work.
And if you do feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to look for help. For example, if your elected subject is finance you can get help with finance assignments online. You can also let your tutor know in advance you need help. They can either support you or may even offer you a time extension, if possible.
The worst thing you can do if you fall behind or are struggling is to say nothing, ignore the problem and hope it will go away. Confronting the problem head on and proactively finding a solution is more likely to lead to a positive outcome for you.
2) Have a dedicated study area
It’s hard to concentrate on your studies if you’re working in a busy, noisy and messy area. Or you are constantly finding a place to perch to try and work.
It’s important as a student to have a quiet and clear place to study – and even better if you always use the same, dedicated work space as you’ll anchor it in your mind to study and will switch into study mode more quickly every time you sit there.
So try to find a permanent location for your work. Can you devote a corner of a room to working and turn it into your work space? You’ll need a comfortable chair and a table or desk that is the right height – you’ll probably spend many hours sat working so will want something that helps your posture and doesn’t give you back ache!
Then consider what else you need. You want somewhere quiet, preferably where you can shut out any noise and distractions. A room that is a thoroughfare isn’t ideal as you risk constantly having people walking past and disturbing you. Even if they are quiet, the foot traffic will attract your attention from your studies.
Also make sure that your work space is light enough and has everything you need – a socket for your laptop charger cable, paper and pens, and anything else you require to work on your assignments. So once you sit down to study you have no excuse to move until you are finished!
And if you do get stuck, remember that companies like EduJungles have been set up to offer help for students who need it.
3) Switch off distractions
Sometimes it can be hard to get into an assignment. And when that happens we look for or are grateful for the excuse of a distraction – even if it’s just prolonging the pain of procrastination, and putting off the inevitable need to complete the work.
So do yourself a favour and consciously turn off distractions when it’s time to settle down and work. Hopefully you have already organised a quiet workspace away from other people and noise. Now you need to look for things that may distract you IN your workspace.
That means switching your phone on silent (or preferably off), and turning off any notifications that may ping up on your laptop. You can also close down any tabs on your browser that might call for your attention… when we’re procrastinating we can find almost any reason to do something other than work!
If you’re really finding it hard to channel your focus onto the job at hand, you can always try a Focus Block.
This is when you devote a chunk of time – often 90 minutes – to a single job, or cluster of jobs that are similar or are part of a common goal. The idea behind this is that you leverage the power of ‘flow’.
You then write a list of what you want to achieve in your focus block and switch off any distractions, such as your phone (as already mentioned). If you want, you can promise yourself a reward, such as a coffee or meeting up with friends, when you’ve completed your Focus Block.
Then you just get started. It’s amazing the power of targeted work in a set time period – especially with a reward to look forward to. Many people claim they can get a good day’s work complete in just 90 minutes using this technique.
And if you really get stuck and are beaten by a deadline, you can always get writing help from online writers who are experts in the area you need to write about.
4) Prioritise your studies
Of course, none of this will work – nor will any good advice – if you don’t actually put it into practice!
If your studies are going to be successful, you need to make them a priority. And this requires self-discipline as well as a clear vision for what you are doing and why.
When you are ‘sold’ on the end outcome – the career or qualification you want and how that will improve your life – you will find it much easier to make the sacrifices required to succeed at your studies.
You’ll find it easier to sit inside and work as planned on an assignment when it’s a beautiful day outside. And you’ll find it easier to turn down parties and gatherings with friends when you’re up against a deadline.
It’s much harder to delay instant gratification without a higher goal you are working towards. So be very clear with yourself about what studying will give to you, and keep this goal very clear and front of mind.
Create a vision of the ‘you’ at the end of this process, where you have achieved your goal and are living the life you want. Make the vision multi-sensory and vivid. What does life look and sound like then? What are you doing? How do you feel?
The more real your vision for your life when you have completed your studies, the easier you’ll find it to devote the time and energy needed – and make the inevitable short term sacrifices that come with working towards your dreams. And the more likely you are to actually achieve them.
Photo by Alex Samuels