Turning in assignments on time is one of the most important factors to succeeding in college and just about anywhere. The grade for a missed assignment will be a zero, whereas even a poorly written essay is worth more points.
If you’re a diehard gamer like me, then you’ll want to avoid giving up too much gametime. Thankfully, I have found that with some planning, I’m able to play video games almost as much as I want without missing many assignment deadlines. Of course, everyone is different in what time management techniques work for them, but here are some tips that I have personally found effective in my four years at UAA.
Take advantage of Google Calendar
Google Calendar allows you to input your class schedule and create events. There are plenty of options for events, including making an event recurring, adding reminders and specifying locations. This feature can also be used on iOS and Android smartphones. Just login to the calendar app with a Gmail account and the events created on your computer will appear on your phone and vice versa. Multiple calendars can be created and will be combined to separate college assignments from personal events. I can confidently say that I owe at least partial credit to my college success to Google Calendar.
A dry-erase board or calendar is a great way to remember upcoming due dates. I have a dry-erase calendar on the wall next to my computer. Since that is where I spend most of my time at home, it is always in my peripheral vision. With this method, however, there is a need to be mindful of assignments due early in the month if you don’t update it during the last week of the month.
Sticky notes placed in plain sight are also a good idea if there is a more immediate assignment that requires work.
Find out what time of day you are the most productive
If you aren’t a morning person, then working on assignments in the evening or at night may be your best bet. Likewise, if you jump out of bed feeling ready to climb Mt. Everest, starting early in the day when you have the most energy could be a good idea.
Make a list
Whether facing a huge semester-long assignment or a barrage of smaller assignments, making a list and dividing and conquering is a great way of reducing the stress that can arise during hectic weeks. In my experience, professors typically divide a large assignment that is due at the end of a semester into smaller assignments due throughout the semester. Just don’t fall behind on the scheduled checkpoints and it will eventually be complete. Listing several small tasks and crossing them out as you go also helps you feel that you’re making progress and will help you stay motivated to complete all of them.
Work an hour, play an hour
It’s a very slippery slope, but if you have the willpower necessary, taking a break from working on an assignment can motivate you to finish the task. Rewarding yourself after some hard work can be a potential motivator.
When scheduling time to work on assignments, always plan for more time than you think it will take. If you think reading a chapter in a book and writing a post about it on Blackboard is going to take an hour, expect it to take at least 30 minutes longer.
Starting to work on an assignment is always the hardest step. I find that it helps to start the day with the mindset of just looking at what is required of the assignment. When there is some downtime or I’m just bored, I’ll look at the assignment requirements and just start working on it, even if it is the smallest or easiest part of the assignment. Eventually, my inner completionist comes out and I’ll want to complete the assignment just to get it over with. Of course, this strategy doesn’t apply if it’s the night before the assignment is due.
If you’re in a rush to complete an assignment, remove as many potential distractions as possible. Turn off your phone, or make sure the screen is facing down to avoid the temptation of checking notifications.
If multiple assignments are due within a short span of one another, prioritize the assignment that is due the soonest. It may sound obvious, but it can be overwhelming sometimes and tackling them one by one may be your best bet.
Take breaks. It’s easy to forget to stay hydrated or have a snack when you’re busy worrying about whether you’ll get that essay done in time. Just remember that taking care of yourself is more important. Doing all that work won’t matter if you wind up in the hospital.