There's nothing quite like the feeling of handing in a completed essay. Those late-night library sessions, 6-am starts and upped procrastination levels all somehow seem worth it. But before you reach the hand-in box to submit your work, there's deadline week. Those dreaded seven days pre hand-in, and they're no fun at all. So, as you spend late nights proof-reading and checking up on your Harvard referencing, here are six (important) tips to help you survive deadline week.
1. Manage your time like a pro
When you've just bought your new 2016 diary managing your time seems like a fun and doable job - but it's no easy task. It takes determination, planning and the right mind-set. In a time as distracting as ours, procrastination is never far away. Try to stay focused on what's important and what's not - even if that means turning off your phone for an hour of writing. Whether you work best in the early hours of the morning (with a strong coffee or two), or best at night, find a rhythm and a routine that works for you.
2. Finding your break rhythm
We all know how it goes: 50 words in and you convince yourself that you deserve a 30-minute break and a take-out as a reward. Try to get into the habit of learning to create a healthy break pattern: whether that be every hour, half an hour or for every 500 words, set something in place that works for you, and that is rewarding, too.
3. Setting goals
Without goals your whole essay gets a bit lost, and you'll find yourself incredibly overwhelmed. It needs to be broken down into mini easy-to-manage parts, with reachable goals set in place. Things like "get 700 words done by 2pm," or "chapter two done by Thursday" create doable and manageable goals. Of course we all work to a different beat, so try to set goals that are in line to your own working rhythm. Soon you'll see yourself overcoming that deadline week stress.
4. Learn to reward yourself, too
During a time as stressful as writing a dissertation (or an essay similar), learning to reward yourself with evenings or days off is essential. Slowing down may not seem like an option, but it will help to redirect your mind into a place of peace. And although we often are so quick to want to finish work that we forget about rewarding ourselves, make it a priority to see that you get some vital me-time. Do something different, something rewarding. And always try to find calm in the storm.
5. Draft, rewrite and don't give up
No one likes rewriting work over and over again (especially with tight deadlines creeping up). But if you want to hand in something you're proud of, it's only necessary. Make the time to redraft and proof-read your work, giving yourself the chance to catch bad grammar before the hand-in. For spotting all those small mistakes, print out your work a few days before hand in, and filter through for those random full-stops and autocorrects' changes. No matter how many redrafts you need to power through, if you never give up, you will end up with something you're proud of.
6. Don't stress, it will be OK
And it really will be. No matter how stressed you may be, whatever you put your mind to can be done. Deadline week doesn't really have to be the season we all dread- if you stay focused, organised and persistent, surviving the week can be easily done. One of the many reasons I find myself stressing is when I begin to compare myself- and my work- to those around me. Looking at how far they have come, how many words they have written, or what font they have chosen sets me into panic mode. If you don't want stress, don't compare! And we all do it - we're driven with the urge to nosey, but there's a difference between helping someone proof-read their essay and comparing what they've written with your own work. Keeping these six simple tips close by will give you the strength to focus on what's most important: your work. So don't stress, it will all be OK.