This week, I handed in about 6,500 words in total over three different essays, and still managed to give a couple of presentations and get lesson work done… phew! Every student seems to have a huge workload at the end of term (some much more, I know), and it usually gets done somehow… but I’m particularly proud of myself this time for not getting stressed about it at all! These maybe a bit late coming (as I wrote these a couple of weeks ago, but blogging time has been limited!) – to those still struggling with deadlines, my personal tips for avoiding getting too stressed. If it’s too late… bear these in mind next time!

1. Just do it… start with a “micromovement”
Make a start, 100 word goal, do something on your plan, open Microsoft Word & write the title – just start small. Most importantly just make a decision to start… go to a cafe and buy yourself a nice coffee and decide to write a paragraph. Don’t wait until the perfect moment. Just write something! It’s not so bad once you have…

Black forest hot chocolate

2. Keep it simple.
Long essays are daunting, especially if you want them to be complex & sophisticated. But ultimately the important thing is to keep focused on what you’re trying to say. And in addition – this makes it easier to start… just think to yourself what am I actually trying to say in this whole essay, in one sentence? This applies to paragraphs too, and often it helps to just start writing exactly what you mean, and you’ll find you still have lots left to write about…

3. The bigger picture.
If you start panicking and thinking eek… this doesn’t make sense… it’s getting in a muddle… now i’ve wasted time and the whole thing is a mess…. etc. etc…
Take a step back (put the kettle on) and remind yourself the goal of the essay – the essence of what you’re saying – and try to remind yourself how things fit together in simple terms. You may be able to get back on track without wasting what you’ve done.

4. Perspective.
The reason I hardly ever end up doing essays close to the deadline is because I tend to look ahead and focus on the feeling of finishing the essay & not being in a panic/the feeling of having it done, remembering that once you’re started you tend to get into a flow, the thought that if i do some writing this afternoon I can watch my favourite programme on tv tonight, and sometimes when I’m having a week where I’m really really struggling to get it all in perspective… I imagine myself graduating from this university, with A DEGREE. It doesn’t matter what grade… I know how proud I’ll be to have survived this whole amazing & frightening experience.

Twinkle toes

5. Be Emergency Prepared
I’ve been really feeling sorry for a friend on Facebook whose essay file seems to have been “corrupted” at the last minute, and they don’t have a backup. Even I couldn’t find an essay I wrote for about 20 minutes one day this week and nearly panicked. With assessed essays though, I’m a paranoid obsessive backup-er, I have about 8 different versions, in different states of completion, also emailed to two different addresses… just in case! Worst case scenario I would only have to re-do a bit if I lost the final version!

6. Reward yourself!

I am by no means a work-a-holic. I work because there is an end in sight. So it works to reward myself… I booked a hair colour session for the day after I finished all my deadlines, and a day of baking and magazine reading! Then when I’m struggling to keep writing, I think of how good it will be to finish. Incidentally today is the day of my hair appointment… better get off the blog then!

Good luck to everyone who still has deadlines, also, please comment with your top de-stressing tips, they would be welcome!

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