Too much to do? Not sure where to start? These are common thoughts and feelings when having a demanding workload. A way to manage academic pressure is to pay attention to the present moment. Focus on what you can do now and remind yourself that you have met deadlines before. Learning requires perseverance and maintaining hope that you will progress with your efforts.
Here are a few tips to get work done and meet deadlines.
Develop a beginner’s mindset: focus on your capacity to learn and tolerate setbacks and mistakes as part of the learning process. As learners, we are curious to find out new things. It boosts motivation and helps us persevere when we are unsure how things will turn out.
Develop self-awareness: Understanding our thoughts and feelings and learning to regulate our emotions through self-care and self-compassion, we are in a better place to deal with challenges and keep well as we get our work done.
Develop a flexible attitude: keep an open mind and consider it is possible to improve work because of your efforts. Emotional agility helps to manage our frustration when working to a deadline (David, 2016). Keep in mind that academic work takes time, and it requires repeated attempts and corrections to drafts to improve our work.
Tolerate uncertainty: Waiting to hear about results may trigger worry thoughts. However, it does not mean that these thoughts reflect what will happen. Bring your attention back to the task and focus on taking small steps and noticing your progress, without self-judgment (Gilbert, 2010).
Think of work as drafts: Instead of expecting the work to be correct the first time, think of it as a work in progress. Do what you can and when the deadline comes, submit what you have, thinking it is a draft – something that can continue to be improved, but it needs to be submitted on time.
Notice the progress you are making: When very busy, it can feel like the end is too far away. Acknowledge the work you have done. Notice what you are learning and ask yourself questions about the topic. For example: “how does it relate to other subjects? How can it be applied in reality? Questions keep us interested and help to make progress.
Be prepared to deal with setbacks: every piece of work can present us with obstacles. When these occur, review what you have done and identify what can be changed or done differently to improve it.
For more information, check this blog post.
David, S. (2016) Emotional agility. Get unstuck, embrace change and thrive in work and life. London: Penguin Books
Gilbert, P. (2010) The compassionate mind. London: Constable & Robinson, Ltd.