We have all seen plenty of advice about being productive and surviving finals on the internet, and some tips are definitely better than others. Here are three things most people won’t tell you about getting through the madness:
1.) Clean apartment? Clean room? NOPE.
I usually joke with people “thank goodness for homework: if it weren’t for this 5 page essay I have to do tonight, I wouldn’t have ever cleaned the apartment!”
I know I’m not the only person like this, either. There are lots of us out there… I call us “productive procrastinators,”
or P.P. for short. Wait, nvm. We usually feel too guilty just watching Netflix when there’s work waiting for us… but cleaning feels responsible, and it gives us an excuse to procrastinate just a bit longer…
This week, commit to having a messy kitchen, bedroom, whatever space it is that you normally clean to avoid doing your most important work. That space is now a symbol, as long as it is NOT clean and you are working on what is really important, you have your priorities in order. Martha Stewart be damned.
2.) Forget time management.
The most important thing for you to focus on? Your energy.
You can try to schedule blocks of time for studying all you want… but the truth is, you don’t really know how long it will take you, and therefore most of your usual time management tricks are pretty useless when it becomes finals week. Instead, focus on managing your energy by doing the following:
- Make eating a priority [note: what you eat matters, don't load up on chips (carbs) unless you want to get sleepy after snacking... learn more about what food to eat here.]
- Do your hardest work first to ensure you have the energy to complete the task, before other smaller tasks drain you of your willpower.
- Don’t do stuff. Use webapps like leechblock (Firefox) and stayfocused (Chrome) to keep you off of Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc…
- Nap and sleep a lot. I am a fan of “caffiene naps” and “power naps” for increased productivity, but the important thing is just this: GET ENOUGH REST. (More on power napping here.)
3.) CRAM, don’t study.
It is this time of year when I would encourage you to remember Parkinson’s law:
“work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
If you have 8 hours to finish your essay, it’s gonna take you 8 hours. If you only have 30 minutes, however, you are going to find a way to finish it in 30 minutes.
If enough people are interested… I’ll release a handy guide to “cramming and exam-ing like a millionaire” this weekend.
Best of luck to all of you,