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5 Ways to avoid leaving everything to the last minute

What will be your resolution for this coming year, start going to the gym? Save towards buying yourself something big you’ve been dreaming about for a while now? Or even do more work at school/uni to improve your grades? Well, all of those things have something in common. If you never start, you will never achieve them. It is not possible to cram everything in 1 night: a summer body is worked all through the end of winter and spring. With that said however, I would like to reassure you a little bit because I have here a curated list of recommendations that will make you crush absolutely everything you put your mind to!

Break it down

Every project, goal, or dream can be broken down in smaller steps, which are far less scary and much easier to digest. For example, writing a 3000 comparative piece might seem like the biggest headache you could ever experience, but breaking it down into smaller pieces can trick you into efficiently tackling the task much earlier than you otherwise would. For example, the various steps you can take on that project would be:

  • Pick the texts you will compare
  • Summarise and write down the main ideas of the first paragraph of the first text
  • Once you’re done with analysing the texts, just write down the headings of each of your paragraphs
  • Hell, if you feel like you’ve got a spare extra 5 minutes, write down the first sentence of the 1st paragraph

And so on. By breaking it down, the task doesn’t appear nearly as impressive, and it will sound rather doable.

Don’t wait for motivation

We often rely on motivation. You know, that thing that is so unreliable and unpredictable? Yeah, that one. Motivation will often hit at random moments, and almost never when it is the most welcome. At 3am, when you’re supposed to be up early the day after? Sure thing. While you’re busy working on something you can’t get out of? You can count on it! On that Sunday afternoon you’ve dedicated to doing your task? Absolutely not. So, the best way to foster motivation is to actually start. Force yourself enough to stay put in your chair and avoid distractions, and you will soon find that motivation doesn’t randomly come, you have to sometimes trigger it

Reward yourself for getting it done early

Instead of letting the consequences of rushing your work punish you, try instead to reward yourself for completing your work early. Punishments will most likely have long-lasting, negative effects while rewarding yourself for your work will reduce your stress levels and encourage you to perform better/longer. On top of that, you won’t even get to suffer the consequences you would otherwise experience if you left everything at the last minute.

Break the habit of smashing it out

If you get into the habit of “smashing out” your assignments, aka doing them in one go, you will get into the habit of leaving it all to the very last moment and stressing yourself out. By breaking it down, as mentioned in the 2nd step, you give yourself the chance to tackle the task earlier and most importantly, progressively.

Good enough is good enough

For all the perfectionists out there: stop obsessing with having everything right. This thought can often cause you to block on an assignment/project and not even start it. Have you ever had that moment when you think that you won’t be able to fully complete an assignment or you just feel overwhelmed with the amount of work required to bring a project to completion? Well that’s the downside of perfectionism.

I hope those few tips will inspire you to achieve what you’ve been putting off to the last minute. On my behalf, you better rock your next semester at school/Uni!