We all know how exhausting multitasking can be. But while we have our term exams the world just refuses to stop and wait until we finish. We have to do everything we did before plus lots and lots of studies. Moreover, that’s when our procrastination comes into play. Our brain is willing to do anything: from cleaning to sorting out our emails – just to avoid the things we push ourselves into. This period is tough and there is no magic wand to ease it. But there is still something we can do.
Work-life balance is important
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Not dull only but also unable to handle any tasks effectively. To spend energy on work we should regenerate this energy first. Sleeping and eating aren’t enough (did you ever sleep well during extra educational load? We didn’t). You need to do something for you and your rest only. Even if you have anxious thoughts about deadlines. Memory essays clearly show us how our memory works: if you’re tired, your brain won’t spend energy on memorizing needed information.
Think of something that is instantly rewarding, something that will make you happy almost for nothing. If you aren’t fond of cooking, order your favorite food instead. Watch a movie you always wanted to – this isn’t wasted time, this is your self-care and getting resources for a great job later.
Try to make a strategy. Define your “good days” when you are full of energy and the “bad days” when you wake up already tired. How much work can you handle during good or bad times? How much rest do you need? What kind of rest should it be? This strategy will be your guideline, your instruction manual to yourself. It will help you to estimate the time you need for the big tasks and the amount of extra self-care during extra load.
Eat the elephant one piece at a time
Talking about the big tasks: you don’t have to do them on the last day before the deadline. Actually it isn’t always possible to do so. If you calculate your average stress and workload, you’ll see that after a few days of constant work your capacity to do anything will decrease dramatically.
This piece of advice is incredibly mundane and boring but it is written from our own bitter experience. During extreme stress you are not rising to the level of your expectations, you are falling to the level of your basic skills. So don’t expect too much from yourself just hours before the due date.
Doing small parts of the big task here and there helps equally spend your energy. It also helps you see the inner structure of the task, its building blocks. Completing one such “block” at a time gives you a deep understanding of the reason for this block being here and its connections to other parts of the task.
Flight mode is your friend
Social media and messengers are the major time-eaters. If we calculate the time we spend chatting or scrolling the feed or Wiki walking – we’ll be rather shocked. We don’t feel that, because it’s five minutes here and ten minutes there, but together they combine into a tremendous amount of time.
Switching off all the distractors is a great way to both get yourself concentrated on the task and motivate yourself to finish it as quickly as possible (and get back your sweet, sweet time eaters). Actually that’s what lots of our parents did for us. But now, when the regulations are self-imposed, we may be both more responsive to our needs and more responsible for doing the tasks right. Because now it’s not the parents, it’s us who need it.
Delegate your tasks to AI
Another great distraction that robs us of our memory is small mundane tasks that we should always keep in mind. Is it time to feed your pet fish? Have you called your Aunt, it’s her birthday today? Is it time to do the laundry or can it wait until tomorrow?
That’s why lots of very busy people have secretaries. They keep their schedule neat, make sure that their meetings don’t overlap and all the major problems are covered in time. Today the AI may substitute the secretary in some ways. Let it manage your schedule. Automatize your payments to a landlord, make notifications for daily tasks, calls, or appointments. It will greatly unload your brain from processing these operations and will also decrease anxiety and doubts (have you called Aunt or not?)
The periods of intensive study aren’t a piece of cake. But it is part of our life, no matter what. The best thing we can do is to care for ourselves, to prioritize tasks and not to demand too much from ourselves. We’ve all been there and managed to finish it alive and well. You’ll manage, too!
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