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bigjay's avatar

How to get things done before deadline approaches?

Asked by bigjay (387 points ) December 18th, 2010

Hey All
When my teachers assign work or tell us about tests, they tell us quite a while before. The thing is, I can never start working properly until the night before its due, and its getting to be a problem.

Its not like i don’t try, but when i open up a book or a doc file, say a week before a deadline, I just cant concentrate, and whatever mediocre work i get done just doesn’t cut it in terms of what the teachers expect.

The nights before, however, i am at my best, i can concentrate fully, and it’s like they’re the only times my brain functions properly. I’ve had this quirk my entire life, but it’s only a real problem now that I am a senior and the work is sufficiently harder.

How can i convince myself to work every night like its the night before the deadline?

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7 Answers

Seelix's avatar

Set personal deadlines for yourself. Plan out what you’d like to have done by what date, for example: I’ll have the book that I have to report on read by the 10th. I’ll choose my thesis for my essay by the 12th. I’ll choose my secondary sources/criticism by the 14th, etc.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not easy, especially if you’re prone to procrastination (like I am). Heck, I’m procrastinating now! I also feel like I work best under pressure, but you’re right – the quality of what I hand in wasn’t always my best. I’m much better now about starting work earlier; when you’re in grad school and have a million things on the go at once, it’s the only way to get anything done.

Try the deadline thing and see if it works for you. Good luck!

noodle_poodle's avatar

Theres no fooling yourself…maybe you should just be cool with the way you work. Some people thrive under pressure, maybe your one of those? Opt for things in life that keep the pressure on or you’ll get bored of the mediocre bits.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m a last-minute person like you, but I hate all the pain it causes, and so when deadlines loom I allow just enough discipline into my life to make it turn out differently. That’s because I also want the straight A’s, and the two sets of conditions are incompatible.

One solution is to break the task down into parts. Estimate how long each part will take and how much you can do at a time. Then back your schedule out from the due date. That way you can see a due date for each part. If you need, say, five two-hour sessions spread out over a week, then the real, actual deadline for the first portion is a week beforehand.

When I have had four or five large, complex things to do at once, I print out a calendar grid for the month or months I have to work on them and then fill in interim due dates for each one so I know where I need to be at all times. I build in some leeway so if I fall behind in something there’s a way to catch up. At the end of each day I know if I’m on target or not and can adjust if I must. There’s no horrible surprise at the last minute.

world_hello's avatar

Go to the library. Leave the computer and phone at home. Bring books and paper. You can do this, you just need to remove distractions.

BarnacleBill's avatar

You could create a template for each type of assignment in Excel, and generate a timeline for the assignment based upon the due date.

You’re wise to be thinking about this now. When you get to college, the writing resource center in the library will edit your papers, but you usually have to give them a week to look at them. That means your due dates are all moved up a week.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I lie to myself and put in my calendar different deadlines (at least a week before).

bigjay's avatar

Thanks guys. Its hard to say right now, but some of these may actually work. It’s just that being a senior, and having graduation year approaching, i want to tie up all loose ends and have something which I can look back to with a smile, something which contributed to my future. The way things have been going now, well i’ve always scraped that passing grade, but it would be nice to finally overcome this weakness once and for all

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