It’s that time of year again. Deadlines and dissertations are taking over and you’re starting to forget what life was like before all the essay stress. Fear not. The Bubble has some top tips for summative survival.
1) Find the working environment that works for you
Everyone is different in terms of the working environment which suits them best. You may enjoy the comfort of your own desk in college or in your student home, seated comfortably in your pyjamas with easy access to the kettle and food cupboard. Yet others may prefer to keep work and pleasure completely separate and instead head to their college library or endure the trek to Bill Bryson to focus. Try working in a variety of environments to find the one in which you’re the most productive.
Staying hydrated and full is a must for maximum productivity. There’s nothing worse than a rumbly tummy in Billy B. Always have some kind of drink by your side and food in close proximity. This is much easier to achieve if you’re studying at home, however the kitchen can become an easy form of procrastination! If you dare to violate the “no food or drink with the exception of cold bottled drinks” rule in Bill Bryson (I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone be reprimanded for this, nor could the high number of students in the library concurrently utilise the mere twelve seats in Yum café nor the tiny social area opposite). However, it’s important to maintain your food and hydration levels, without using it as a handy excuse to distract yourself from your essay for a few minutes longer.
This should be your most important consideration! No one, regardless of how many Red Bulls they consume, can work solidly and productively for extensive amounts of time without breaks. Break-times can be for as long and as frequent as you deem necessary; if you find yourself easily distracted, allocate five minutes per hour. But sometimes you might be on a roll for a couple of hours straight, so distribute your breaks in coherence with your productivity. Do something which relaxes you during your break, be it eating, napping (risky), scrolling through social media… whatever you fancy.
It’s good to plan out your time and make sure you can fit everything in, particularly when you have deadlines here there and everywhere, lectures to attend and the need for a weekly dose of Klute. Perhaps create a work timetable which is scheduled around all of your commitments; it can be extremely helpful to view your workload visually. Make sure you’re realistic with what you can achieve – could you really knock out 1,000 words in an hour? Probably not. Underestimate rather than overestimate, so it’s a nice surprise when you’re ahead of schedule.
5) Avoid your phone and social media
Probably the hardest task for most of us, as we often find ourselves subconsciously hovering over the bookmarked Facebook tab which sits invitingly on Google Chrome. If you can’t help but aimlessly sift through last night’s Klute photos or have a stalk of your college parents, perhaps consider deleting it from your bookmarks. Once you’re on Facebook, it’s hard to stop scrolling through your News Feed. You end up stalking friends’ parents, looking at your statuses from six years ago, playing “How well do you know…?” quizzes… it’s a slippery slope. Likewise with other forms of social media: Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram… it’s best to avoid them all together when you’re trying to work. Break-time is the time to send your friend a Snapchat of the fit person sat opposite you in the library. But while you’re working, remove your phone from your desk and stay away from social media.
6) Work space
One thing I like about going to the library to work is that the workspace is always clear when you arrive. You only take to the library what you need, thus your workspace is less clogged up with the miscellaneous objects that clutter your room. These can be scope for distraction; you end up sorting your Fineliners into rainbow order and aligning your Post-Its to procrastinate, as you still feel like you’re doing something worthwhile. If this is an issue for you, perhaps try working elsewhere, or maintaining a clear desk all of the time (the latter is probably quite unfeasible for most of us). A clear desk is a clear mind.