The exam period can be a nightmare for students. Typically it is accompanied by sleepless nights, a busy study schedule, and the students’ worst enemy – the deadline stress.
The latter can be the cause of all misery as stress leads to lack of concentration, poor sleep, anxiety, and inability to focus on studying.
Many students struggle with this kind of stress. Does that mean that you should accept deadline stress as a necessary evil? Of course not. You should fight it!
Don’t beat yourself up for getting stressed over deadlines. Most of us do. Instead of giving yourself a hard time because you let the stress take over you, do something about it. Work on overcoming that stress.
If you manage to fight the deadline stress off, you’ll be more productive and more successful on your exams. Not to mention that you’ll save yourself from the harmful effects of stress.
So, are you ready to get in the ring with deadline stress? The following ways of overcoming deadline stress will arm you for the battle.
1. Plan It Out
Organizing your exams and study time can take some of the pressure off. When you are organized, it won’t be so hard to get into the discipline of regular studying.
Create a plan for your study time and exams. Write it down, draw it, visualize it. Present it in a tangible form that you can revise at all times.
Having that plan at your disposal will help you feel more in control. You'll be aware that you have a set plan, and thus, you won't have to stress about whether you'll have the time to prepare.
2. Be Realistic About Your Goals
How realistic are your study goals? If you are too optimistic about your studying abilities, you need to change that.
That roller-coaster of believing that you can finish it all in a day to realizing that the deadline is just around the corner can shoot your stress level through the roof. As much as being optimistic is great, it is time to get down to earth.
When you create your study plan, try to break it down into milestones. For example, dissect writing an essay into brainstorming, research, first draft, editing, and final draft.
An overview of milestones will allow you to calculate more precisely how much time you’ll need to finish each task. Besides, setting smaller goals will seem more achievable and less intimidating.
In addition, move your deadline a day or two before the real deadline. If you have to take the exam on Thursday, make Tuesday the day when you should wrap up the studying.
According to Dr. Kimberly Key, setting early deadlines has a positive impact on brain chemistry. It can lower your stress levels and thus inspire more productivity and creativity.
3. Set Your Priorities Straight
Wanting to do all at once or not knowing where to start from won't lead you anywhere. You'll just get stuck trying to figure out what to do next. That's why prioritizing is golden.
Before you start your studying session, prioritize your daily tasks. Start with a medium challenge to get warmed up. Move onto the biggest challenge and end it off with the easiest task for the day.
What you should also consider when prioritizing are your most productive hours. This can differ from person to person. Some have the biggest brainpower in the morning, while others strive at night. Prioritize the list so that you can handle your hardest task at your peak hours.
4. Work on Your Inner Peace
It is so easy to get stuck in the twirl of stressful thoughts. "I will never pass this." "I never feel like studying." Once you go down that road, the level of stress can only go up. And we all know that when stress takes over, there's not much room for personal productivity.
Calming yourself down and cutting the cord with negative thoughts can do wonders. Whenever the negative thoughts come rushing in, take a break and do something relaxing. Engage in something that will distance you from the stress.
Some of the proven stress-releasing methods are:
- Focusing on your breath
- Imagining relaxing scenery
- Listening to relaxing music
You can opt for other ways of relaxation that work for you. It can be painting, taking your dog for a walk, talking with your friends, etc.
When you feel like you’ve regained your inner peace, that’s when you should get back to work.
5. Arm Yourself with Useful Study Tools
Modern technology offers many useful tools that can help you study and pass your exams. Why not take advantage of that?
For example, if you are writing an essay or practicing essay writing, turn to an important source of free essays that can provide you with inspiration and indication of proper essay writing.
There are also other tools and Google extensions that can ease up your online research and studying. The quicker you finish your pre-exam requirements, the less stressed you’ll be.
6. Move Away from the Desire for Perfection
Nobody is perfect. Thus, nobody should thrive for perfection. That is easier said than done, right?
However, you should work on accepting that it is okay to fail. The world won’t end if you don’t pass this exam. No matter what you think, your parents won’t give you up if you don’t ace all exam questions.
Stop wishing for an ideal world and accept that mistakes are a part of life. This is an important part of relieving deadline stress.
Studies have linked perfectionism and procrastination, and the mixture of the two provokes stress and fear of failure. Let go of any desire for perfection or unachievable goals, and you'll let go of stress.
7. Say No without Guilt
Meeting deadlines demands sacrifice. You can’t party all night, help your parents, drive your friend to another city, AND study in one day. Accept that you’ll need to start saying no to people when deadlines are around the corner.
Respect yourself and your study plan. Before you make a promise to someone, make sure that you aren’t breaking a promise you made to yourself.
If you say yes to everything, you won't have the time to study, and the stress will eat you up. For your own peace of mind, acknowledge that there is nothing wrong in saying no.
Embrace these tips as deadline guidelines. Not only will you be more productive, more successful, and more organized, but you’ll also get rid of deadline stress. Getting yourself into a productive routine is what you need, and these tips are here to make it happen.
Bridgette Hernandez is a Master in Anthropology who is interested in writing and is planning to publish her own book in the near future. The texts she writes are always informative, based on a qualitative research but nevertheless pleasant to read.