It is the middle of the night, far beyond your usual bedtime, but you can’t go to sleep because the deadline for your essay is next morning and you still only managed to squeeze a couple of paragraphs out of your slowly curdling brains. You have no idea what to write next, and what you have already written is so pathetic you want to cry.
Some people are actually only productive when under a lot of stress; they feel more alive than anytime else. Those who are not among them, however, need some methods of managing stress to get the task done.
Essay Stress Management
- Planning. Tutors always repeat how important and helpful it is, and for a good reason. When the deadline is near, however, one may think that there is not enough time to plan and plunge right into writing. They can hardly be more wrong – planning really helps to save time and effort. Ten minutes spent on preparing a clear-cut plan will save you at least an hour of frustration later.
- Segment your work. Either on time or task basis. That is, either work for some time, then take a break (which is a good piece of advice even without a crisis, actually), or set a task, complete it, then take a short break. Make these tasks as little and definite as possible – for example, “cover the next point on your plan”.
- Don’t stare into your monitor. Sitting before your computer and panicking will not do you any good. It doesn’t save time, you won’t magically understand what you are supposed to do, the essay will not write itself. You probably think that doing anything else right now is stupid – it is not so. Take a break. Do something completely unrelated for a bit – do a dozen of push-ups, take a shower, go for a walk, whatever. It won’t be wasted time. Your mind is stuck in one gear, you need to change it, and it is the best way to do it.
But Avoiding Stress Is Better
It may sound trite, but a far better approach still is to avoid getting into situations like the one described in the beginning. You know that you have an essay to be written by a certain date. Why wait until the very last day?
Parkinson’s Law states that work always takes up all the time available for its completion. Try to use it to your advantage and use the following strategy – move the deadline a day closer. Do all this hectic writing the day before you usually do it. Try to complete the task at all costs. This way, the real day before the deadline, you’ll get an opportunity to reread it and make corrections with a clear head.