As young adults navigating school, work, friendships, and responsibilities, adding deadlines into the mix can feel overwhelming and it may seem easy to fall behind. Just remember, deadlines are put in place to keep you on track to achieve a goal, not to stress you out.
Sometimes, it can be hard to find the motivation to start a project or a task early. But, is putting it off really worth it? Waiting until the last minute can make you feel like you’re drowning in your “to-do” list – which is never a good feeling. To avoid this, you’ll want to develop productive habits and a positive mindset to tackle all of your upcoming deadlines with time to spare!
Identify the WHY
Like I said before, deadlines weren’t created to stress you out. This may seem easy to forget come the end of the semester when it feels like all of your deadlines collide, so it’s essential right off the bat to identify why it’s important to meet each deadline. Maybe turning in your paper on time means getting an A in your class, or turning in your community service means you’re one step closer to remaining eligible for TN Promise. It can even be something simple, such as remembering to return your textbooks on time to avoid paying a late fee! Consider writing down these end goals and referring to them when you find yourself procrastinating. Turning your deadlines into goals will put you in the right frame of mind and motivate you from the start.
Make a List
Studies show that making lists helps you accomplish goals, and many college students actually rely on this method to keep them on track! At the beginning of each semester, take a look at all of your classes’ syllabi, your tnAchieves student handbook, and any other schedules you may have. Make a master list of the due dates and deadlines for your classes, tnAchieves requirements, and other important dates. Using a day planner, calendar, or agenda to store your list can help you visualize exactly when and how much time you have to accomplish each task – and you can find all of your priority dates in one place!
Understand Your Timeline
Now that you can see your timeline of tasks, make sure you understand them! If you’re unsure of an exact date or what is required, this is the time to ask. Figure out exactly what you need to do and when you need to have it done early on to avoid any confusion later on that could cause unnecessary stress or missing your deadline.
Give Yourself A Cushion
When making a schedule, it’s important to remember that you need to give yourself a little wiggle room. Life happens, and that’s okay! But deadlines won’t change because something came up. If you have the opportunity to stay ahead of your deadline – DO IT! Our community service deadline is a great example. If you have 6 months to complete 8 hours of community service by July 1st, make a plan to get it done early! If something comes up you will have plenty of time to make other plans, still meet the July 1st deadline, and you won’t be stressed out a few days before scrambling to find the time to do it!
Staying ahead of your deadlines will not only keep you on track to achieve your goals – whether it be graduating, remaining eligible to receive TN Promise, or avoiding a fine – but it will also reduce the amount of stress you have to deal with! Everyone is different, so use these tips to develop a personal planning method that works best for you, and you’ll be equipped to tackle all of your deadlines.