Stress happens to all of us. It’s completely natural to feel overwhelmed and overworked, especially at the end of the semester. However, we can’t let the stress take over our lives. Here are a few helpful hints to help you manage your stress levels and get your work done on time!
1. Make a playlist. Music is something that many of us can’t live without. While you’re working, it’s great to have something to listen to that keeps you focused and keeps your energy up! I recommend music that you already know and like, so you won’t get distracted listening to new music. Try music with a heavy rock beat or lyrics that talk about getting things done or being on top.
2. No emotional eating. It may sound like a good idea at the time, but you will regret that Snickers later. Stress eating gives us a little bit of necessary sugar, but all you’re really doing is distracting yourself from your work. When you’re studying, fill a large glass or water bottle with ice water and drink that whenever you think you’re hungry. Drinking lots of water makes your body think that it’s fuller than it is. If you need a snack, try something healthy like nuts or veggies instead of going straight for the sugar.
3. Lock yourself out. If you’re like me, you’re never on the internet with only one tab open. Usually there are a few tabs of pertinent information along with Facebook or Twitter or sometimes both. Leaving these open – or being able to open them – is a huge distraction. This is where the Pomodoro technique comes in. You set a 25-minute timer and work, then take a five-minute break. There are lots of free apps for iPhone and Android that will mark the times for you or, if you’re a Google Chrome user, there’s a handy extension. The benefit of the extension: It literally locks you out of the websites that you use as a distraction until the time limit is up.
4. Get out of your comfort zone. If you continuously find yourself distracted while working in your bedroom, it’s time to move! Take your laptop and textbooks to the kitchen or to the library. A change of scenery makes a huge difference in productivity. You’re more likely to finish your work quickly if you know you only have a set period of time before the library closes and if you have something waiting for you at home.
5. Set a goal. Sometimes, tricking yourself into a deal is the best way to get things finished quickly. Maybe if you finish a paper, you can take a break and watch a movie or catch up on a TV show. Or, after you make note cards for that big anatomy exam, you can go get coffee with your friends. Rewarding yourself when you get things done trains your brain to work quickly so it can receive a reward and all of the endorphins that come with it.