Anytime school becomes too stressful, I tell my roommate that I’m dropping out of college. This happens about twice every semester, always around midterms and finals. I would never actually drop out of college, especially now that I only have two months to go, but some weeks just push me to my limit. This past week was one of those weeks.
Whether you’re a student or not, you probably know the kind of week I’m talking about. Every deadline is rapidly approaching and every item on your to-do list seems to be of the utmost importance. It’s the kind of week where your stress and anxiety levels are at an all-time high, and there’s a possibility you’re developing an ulcer. Simply put, it’s the Week From Hell.
I’m at the tail-end of my most recent Week From Hell (courtesy of midterms), and I have to admit that I made a series of terrible choices when it came to managing this week. I had big plans to take my time and finish all my work before the weekend even began, but I failed. I put aside all of my assignments until the night before they were due and ended up handing in work that I wasn’t entirely proud of. And the week’s not even over yet! I still have work to do, and my mind is racing as I try to come up with ways to accomplish everything on time.
If you are about to embark on a Week From Hell, I urge you to take this advice and handle your week like a superstar:
- Keep your focus. It sounds obvious, but when work and homework require you to spend time online, it’s easy to get distracted. I went on a fanfiction site with plans to read the terms of service and dig around to find some background for my research paper. Instead, I read fanfiction, and lots of it. It is your responsibility to avoid distractions and link-bait. Remain strong. Only visit the websites you absolutely need to get your work done, and stay on the page you need. Rather than browsing, have a purpose! If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you’re less-likely to get caught up reading sexy “One Tree Hill” fanfiction.
- Avoid the news and social media. This goes along with keeping your focus. If you’re working on something important, don’t waste time reading your friend’s tweet or clicking the link to every article someone posts on Facebook. After I wasted valuable research time refreshing Twitter for updates on a baseball game, I forced myself to only pay attention to important current events. If it wasn’t going to affect my life or end up in a history book, I wasn’t going to read about it until I finished my work. Once I made that rule, it became easier for me to avoid the news. As it turns out, life-changing news doesn’t happen that often.
- Make a schedule. I’m usually so good with time-management, but for some reason, I’m really failing at it this semester. I blame senioritis. My agenda was blank until this past week when I only started writing in it as a way to procrastinate. If I filled my agenda earlier, I would have known since September that five big assignments were due the first week of November. I could have foreseen all of this! But I never made a schedule, and I never connected that so many papers were due around the same time. Also, if I had an updated schedule, I wouldn’t have planned a Halloween party in the middle of my Week From Hell. While I could have been completing assignments in a timely manner, I was cleaning, cooking and preparing for a party. That left me with only one after noon to finish three-fifths of my homework, and this all could have been avoided if I just updated my agenda book as soon as I found out the due dates.
- Don’t be a martyr. This is the one rule I managed to follow this week. Usually I can’t say no if a coworker asks me to cover a shift or a friend needs my help with something. I’ll say yes to most reasonable requests, but not during my Week From Hell. I was already working more hours than usual, so when a coworker asked me to cover her shift, I had to decline. I needed that time to get work done. It’s okay to say no to a request if you can’t handle it!
- Take breaks and reward yourself. If you schedule yourself properly, you will have time for breaks and rewards, so every time you accomplish something, treat yourself. You deserve a break! But don’t reward yourself with meals or anything else that is necessary to get through a day. A reward is an hour of television-time or going out for coffee, not life necessities. I rewarded myself with my first shower of the day once I finished a paper, but that was a stupid reward. Personal hygiene is a necessity, not a prize. I really set terrible examples while handling this Week From Hell!
Remember, if the stress of a busy week gets to be too much, think of something positive to inspire you to work. Usually I count down the days until the end of the week or my next vacation. And eventually the work dies down and you’ll get a chance to finally relax. You just have to finish your work so you can actually get there!