5 tips to meet your Assessment Deadlines during the Covid19- Study from home period

As a lecturer I get multiple emails daily from students who are concerned they cannot meet their deadlines for assignments.

But now, we have time more than ever to get things done -so why can’t we stick to our deadlines?

The answer to that is our old friend ‘Procrastination’.

I have been teaching Tourism, Hospitality & Business for about 6 years now, and today I understand that you are in need of support to help manage your time.   In my educational career, I have seen all types of students-

  • The planners,
  • The doers,
  • The last-minute pressure cookers.

But now as an educator I understand that you students are not just physically busy, but mentally occupied through various distractions and concerns caused by the challenges of the Covid-19 virus restrictions.

So hopefully I can try to bring you to a central focus point and get you started and continuing working towards your dreams and careers by excelling in your studies.

If you are concerned about meeting your deadlines, these 5 tips will help you stay on the target no matter what:

1.      Make a timetable and stick it right in front of you

Planning is a vital skill in exceling anything. I always say, ‘Plan’ your answers before you start writing your exams or assessments. This skill involves getting a real or virtual timetable and planning your entire term out. Mark the dates with your assessment due dates in RED, and then mark the date 2 days before in YELLOW. Yellow should be the date you promised yourself that you will finish your assessment as if its ready to be submitted. So that gives you two days to ask questions to your lecturer/ tutor for any changes (if they allow consultations) or use it for edit edit edit. Sit with your assessment and think- “Now how can I make this better?”

Print your timetable and put it somewhere near your regular study space so it is in front of you all the time. If you have a virtual timetable, make it your desktop background. So, every time you are tempted to open YouTube or Netflix, it will remind you to stay on track.

Remember that L2 Resource centre is still open for any further support you would like with your assignments.

2.      Set a permanent study space

This tip requires a bit of organisation skills. Whether it’s your dining table or study desk, have a permanent study area. Let your mind know that this area is ‘Dedicated’ just for studies. Even if it is your dining table, have a different chair for studies and different one for eating your meals, that way you do not confuse yourself with these tasks.

Keep everything handy when you sit on your study desk, so you are not tempted to keep walking around the house looking for things every 10 minutes. Keep your pen/pencil, study notes, chargers, box of tissue, water bottle handy. So that way you only need to get up once per hour to stretch and walk it off. This will enable your mind to be prepared to use the space ONLY for your studies.

3.      Dress as if you’re about to go to class

Dressing is another psychological factor that helps protect you from procrastination. If you sit to study for 2-4 hours daily with your clothes and shoes that you would wear to classes, it will psychology prepare you to study. Yes, wear shoes when you are studying, it helps. Never been dressed too comfortable, and definitely not in your pyjamas. You will never have the right mindset and within 30 minutes you will find an excuse to get back to the couch or bed.  Dressing up will make you feel good about yourself, and thus, you will want to study more. Nobody would spend 15 minutes dressing up to study only for an hour, so that will help you study longer. Yes, no one is watching you, but at least mentally you will be prepared for a successful study session.

I always tell my students during online classes, Dress to Impress. If you are not camera ready, you will not be in the mindset to put in the efforts needed.

4.      Set goals and objectives which are achievable
Set yourself in calendar, daily tasks and to-do lists. If you have a 3000-word assignment report due end of the month, plan it out. Each week finish 1000 words for three weeks and in the final week fine tune it. Do not cram all your assessments in a week, spread it out on different days so it ensures variety. Break down all your assessment tasks into small objectives and then set targets and deadlines to achieve them. If you fail to achieve them, give up your time from something you like for example- miss an episode on TV of one of your favourite shows.  This will enable you to realise that missing deadlines and targets have consequences and thus you are better off trying to stick to your deadlines. There is nothing wrong with being a little tough on yourself.

5.      Reward yourself

Also, do not forget to reward yourself. Everyday have a little reward system set for something you enjoy but is only given to you if you stick to your targets and do a good job at your assignments. For example- pick a movie or have a series that you wish to continue watching on Netflix, but you will only watch it once you finish your assessment tasks set for that day. Also, for days when you have finally finished your assessment tasks, is the day you will be allowed to open that box of ice-cream from your freezer which you bought a few days ago. Or promise your good friend that you will have a video call once your finish your assessment tasks.
Having rewards for yourself is linked to performance. You excel and stick to your targets, you get rewarded, just like any workplace. Do not reward yourself unnecessarily, only when you feel like you have done better than what you expected. It will help you also be a good self-evaluator.

So, use these tools to try and get ahead of the time and ensure that in these challenging times you do not procrastinate. Avoid having any distractions while studying, and ensure you are meeting your deadlines. Remember, your lecturers are humans too, they totally understand what you as students are going through. Having consultations with them will make you feel ensured about your studies. Use these tools, succeed and rise above all the adversities and do well. Stay safe.

Vizak Gagrat

Lecturer

Tourism, Hospitality, Business and Education Discipline

James Cook University, Brisbane.