4 tips for getting ahead after falling behind
So ‘it’ happened. You got sick, you scheduled too much at once, you had a bad day (or week). We’ve all been there and it sucks. And now you’re behind and you’re feeling overwhelmed. These are just a few tips I have for getting back on track (and hopefully ahead) after falling behind.
- If you are behind on homework it’s time to prioritize. You’re at a point where it might be worth it to let the tiny assignments that aren’t worth very much sit on the back burner until you’ve dealt with the important stuff. So what are your priorities?
- Do you have work in a class that you’re doing really well in and you feel like you can set it aside and hand it in late, or you can afford to miss the assignment without screwing up your final grade? Great, set it aside and leave that stress for later.
- Do you have work in a class you’re terrified of failing? Okay, focus in on that. If you don’t eliminate the chief point of stress first you’re going to find it very hard to focus on anything else.
- Do you have exams coming up that you haven’t studied for? This is rough but you need to decide whether sleep or studying is better for you. There’s no wrong choice here; it’s different for everyone. I am a ‘needs sleep’ person but my roommate is a ‘stay up and get shit done’ person. If you know you can’t function without a decent amount of sleep then ixnay the idea of an all night all together.
- Now that you’ve figured that out it’s time to focus; what topics are you doing the worst in? Get started on figuring out what it is you don’t know.
- Also make sure to write down what you do know and keep looking over that constantly so you don’t lose the knowledge you already have.
- Now figure out what methods you actually have time for; if you’re in a crunch you may not have time for flashcards. I find that when it a crunch it’s helpful to essentially begin compiling a cheat sheet.
- Write down everything you could possibly need for the exam as though you were going to be able to take it into the exam. Make it clear! Make it easy to glance at! Don’t waist time on making it look pretty!
- As you go through creating the sheet make sure that you would know what kind of problem or topic that the concept/formula would go with and how you would use it to solve a problem.
- The above means that you aren’t just copying over formulas, dates, quotes, etc.; You are committing the CONTEXT to your memory and if need be to your sheet.
- Is the problem reading? Heaven knows that’s been mine this week! First thing first: READ for the NEXT class. Don’t start with what you should’ve read last week; playing catch up is stressful and means that you may do a ton of work and still not be prepared for the next class.
- If you come across parts that don’t make sense because you haven’t read the earlier stuff skip back and skim those bits.
- Once you’ve read for the next class you can decide what the best option is for continuing.
- Either start at the back end of what you’re behind on or work your way backwards.
- Is it an essay? Is it more than one? Okie doke. Break those kiddos down into the sections you think you need; intro, para 1, para 2, etc, conclusion.
- Alright, now give those sections titles and maybe like a brief summary.
- Okay now you’re ready; pick one section from one of your papers to start on. It doesn’t have to be the intro you just need to get started. I like to start with ones that require a bit of research on my part so that I can really get the ball rolling and start collecting articles.
- Then you should either set a timer for about thirty minutes and switch off every time the timer goes off, or (my preferred method) write until you finish the section before deciding which one to work on next.
- The real key is making sure that you change sections when you find yourself losing steam even if it’s in the middle of a sentence. Sometimes I start a sentence and then forget where I was going with it and it throws off the whole game so by changing sections you allow yourself to refresh and come back with new eyes.
That’s what I’ve got for now, I hope that some of this helps. I also want to remind you that you are not a bad person for getting behind whatever the reason was. Sometimes it happens even when you’re paying attention so try not to worry too much about it! If you find yourself getting overwhelmed and way too stressed out remember to let yourself breath and walk away for a few minutes. I wish you the best of luck and my ask/messenger is always open if you need anything.