How to Focus on Homework and Get it Done Before Your Deadline
Possibly one of the most daunting scenarios in high school or college is being assigned a detailed project, like a term paper, that is due in a few months. The immediate reaction many have is to simply shelve the project until later, which is a big mistake. Another reaction can be feeling so overwhelmed by the depth of the project that you simply stall, not taking any action.
Every project is doable, finishable, and even easy if you approach it correctly. You can get your homework assignments done before your deadlines by using a simple planning strategy and sticking to it. This can be helpful for students who:
- Have trouble getting started. You know you need to begin the project, you just don’t know how. How do you start a ten page term paper? Can you build a science project without researching first? What’s the correct order? These types of questions can cause a student to hesitate instead of starting the project immediately.
- Have trouble staying the course. Maybe you’re a great starter and a not so awesome finisher. You come out of the gate hot, and burn out mid way. This method of planning can help you keep on track and finish the project just as strong as you started.
- Can’t seem to focus. We’ve all been there. We’re just going to turn on the television for a moment while we write. Two hours later we’ve watched four sitcoms and written two paragraphs of a twenty page paper. Keeping focused can be difficult even for the most diligent students if the atmosphere isn’t conducive to studying.
- Can’t figure out how to get the work done in an orderly fashion. Do you research first? Gather materials? Start writing or building? If you have trouble determining the order of operations for your project, this method will help.
The most important thing to remember is that homework has a deadline, and you don’t have to wait until that deadline to do it. Taking your project in small doses is a way to get the job done without burning out and keeping fresh every time you sit down to work. Here are a few ways to get more focused on your homework and ensure you get it done before the deadline.
Plan Your Attack
Determine what needs to be done to complete your homework, and approximate how much time you will need to do each item. For instance, if you have a research paper, you’ll need time to:
- Visit the library;
- Research and copy sources;
- Create a rough draft;
- Edit your draft;
- Type your final paper; and
- Edit and finalize your final paper.
You should list these items in order so that you in turn will complete them in order.
Establish Your Timeline<
Get out a blank sheet of paper and write down the due date of your most current homework project. Determine how many days that gives you to work on your assignment. You may need to pull out a calendar so you can see what days you’ll actually have to commit to working on it. There may be days you have filled with appointments or other classes that prevent you from working on your assignment, so you shouldn’t count those days in the overall time you have to finish the work.
Once you have figured out how many days you can work on your project, establish a timeline. If you need two solid days for research, determine where you can carve out that time in your schedule. Assign tasks to each date you have available to work on your project, so that each day you will know what you need to get done.
Make sure you don’t “overbook” or overwork yourself. The whole idea of planning ahead is giving yourself enough time to take your homework in small portions so you don’t feel as though you have to do too much at one time. This is what makes homework feel overwhelming. Plan to focus on your work for one to two hours at a time before you take a solid break or put it away for the day.
Create a Study Space
Aside from researching in the library, you’ll need a place to study and work on your project that is free from outside distractions. You also need to ensure this spot is comfortable and works ergonomically so you aren’t losing focus because something doesn’t feel or work right.
- Grab a comfortable chair. A bean bag chair is a great option for handling homework, because it provides you a place to sit upright and stay comfortable while remaining focused. You won’t continually be switching positions because the hard back chair you’re sitting in just isn’t comfy, you’ll actually be able to focus better.
- Make sure your devices are secure. If you’re using a device like a smartphone or tablet to watch research videos, presentations, or participate in a virtual class, you’ll need a device holder. A device holder holds your device so you can work hands free. This allows you to watch a video or participate in a Zoom study session while using your hands to flip pages in a textbook or type into another device.
Make sure your device holder can hold your device safely and securely in either landscape or portrait mode. Many device holders only offer one option, which may not be conducive to your needs.
- Remove outside noise. While some people focus better with light music or ambient noise, almost no one can focus in an area where there are several different conversations happening within earshot or a television begging for your attention. Your study space should be quiet and calm.
Stay on Track
If you have trouble remaining diligent, we’re talking to you. It’s essential to keep on track and stick to your original timeline. Getting behind means you have to do double duty the next time you sit down to study. That makes your homework seem overwhelming and somewhat unbearable.
Instead, drive yourself to complete the tasks you have in a timely fashion so you don’t get behind. If you’ve broken up your project into small, manageable portions, this shouldn’t be an issue. If you are simply working a little at a time, you shouldn’t get burned out. We experience burnout when we have to do too much all at once.
If you are afraid you’ll lose motivation and steam and end up procrastinating until the end, try the reward system with yourself. Offer yourself some type of reward incentive for completing certain tasks and staying on schedule. For instance, maybe you go to a movie you’ve been wanting to see if you finish your studying for the day, or go visit a friend, spend a day at the beach, or order a new shirt. Whatever it is, it should be enough to keep you pushing forward to check the next due date box.
As you near the end of your homework, it can be very tempting to sideline it until the last minute. Maybe you simply need to retype a paper, or check one or two more resources. Whatever it is, don’t put it off. There’s no accounting for emergencies or other things you might want to spend your time on. If you’ve put off your homework until the eleventh hour and then get invited to do something fun with friends, you might have to pass. However, if you’ve stayed on course, you can easily join them.
Finishing strong also means not giving a half effort as you near the finish line. Even though you may be tired of working on a particular assignment, give it the same attention you did when you first began to ensure the quality of your work product. This could mean the difference in a passing or failing grade.
How to Make it Fun
Completing homework might not be the most fun you’ve ever had in your life, but it doesn’t have to be a total drag, either. Simply creating a study space that is inviting and enjoyable can make a huge difference. CordaRoy’s can help by offering you the best bean bags available on the market. Our bean bag chairs are not only superior in comfort and quality to our competitors, they’re also incredibly affordable and stylish.
The best part of owning a CordaRoy’s is the secret bed inside. If you find yourself up late studying and would be more comfortable spreading out, simply unpack the mattress from your CordaRoy’s bean bag chair and you’ve got a ready-made bed that’s perfect for getting in a few more chapters before you finish for the evening.
You can also keep the mood light and remain focused by having your favorite snacks and drinks available. Nothing is quite as distracting as being hungry and trying to concentrate while your stomach says, “Feed me now!” Stave off your study hunger pangs by having a basket of snacks nearby so you don’t have to break concentration to grab a bite to eat.
You can get your homework done easily, stay focused, and finish before your deadline by simply adopting a plan of action that delineates your work, breaks up the load, keeps you on track, and keeps you comfortable.