Stress and study: How I keep focus under pressure

14 Mar 2018,
By Lauryn M., Student at University of Exeter

Some people work well under stress, and others can’t cope at all. And then there are the people in-between who don’t love it or hate it, but manage to get through okay. If you didn’t know which camp you were in before you moved to university, I’m sure it will have become evident by now.

As much as we like to pretend the start of a new term means becoming organised and giving ourselves weeks to meet a deadline, we’ve all been in the situation where we are still frantically writing the day before an essay’s due (if you haven’t had to do this, well done - I am impressed).

So, how can you make sure any stress you feel doesn’t decrease your productivity levels?

We’ve all been in the situation where we are still frantically writing the day before an essay’s due

I’ve mastered a few ways of getting the work done without having to pull any all-nighters. Here they are:

1) Use your time efficiently

You can get more done in two hours of focused work than you can in six half-hearted hours scrolling through Instagram. I am a big fan of Forest app, which sets timers for me to work and plants trees while I stay focused. If I leave the app to do another pointless Twitter scroll, a tree dies. I also find that tracking my study time makes me aware of when to take breaks and when to push myself a little harder.

2) Turn off the group chat notifications

The group chat we have for our course gets incredibly stressful when people are asking lots of questions, because it makes me worry that I don’t know enough. Just mute it, and focus on your own work.

3) Make to-do lists

One of the main things I do during exams and when working towards a deadline is make to-do lists. It’s quicker than a revision table (which, let’s be honest, you’ll never actually use) and ticking things off my list makes me so much more motivated to get things done. I use Google Keep to stay on top of my to-do lists but there’s nothing wrong with putting pen to paper.

University will be stressful sometimes, but you can cope with that stress if you remember to give yourself breaks and don’t be too hard on yourself.

It’s all a learning curve. And having the willpower to say no to a fourth Wetherspoons trip in a row will definitely help.

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We’ve all been in the situation where we are still frantically writing the day before an essay’s due
By Lauryn M.
Student at University of Exeter