Your Guide to Finals Without All-Nighters

For whatever reason, all-nighters have become popular around my college campus. It's becoming almost cool to have more all-nighters under your belt than the person next to you! I don't know who started this trend, but I am so against it it hurts. 

My junior year of high school (arguably my most productive year of life e v e r) I discovered the art of Time Management! Time management isn't just using the time your given to get all your work done, it's about making your day the most beneficial day to both your to-do list and to yourself in a timely manner. 

The countdown to finals is coming up fast for so many of us (mine start in 8 days!) and stress levels are high. I've found finals week, especially in spring, to be the week where literally everyone gets a cold: your stressed, seasons are changing, pollen count is high, and everyone is in lecture again which means it's packed full of germ-y people. Adding several all-nighters into this equation is like asking your body to shut down right before you need it the most. 

A finals week without all nighters is possible with just a few simple time management steps:

| train yourself to start sleeping earlier | 

Two weeks before my junior year in high school I decided I was sick of feeling so annoyed in the morning when I woke up and making my carpool late. So, I decided to start 'training' myself to sleep early. I was a chronic night-owl so going to bed before midnight was unheard of, but suddenly at the start of the year I found myself in bed by 9:30 and usually asleep by 10. 

By creating a nighttime routine, and starting it earlier and earlier each night, I re-cycled myself. You know, like parents do to new born babies who are basically nocturnal. 

I started noticing how much more energy I had during the day, how focused I was, and how I actually started to enjoy track practice after class. My early nights didn't stop at college. Getting to bed before 10 is my favorite thing to do, and I try to do it at least five days a week. 

| make the most of your your 9-5 | 

When I got to college and realized that my school didn't provide an itinerary for me, I had to come up with a plan. My plan was treat everyday like a work-day. If I have a morning class my day begins when class does and ends at 5. If I don't have a morning class I try to be up, dressed and coffee in hand by 9 to start tackling the day. 

This does NOT mean I'm spending literally 8 hours in the library all day. I usually have 2 classes per day which help break it up, and the rest of the day I fill in with little blocks of time. I try to set a block for each class to review what I have going on that week and if there are any assignments. If there are I either do them, or start them. If I don't have anything to do for one particular class, I move on to a different one. 

If for whatever reason I've finished all work and class, and it's still not 5 I take a walk around campus, sit outside, go to the campus center, or maybe [not so often] go to the gym. 

Staying out of your room during the day makes your day a lot more productive! Whenever I go back to my room I want to nap, resist the urge or you'll nap until noon the next day and get nothing done. 

| develop a list making system | 

I like to make a master list of all the major assignments I have to do for all my classes before the next exam on a piece or two of loose paper. I paperclip it inside my agenda so that I can see what has to get done and break it up amongst the days when my schedule may be a little less packed. 

Find a system that works for you; digital, an agenda, post-it notes. Literally anything, but as long as you write just your major tasks down, you'll feel a lot less stressed. 

If I'm uber stressed I get really crazy and write actually every single thing I have to do for the next two weeks - it looks like a novel. 

| schedule a break | 

If you don't make time in the day to get outside or watch that episode of Grey's you've been dying to see, you'll resent your 9-5. 

I love laying outside when it's nice here and reading a book or watching a show, but if it's cold or rainy I'll sit in our library's coffee shop and eat some lunch while I read or watch tv for 1 episode length (30 minutes - an hour.)

| don't forget about yourself | 

It's easy to forget to do stuff for you when your so close to finals, but take the time. Treat yo self to an at-home manicure; go see that movie on discount Tuesday that you forgot to see last month; take a drive or two to Starbucks and Chipotle and get some pick-me-up food. Don't let stress make you forget about you. 

How are you guys preparing for finals?

xoxo

AME