Deadlines are inevitable. We face the dreaded deadline countdown almost every day of our academic lives. But does having a deadline actually make us more productive? Or is it just a psychological mechanism used to make us feel worse about our work ethic than we already do? In most cases, it does in fact make us work harder.
But do we use the construct of the ‘deadline’ to our advantage enough?
If our lecturers and tutors told us to ‘do the assignment only if we wanted to’ would we ever do it? No. I know I wouldn’t even think about doing it. So would we ever really learn anything if we didn’t do the assigned work? Again the answer is no.
Doing something that isn’t a necessity seems ridiculous to most of us so we’d put the work to the back of our agenda and leave it there for eternity.
So, do I advocate for deadlines? In some ways, yes. Having a deadline put on something immediately associates the work with importance. If you’re work is due in a week, it’s probably not going to top the list of important things you need to do. But if you’re work is due at 12pm and its now 9.45 pm then everything else goes out the window and you’ll solely dedicate yourself to that one task. Is that fair on your other work and yourself? No but you left it to the last minute so it’s solely your fault. That is an unavoidable truth.
Sure, procrastinating to the point of wanting to cry is not healthy or stress relieving but without deadlines we’d never learn or study or be on time or grow.
Now, there is a difference between a healthy deadline and a panic-inducing deadline. Taking advantage of a deadline is a must if you want to avoid a caffeine fuelled panic. We’ve been there and no one should ever have to endure such torture so quit procrastinating.
If you have a project due at the end of the week make it your business to start the previous Friday or the Monday morning. Do the work in small manageable chunks and it won’t seem so bad. Everything is doable if you break it down.
Instead of taking that nap you don’t really deserve or the third trip to the Students Union this week for pints go to the library, the common room or your bedroom and actually do some work. Future you will be grateful that you quit the excuses and handed in your work on time.
Deadlines are the only way we would ever get anything done. Yes they are demons that can ruin our social lives but they are the only way we’d get those grades we deserve so accept that deadlines exist and make the most of your time and you’ll be grand.