Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Juggling Multiple Deadlines: Spreading the Love vs. Dividing and Conquering

Three papers. Five finals. So much to do, so little time.

It’s how we all feel during the last few weeks of the semester, yet we still have to manage to get it all done in the allotted amount of time.
We juggle multiple deadlines, trying to finish all of our projects and papers, hoping we don’t drop any balls.

So, how are we supposed to do that, you ask?
There are two approaches we can take. In reality, there are probably more than two, but for time’s sake I will only go through these two.
Approach #1 – Spread the Love
This approach involves working on them all a little at a time. We start by allotting ourselves a specific amount of time, say three hours (in the event there are three papers to write), and work for an hour on each paper. We can set it up like this:
                  Day 1 – Research
                  Day 2 – Reading through research and taking notes
                  Day 3 – Writing a rough draft of the papers
                  Day 4 – Revising and Turning in the papers

Do this over the span of a few days, and before we know it they will all be done!
The major problem with this approach is that not all of us are strict one to two drafters, but sometimes that is all that our schedules will allow. Also, this is not a strict schedule; there is no one way to approach this approach. In other words, make a schedule that works for you, individually, but that allows you to work on multiple projects in a day.
Approach #2: Divide and Conquer
Attack them one at a time. Work one until it is done, and then begin the next.
The problem with this strategy is that deadlines are often too close together to realistically accomplish them one at a time. But if our schedules allow for it, it can make us feel accomplished, productive, and like we’re really going somewhere instead of being stuck at the beginning of three papers with only research to show for.
These are both intense and time-consuming, but so is trying to finish all the work and studying involved in the end of the semester. It can be done. We will finish our papers. We will take our final exams. We will live through it all, and then we will celebrate the end of the semester and a job well done and enjoy the break.

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