How to stop being a last-minute person

August 31, 2016
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I have a confession. If it weren’t for the very last minute (I’m talking Masterchef time here with Matt yelling, “Sixty seconds left, get everything onto the plate”), I would never get anything done. I breathe, live and consume those final glorious 60 seconds, to the very end of my being.

I know it’s not an entirely attractive trait in a human and my dear mother tends to agree too. Last semester I started and completed a 4000 word essay worth 40% of my final grade in one day (I hope none of my uni lecturers are reading this).

If you’re one of the lucky ones who have monthly planners from Smiggle, post-it notes in bubblegum colours and the ability to move through assessments like you’re sailing on the harbour on a blissful day, good for you (but also please teach me).

As for the rest of you, here are some tricks to stop those day-before essays, exam cramming and note-taking. Instead of always leaving everything until that last golden minute, let’s learn how to use at least the last two minutes…

Stay off social media

We know that social media is an integral part of time wasting, yet somehow we still can’t stop spending endless hours scrollin’ through the feed.

Time is precious and something that we need to remind ourselves not to not take for granted. So let’s limit the time we spend on social media and use all those wonderful minutes we’ve accumulated elsewhere, like towards uni work, sleep or drinking rosé.

Wake up earlier

Your alarm is possibly the worst sound to hear in the morning when the sky is still a clear navy blue and even your slipper socks won’t warm up your toes. However, the benefits of waking up earlier on a regular basis have been proven time and time again. Early morning people are more likely to be productive, successful, exercise more frequently and are generally happier.

This isn’t just because you’re getting more hours into your day. Waking up on the right side of the bed and starting your day on a good note can flow into a momentum of goodness that will hopefully result into you getting to the bus on time.

Write lists

I’m all about them lists. To-do lists, short-term and long-term goals lists and even a list of sh*t that needs to be done ASAP. Regardless of whether you mark one of five things off your list, the benefits are in the act of writing it. This helps you to reflect on your priorities, such as work that needs to be done, things you need to do and places you need to see.

This also applies to writing down the dates of upcoming university assessments. You don’t want to get a big smack in the face when you glance at the course outline and you read the due date for the assessment is… tomorrow.

Engage in positive, self-motivational talk

As humans, we’re interesting, sometimes spectacular, complex and yet always flawed. The reality is some of us are better at being on time (not me) than others. It supposedly takes 21 days to form a habit, so if you tap into your willpower and keep up the motivation, you may sooner or later be on time. To put it into perspective, if we’re capable of biomedical engineering, we can be on time.

When all else fails and you’re still running late, pull up your socks, drink copious amounts of coffee and get crackin’ as you still have one last minute left.

And you better make it a good one.

Avril Treasure

Avril studies Journalism at Notre Dame in Sydney. In her spare time she enjoys playing cards with her grandfather, drinking one too many margaritas and pondering hypothetical questions.

Image: Leo Hidalgo, Flickr Creative Commons license