This assignment will be the end of me.
Two hours before submission and I was still working on the discussion. If only I’d started a week earlier I wouldn’t have come to the library today to work on it. Plus I could’ve gotten a better mark.
Would I have gotten a better mark?
Nope. That’s where I was wrong.
There are two ways to getting assignments done effectively and on time. And they are both based on one truism:
The quality of your finished assignment is independent of how much time you had to complete it in.
An assignment takes a certain amount of hours to complete. Past a certain point, any additional input of time and effort will result in incremental increases in marks (80/20 rule).
Keeping this in mind, let’s say you’re given a one week deadline to do a lab report. It requires 6 hours of pure work to complete adequately, resulting in a mark above 80 percent.
Procrastinate for a while and allow it to become a mental monster, eating up your attention and ultimately your sanity before you start working on it a few days before submission. You postpone other study and commitments in the name of ‘doing’ your assignment and end up falling behind in everything…
Or, you could apply one of two techniques:
1) Set an artificial deadline and finish the assignment within the allotted timeframe. Give yourself only one day to do the assignment, using the time pressure to increase focus and efficacy (Parkinson’s Law).
2) Delay starting the assignment until 24 hours before submission date. This gives the same effect as the first technique, except the deadline is real – there’s no backing out of this one.
The first technique will allow you to finish 6 days early – but requires greater willpower. The second, you run the risk of overwhelm and complete mental and emotional breakdown.