Four ways to prioritise what matters

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As you approach the end of your first unit, you’re probably feeling a wide range of emotions: excitement, pride, and of course… stressed.
During this very busy time, the best thing you can do to clear your mind and tackle stress is to properly prioritise.

 

Be strategic about prioritising

During end-of-unit stress, it’s easy to rush to do everything at once without rhyme or reason. Instead of panicking, a better choice is to develop a strategy for tackling your goals.

Take a step back and review what is most important. Which deadline is soonest? Which assignment will most impact your final mark? Are there some tasks you need to do before you can move on to others? Which assignments are less important or will require less time or brainpower? Are there personal or work commitments you can cut back on to make more time for study?

Once you’ve determined what is most important, create a timeline for completing each task and use your Monash Study Time Planner to stay on track. This planning tool will help you identify gaps in your schedule that can be attributed to study, or help you work which other daily activities can be readjusted in favour of finding more time for your priority areas of study.

 

Be an optimist

With only a week left, you may be worried that you won’t be able to complete everything perfectly. Rather than becoming frustrated, take some pressure off by staying positive and accepting that all you can do is your best.

Although you might be incredibly uncomfortable and stressed at the moment, your passions and goals are worth it. Your discomfort will be temporary, but your postgraduate degree will powerfully impact your future and provide you with ongoing fulfillment. Keep your original goal front of mind even if you have to write on a post-it note.

 

Take time to re-energise

Although you may have to push yourself and put in more study time than usual this week, constant study is not beneficial. Your brain needs time to rest and re-energise to work efficiently. When you complete a task or a day of study, take time out and offer yourself a reward.

Whether you take a long bath, go for a walk, listen to music you love, or have dinner with friends, taking care of yourself will help you unwind and gather energy for your next round of study. In addition, prioritising sleep has been shown to help students do better on exams. Making time for exercise and remembering to eat right will also help you feel and perform your best.

 

Lean on your support network

Hopefully, by this point in your unit, you have a strong support network in place, including study buddies, friends, family, and your employer. During the last week, rely on your support network.

If you’re confused about an assignment, share notes or brainstorm ideas with your peers. Sharing knowledge is one of the most effective ways to study because it helps you better understand course content.

In addition, whether you’re stressed, excited, or a bit of both, let your friends and family in on your feelings. This will help them better support you and root you on as you enter the final stretch.