Finals – eek!

Yep, that’s right… finals are upon us, just before winter break. My final portfolio for my current class is due on Friday, which means there’s a ton of work to be done!

Even online college students have finals… and the funny part is that Mr. Facebook can’t stand all the talk about finals! It’s hilarious! There was an article written about how much he hated it, and how Facebook users ranting about their finals has made the site nearly crash on several occasions.

I still think it’s funny =)

Now that I got that out of my system, I want to share some of the things I do to keep myself on track for final projects. These little tidbits have helped me throughout my college career, and will continue helping me to stay on task and focused throughout the rest of my college career.

I decided that I want to be a very educated person, which is why I’m now going for my BFA and later my MFA in creative writing.

My final portfolio this week has components from the entire course’s lessons, so it’s going to be a huge file of work. There was a personal essay, a poem, short fiction, and even a screenplay – all of which I have finished and am going to revise over this week.

It sounds like a lot, huh? Over the course of 8 weeks, I’ve written a LOT, which makes me extremely happy. For this week, my plan is to revise one or two pieces every day. This will ensure that I get everything done and can turn in the absolute best final portfolio ever.

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This is definitely one of the most useful tricks I’ve learned as far as getting work done goes.

Do a little bit each day

You know finals will come no matter what course or college you go to. Finals are just a part of it, that’s it. When you give yourself enough time to do a good job, it becomes much easier to knock it all out. Doing a little each day – planning your week out in your planner (I have an amazingly handy, spirally-bound weekly planner that always stays on my desk so I can write out my entire schedule, appointments, to-do lists, and anything else I might need to plan for.

Doling out tasks for each day means I don’t overwhelm myself, I can cross it off as I do it, and I don’t freak out about what I have to get done because it’s all right in front of me.

Take breaks when you need them

This is mainly for online students, but taking breaks after working for a good 45-minutes to an hour is important. Sitting

at a computer all day isn’t good for you, so taking breaks between working and just knocking out one task after another is a great way to make sure you get everything done and can then relax a bit.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should take a break every 15 minutes. But if you time yourself and work for a good, solid hour and then take a break, you’ll be amazed how much you can finish and how quickly you can get through your workday.

The power-hour

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The idea behind this concept is to knock out a good chunk of work in an hour. You are not allowed to get up until you finish it, one hour, and then you can have a break. This is an excellent method of knocking out a ton of work in neat blocks of time, and it’s a great way to manage your time and keep stress levels low. Just sit down, work for 50 minutes to an hour very intensively, and then take a 10-15 minute break.

Exercise & eat healthy foods

When I was pregnant and attending college online, I liked to eat what I call “brain food.” Brain food is things like vegetables, cereal, granola bars, PBJs, and trail mix. These foods help improve mental clarity, focus, and give you an energy boost when you need it. Along with eating brain food, it’s also important to have some sort of exercise routine in place, even if it’s something as ridiculous as running up and down the stairs a few times during breaks. Getting your blood pumping is a great way to keep focus high and maintain healthy levels of energy overall.

Hopefully some of these ideas will help you stay focused and get through your finals week! After all, you don’t get a medical assistant’s salary by freaking out or handling finals in an unhealthy way. Keep yourself managed! After all, if I could still do homework on a laptop in a hospital room right after giving birth to my son, then I know it’s definitely doable for you, too.