McGill Recommendations, Student Life

An ode to agendas

Midterm season is fast approaching, and an influx of exams and assignments is steadily filling our calendars. As tasks pile up, managing deadlines gets even more daunting. But don’t worry; there’s no need to hit the panic button just yet! Here are some tips to help you tackle those deadlines, stay on top of your schedule, and manage your time efficiently.

Keeping track of deadlines

Remembering everything you need to complete might seem challenging, but keeping a written list of your assignments and their due dates is the best way to stay on top of your schoolwork. Having a clear record of your responsibilities will reduce stress and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. 

The key to successful to-do lists is organizing each task into manageable steps. Start by evaluating the upcoming week and listing your most important tasks and deadlines. Then, focus on each individual day and make a list of achievable goals. It’s important to set realistic expectations, as overloading your schedule with unattainable tasks will only lead to frustration and decreased motivation. By taking small steps and establishing feasible objectives, you’ll experience an increase in productivity and motivation. The satisfaction of completing your daily goals will give you the drive to tackle the next day. 

Sacha Maitre, U3 Arts, is a big believer in making lists. 

“Times like these can feel overwhelming, and lists are the first step into relieving stress,” Maitre said. “Doing this clears your mind on what needs to be done.” 

Prioritization is next up on the organizational to-do list. If you have smaller tasks that don’t require too much time, try to squeeze those in between two classes or at times when you feel a bit more tired, to get them out of the way. This will leave you more time for larger assignments and longer revisions during library study sessions. 

Tips for time management

Wisely managing your time during exam season is essential for maintaining a balance between school and your personal life. This goes hand in hand with the organizational tips mentioned earlier. By maximizing your time during the day and leaving some blank slots in your week for personal pursuits, you’ll be able to balance your workload while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, make sure to allocate time for self-care activities like spending time with friends, exercising, cooking, and getting enough sleep. 

Mira Almrstani, U3 Arts, stresses the importance of holding a regular sleep schedule during exam season. 

“The time to wake up sets the tone for the entire day, and helps you stay organized and motivated,” Almrstani told The McGill Tribune. “Getting up earlier in the morning means getting things done and out of the way.”

Hard copy agendas or online planners?

Various types of calendars can help you keep track of your deadlines. While some will find it useful to have an online agenda on their laptops, others will opt for hard-copy planners. Maitre is a big advocate for writing things down. 

“It reassures me to write down my to-do lists instead of typing it on a computer,” Maitre said. “It feels more liberating to actually jot it down on a piece of paper.”

Although Maitre has leaned more towards the more material side, Almrstani has been using the note-taking application called Notion

“At the start of every semester, I usually organize my deadlines and readings on Notion. There I can create separate pages and folders for each class,” Almrstani explained. “As the semester rolls out it’s like I created a mini textbook for each course that I can go back to and study.” 

Other great online options include Google Calendar or Microsoft To-Do. But whether you choose digital or old-school lists, they are bound to boost your motivation every time you check off a task. From my agenda to yours, a to-do list reassures!

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