So you have a really important research paper coming up for a class in your major. You’re trying to budget your time, but you have another paper for one of your “McDaniel Plan” classes due the same week. You begin to panic. What do you do? How can you get them both finished? And, how can you possibly do well on both of them?
Have no fear. Nothing is impossible. Here are a few tips for balancing multiple papers at a time:
- Plan ahead. This is the best way to prevent yourself from having a panic attack and feeling overwhelmed. Look at your schedule as far in advance as possible (preferably at least a few weeks) and beginning blocking off time for each paper.
- Evaluate and prioritize. Chances are a twenty-page senior research thesis is going to take you more time—and count for a larger portion of your grade—than a three-page reflection. Look at each syllabus and determine how much time you think you’ll need to spend on each paper. Give yourself more time for longer papers or papers that count for large portions of your grade.
- But, don’t sacrifice one paper for another. If you’ve budgeted your time wisely, you won’t end up in this predicament. Make sure that you are giving each paper the attention that it deserves so that you can do your best work. Don’t spend so much time on one paper that you have to try to pull an all-nighter to do another.
- Take breaks in between working on papers. Don’t try to work on multiple writing assignments consecutively. Basically, don’t work on one paper for a lengthy period of time and then immediately try to work on the next. Your brain needs time to shift focus, and you don’t want to run out of steam.
- Stay focused. Make sure to separate the subject matter and requirements for each paper in your mind, so that you don’t get confused. This will be easy if you keep a post-it note with your thesis and list of requirements for each paper on your laptop or notebook.
- Don’t get overwhelmed. As soon as you begin to feel defeated, you will begin to sacrifice the quality of at least one of your papers. Stay calm, keep your focus, and give each paper your all.
- As always, come visit us at the Writing Center. We can help you with brainstorming, proofreading, and writing for any and all of your assignments.
-Rebekah, peer tutor