How to: Start Your Final Papers Early
So, you finished all your midterms? You’re feeling extra liberated? So relaxed that you spent this entire past weekend… Having fun? Absolutely unacceptable! (Just kidding — relax and remember that school isn’t everything).
It’s time to sit down and face reality. You have two papers, a capstone project, a presentation, and a final coming up, and I know what you want to do. I know you want to leave the papers to the last possible minute, because well, don’t we all.
But if you want to have some peace of mind and enjoy Harvard-Yale, Thanksgiving Break, and Reading Week a little bit more so that every week before winter break isn’t yet another “Hell Week,” here’s your guide on how to not procrastinate on all those pages of writing.
Step 1: Lie to yourself.
The paper is due next Monday? No, the paper is due this Friday. You have another paper due Friday? That due date is now Wednesday. Fake it (earlier deadlines) till you make it (the real deadline). Get yourself to start early, no matter what it takes!
Step 2: Make a schedule.
Break up the work over a few days. Brainstorm your thesis today, do the outline tomorrow. But if you’re like me… then it’s time to put on your PJs & head to Lamont on Monday morning and not come out till the next day. If the paper is done early, does it really matter how you get it done? The answer is no. (Ok, it matters a little, but we’re not worrying about that right now.)
Step 3: Set your alarm for 5 a.m. everyday (JK).
Obviously, this is going to work especially after you went to bed at 3 a.m. and have a 9 a.m. I’m just kidding, please don’t try this at home. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t get any productive work done. Eight hours of sleep is key.
Step 4: Book out the Smith Campus Center meeting rooms.
Lock yourself in there all day (or for the 2 hour max booking). Bring your phone, laptop, speakers, popcorn, soda… wait a second, Shang-Chi is on Disney Plus for free now? Don’t be like me and do this to yourself: make sure to be in a distraction-free environment every time you work on your paper. Motivate yourself by booking a room or scheduling a work date with yourself in Widener.
Step 5: Work with friends? Maybe rethink that choice...
Work with friends? Absolutely not. Not even your latest section crush. I don’t care how nice they are— they can edit the paper after it’s done.
Step 6: Start beef.
Who said you have to start the paper with the introduction? No one ever. Write your counter argument. Let it all out. Start with whatever concept you feel most confident about to really get the ball rolling. Just write. Don’t think.
Step 7: Bonus: Reference “Should You Drink That Coffee At 4 a.m.”
Energize. Write. Sleep. Repeat. Finish work. You got this! Get that paper done early.
Honestly, if you can finish the paper two hours before the deadline — I’m proud of you and you should be too! It is not easy keeping up with deadlines and starting early can feel impossible. Hopefully, with these tips, Flyby can help you ace your final papers! Relax, take a deep breath, and get started.