Q: In one week, how do you write 600 pages and study for 18 tests?

A: One hour at a time.

When you think about how much you have to tackle during finals, it’s daunting. Instead, you need to think about each piece of each assignment as a separate task. If you plan your week (or even just your day tomorrow) according to these goals, it’ll keep you on track to be stress free.

Plan about a day in advance. It’s probably too optimistic to plan your St. Patrick’s Day right now. Too many Car Bombs will surprise you to keep that schedule rigid. Same goes for finals week — don’t over-plan, because unexpected deadlines will shift. But definitely do it the night before, at the latest. 

Visualize your day in blocks. You should use a calendar program or a hand-written grid that displays your day in blocks (see that image on the right?). That way, you can visualize where the gaps are — and plan the gaps, so they’re before tests that need cramming. 

Keep the blocks under two hours. Studies show that after 90 minutes of studing or writing a paper, your brain shrinks to 1/10th the size.** Seriously – you’ll slow down a lot after a long studying binge. And keeping your blocks relatively short will force you to use time wisely. 

Get two things done before noon. (Besides brushing your teeth and shotgunning a beer.) The window between breakfast and lunch closes quickly. By scheduling two things before noon, you can be realistic about a wake-up time and feel fulfilled before your roommate even hits the snooze button. 

Schedule your breaks too. Budget time to work out, get coffee, or socialize. These stopping points will serve as rewards to push you through the menial tasks. That way, when it’s time for a block of studying, you’ll be figuratively hitting the books, rather than literally.

** Some studies on HackCollege are completely fabricated based on ones we think we’ve heard before. Deal with it.