Every college student’s favorite thing about class is homework. Okay, not really, but it’s an unavoidable part of college that you have to learn to accept if you want to make it through the semester.

For those of us who dread doing it, homework usually gets pushed to the back of our mind until the last minute. At that point, you have to do homework from the past week or so for all of your classes and it becomes really overwhelming and stressful. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The best way to avoid getting backed up with a bunch of assignments throughout the semester is staying on top of homework from the get-go and develop good habits that will prevent homework overload. Try these tips out if you constantly find yourself drowning in a pile of homework every semester.

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Create a Routine

If your answer to the question “When do you do homework?” is “Whenever I have time,” then you might want to give this tip a try. The thing is, we tend to only “have time” for the things that we actually want to do. Most people don’t rush to go wait at the DMV or to go to the dentist. For the things in life we don’t want to do, we put them off; homework is no exception.

Instead of trying to find time, you have to make time. Set aside times during the week that you will dedicate to doing homework. Try to make it the same time every week so that you get into a habit and it just becomes part of your weekly routine.

Get an Agenda

When you were in middle school and high school, you might have been given an agenda book to keep track of when your homework was due and any details about the assignment. When you get into college, there’s a lot less hand holding and keeping track of your homework will be your responsibility. But keeping the habit of using an agenda can be really helpful.

If you don’t want to carry around a physical book, use an app to jot down all of your assignments. You can use the regular old calendar app that comes with every phone, or you can download a task management app like Trello (one of my personal favorites).

Prioritize Your Assignments

You should be trying to keep your workload to a minimum on a consistent basis. What tends to happen when you get small, short homework assignments is that you put them off thinking to yourself “I’ll be able to get it over with quickly so I’ll do it later”. The problem is that those small and easy assignments start to pile up and then you get hit with a five-page essay too. Now, you’re stressed out and overwhelmed.

In order to avoid that mess, prioritize your assignments. Do your easy, short assignments first so that you have plenty of time to complete the bigger ones over time. When you do those small assignments, you also get that feeling of accomplishment and you don’t feel like you have so much to do.

Plan Ahead

Some homework assignments might require you to go out and do something like visiting a museum or watch a movie. If you’re waiting until the last minute, you might not have the time to get everything you need for the assignment.

In an English class I took one semester, we had an assignment where we had to watch a documentary type of movie and answer some questions. We were supposed to rent the movie from the library to watch it. I put the assignment in the back of my mind and just assumed there would be a copy available to rent when I needed it. I was wrong.

When you get homework that needs some extra resources or require you to make extra arrangements, make sure you plan ahead and have everything you need to do the assignment.

Homework isn’t fun, but you have to do it. Being prepared and having good practices will make your life a lot easier and your grades a lot higher.

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