For the most part, whenever it comes to finals week I am cramming in my final paper over the last day or two of class. Which stresses me out. However, something happened last week and I started getting my assignments finished before they were due. This week is the final week of classes and I have completed everything for one class and only have the final paper to do in the other class. I have never been this far ahead and it feels amazing.

Stop procrastinating! I know, I know… “but I work best under pressure!” I used to say the same thing. And while I used to believe it was for the best, I have realized that it isn’t. I don’t know what clicked inside of my mind to say, “I’m going to get this stuff finished tonight, instead of waiting another day or two.” But whatever it was, it’s the best thing that has happened to me in a while.

I know that while we can’t always plan out our lives and do everything in advance, I do know that a big majority of our lives is planned far enough in advance that we can get things done early. The due dates aren’t there as a “This has to be done on this day… no sooner or later” but rather it is a date to make sure it is done by. However, how many times have you had to stay up late the night before cramming for a final, finishing up a presentation, or writing the last pages of a paper? I know I have done it numerous times, and even though I still end up with great grades, it doesn’t change the fact that I added excess stress to my life and took away sleep time.

I know, the other half of you are thinking, “but there just aren’t enough hours in the day.” However, how much time do you spend going through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or some other mind numbing app… or how many shows on Netflix or Hulu did you binge on this week? We always have time, even when we think we don’t, we just choose to spend that time doing other things. Maybe it’s to escape. Whatever the reason, those things are not helping you get to your finish line.

Yes, when you reach one finish line, there will be another waiting for you. But how boring would life be if we reached a finish line and had nothing else to look towards? I am thankful for the finish lines in my life that propels me towards a future and that helps to grow and stretch me to becoming a better person. If I ever get to a place of having no more finish lines I have come to a place of complacency and that’s not a good place.

So instead of thumbing through social media, or binging on the next show… tell yourself, “No, I care about myself too much to allow stress to creep in by me procrastinating. I will get my act together and finish my tasks before they are due!”

Maybe you need to set your phone to restrict your screen time. Or maybe you need to delete apps that you know you kill time on. Some people may need to go somewhere other than their house. While others may need to plug in their headphones and listen to the “Just Focus,” “Deep Concentration,” Or “Atmospheric Calm” playlists on Spotify. Whatever it is that works for you, figure it out and do it. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Start today!

I would love to hear what you do to focus when you’re working on your “must do” list.

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