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Juggling multiple deadlines at university can be challenging. Remember, everyone’s approach to managing these demands is unique, so it’s important to find strategies that work best for you. In this feature, we’ll provide practical tips to help you handle conflicting deadlines, ensuring you stay on top of your university work while maintaining your wellbeing.

1. Get enough sleep

Adequate sleep is fundamental to academic success. Lack of sleep can affect your concentration, memory, and decision-making. To ensure peak performance, establish a regular sleep schedule and strive for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Avoid habits that can disrupt your sleep pattern, like late-night TV binging or too much screen time before bed. A well-rested mind is better equipped to handle academic challenges.

Two students with plates of breakfast food in Sages restaurant

2. Eat well

Proper nutrition helps you maintain the energy and focus needed for your studies. Avoid skipping meals and relying on unhealthy snacks during periods of intense study. Instead, make sure to eat balanced meals regularly to provide your body and brain with the necessary nutrients. Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for sustained energy levels and mental clarity. 

Plan your meals, include a variety of nutrients, and stay hydrated to keep your body and mind in top working condition.

3. Minimise distractions

In our digital world, distractions like smartphones, TV, and laptops can hinder productivity. A study by the University of California, Irvine, found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus on a task after an interruption. 

When it’s time to study, create an environment that supports concentration. Turn off unnecessary electronics, use apps or tools to block distracting websites, and set specific times for checking social media or emails. By removing these distractions, you can focus more on your work, complete tasks more efficiently, and reduce overall stress.  

Remember, focused study time often leads to more free time later, allowing for a well-deserved break.

4. Treat yourself

Rewarding yourself is a crucial part of managing stress and staying motivated. After achieving a milestone or completing a significant chunk of work, take time to enjoy your favourite activities. Whether it’s a relaxing night in, a film, or a day out with friends, these moments of relaxation are vital. They allow you to step back from your academic responsibilities, giving you a chance to return to your studies with a refreshed and ready mindset. 

A study by the University of Chicago found that rewarding yourself can increase your commitment to tasks. This suggests that treating yourself can boost motivation and productivity.

Remember, these small rewards not only offer a break, but can also re-energise you for upcoming tasks.

5. Work with friends

Collaborating with friends can provide you with moral support when preparing for exams or understanding complex topics. Group study sessions – or discussing practice questions with a friend who’s on your course – can offer new insights and make learning more engaging. However, it’s essential to maintain focus during these sessions to ensure they are productive. Set clear objectives for what you want to achieve in each study session and remember to stay on track. 

students sit and work in a coffee shop in ormskirk town centre

6. Split tasks

Breaking down your workload into manageable sections can improve the quality of your work. Instead of aiming to complete an entire project or essay in one go, set smaller, achievable targets for each study session. For example, focus on writing the introduction and first paragraph of an essay, rather than trying to tackle 2,000 words at once. 

This approach not only makes the task feel less overwhelming, but also allows for more focused and effective work. It helps in maintaining a steady pace and ensuring that you’re not overworking yourself. This can lead to better overall work quality.

7. Planning

Effective planning and getting organised is key to managing your workload, especially when juggling multiple deadlines. Start by mapping out your days and weeks in advance, taking note of all your upcoming deadlines. 

This approach allows you to visualise your schedule, making it easier to track deadlines and to block out time for each task. A well-structured plan will ensure you’re working towards completing your assignments on time.

A student sat chats to a tutor about their coursework in a Catalyst meeting room.

8. Get help

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your tutors for assistance. Whether it’s clarification on a tricky topic, guidance on a particular section you’re struggling with, or even questions about the coursework, your tutors can provide the help you need. If you find yourself in a situation that affects your ability to meet a deadline, you can discuss the possibility of an extension. Remember, your tutors are there to support your academic journey, so always feel free to approach them with any concerns or questions.

9. Prioritise tasks

When faced with multiple assignments, prioritising them can make your workload more manageable. Write down all your tasks and then order them based on urgency and importance. 

This strategy helps you to concentrate your efforts on the most pressing tasks first, ensuring you meet your deadlines effectively. Set your priorities early so you have ample time to work through each task without rushing. This will lead to better quality work and a more balanced approach to your studies.


Navigating university deadlines doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By implementing these practical strategies—from ensuring adequate rest and nutrition to effective planning and prioritisation—you can manage your workload more efficiently and reduce stress. Remember, the key is to find a balance that works for you, engaging with your support systems, and recognising when to take breaks. With these tips, you’re well on your way to successfully handling conflicting deadlines and making the most of your university experience.

January 11, 2024


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