Writing lists is something I've only started doing in the past few months. The more work which piled up, the more difficult I found it to organise my days in my head. I'm usually pretty organised, but was totally unprepared for the sheer amount of work-juggling which occurs in final year. By getting all my to-do lists out of my brain and onto paper, it allows me to map out what I need to do, on which day, and when by. I find having that visual reminder far more helpful than a jumbled mass of vague ideas in my head. Even small things such as 'do laundry', 'sort recycling' and 'call mum' go on the lists amidst 'write 2000 word essay'; it may seem overly regimented, but it certainly helps to de-stress!
Like the smaller tasks on my lists, breaking chores and work into smaller, bite-size chunks is probably the best advice I've ever been given since I've been at uni (all credit goes to my dissertation supervisor, Sian!). Not only does this enable you to timetable your work more closely as deadlines and exams creep up, but it makes the workload seem a million times more manageable. Instead of writing 'DO DISSERTATION' and pinning it all around your room, structuring your tasks is a far better use of your time. For example, cut it down into 'read Adrian Bingham's book', 'write introduction', or 'type up weekly readings'. When each of these little tasks are completed, tick them off or scribble them out; it'll make you feel super-productive, motivated, and just give you a little boost.
Sorting out your priorities is essential in final year. While university students are renowned for partying 7 nights a week (please show me someone that actually does this), many of us work our bums off and really strive to do our best. Our degree matters to us. Therefore, making work your priority when necessary is vital in doing well and reaching your expectations. So, your mates are going down the pub tonight, but you still haven't written your conclusion or proof-read that essay that's due in tomorrow? Which is more use to you in the long-term? Which matters most? I'm not saying never have fun (that's just silly), but it is important to recognise when you should be knuckling down and getting sh*t done.
Motivation is so important to your degree, especially when writing your dissertation. It is a lot of work and the research is intense, so you need to make sure your topic is something you genuinely love. I'm so lucky with my degree; history at Sussex University has given me so much room for choice and personal development, and I have chosen a topic I am extremely passionate about. Despite this, researching the same topic for the past 7 months has brought moments where I have wanted to give up and start all over again; this is a natural part of the process, so don't worry! Keep your spirits up by discussing your dissertation topic with others- their interest will suddenly rekindle your interests too.
While hitting the clubs every night probably won't land you with a first, it is so essential to allocate yourself some down-time every so often. Working solidly all year, and studying so intensely as we come up to exam time, is no good for the soul. We all need a break every so often, so make sure you take time to recharge your batteries. Taking time to chill out, whether it be an evening or a few days, allows you to come back with renewed enthusiasm and a fresh outlook on your work. I have always pushed myself to the extremes when working, as it means so much to me, and in the past have been running on empty. This is no good for anybody and will only be detrimental to your work. Go have some fun!
I am the queen of procrastination. I will often sit and watch TV shows that I don't even like just to avoid doing work (eg. 5 hours of Masterchef). To boost your motivation, treat your final year like a full-time job. Try setting your alarm as you would for going to work, and treat studying as doing a full working day. Vary your studying to keep yourself interested, and take little 30 minute breaks throughout the day (mainly for coffee and snacks) to keep your brain active. Treating studying like working is a great tip for exam revision; you will feel like you've achieved so much and you can give yourself evenings and weekends off for ~fun timez~. It'll also regulate your sleeping pattern and body clock, which we all know is the ultimate #studentproblem.
All in all, while your final year will be stressful, there are actions you can take to prevent it from totally taking over your life. University should still be fun, so trying to organise your time is key in getting the most out of your uni experience. Most of all, not getting yourself completely bogged down in work will enable you to treasure your last moments at uni- it's not going to last forever, and you'll probably miss it when it's gone (I know I will!).
Good luck with your studying! Which top tips do you have for final year students?