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How to finish too much homework in too little time

Fifty pages of philosophy readings, one coding assignment, and one blog post for TECO education – due tomorrow. That is the “to do” list I have open in front of me.

Situations like above are quite rare but certainly do arise. It can either be that a) you’ve simply disregarded all the homework you have until the night before it is due OR b) you were simply unlucky. Regardless, we’ve experienced that one day where a literal mountain of homework looms over us and we simply had no idea how to approach it. In this post, I discuss how I fight this monster (on a weekly basis).

1. Make an ordered to-do list

I used to hate making to-do lists because I the time making the to-do list could be used to actually do homework. However, I quickly realized that making a list helps me shift out the more important tasks from the less important ones – therefore allowing me to finish homework with more pressing deadlines first – and visualize the amount of work I have before me. There is also the added benefit of crossing out an entry after spending two hours on the homework. For the sake of ease of use, I suggest downloading a to-do list/planner application on your device than making one by hand.

2. Take breaks

Ah yes, this is the cliched phrase, but let me re-emphasize it: human beings are not supposed to work non-stop. Set a work-break schedule for yourself! I like to do 50 minutes of work and 10 minutes of break sessions, where during the work time, I do nothing but work and the vice versa for the break session. Trust me, looking at the same line over and over because you cannot focus is less productive than taking a 10-minute break every now and then. Use an alarm clock or simply your mobile device to keep track of time.

3. Separate your study and chill places

Many of us study in our rooms. Some of us study in our beds. Personally, I find my bed, mobile phone, or even the plushie I got from my middle school friend distracting when I am committed to finishing my homework. Physically separate your study place from your chill/sleep place so that when you are in your study place, you are not constantly distracted. This could mean simply having a desk to study, or going out to the nearby library (but remember to stick to COVID-19 regulations)!

4. Experiment!

The suggestions above are the ones that work for me. Adjust work-chill ratios, try working with friends or alone, try having background music or turn it off entirely, and simply tweak around until you find your study rhythm. Finding your rhythm will not only help you get through the mountains of homework but also prevent you from cramming everything the day before its due!


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