Thanksgiving break is in sight – it is roughly 55 pages of memorized lines for “Nevermore,” two short poetry explications and one 10-page Media Ethics and Criticism paper away.

OK, that sounds much worse than it actually is. I’ve been working on these things for the last few weeks to prepare for the end of the term. There is always a time to just buckle down and get things done.

Now is that time.

So, I’ve been trying to research good ways to relieve stress and manage time wisely so that I can accomplish everything I need to before it’s time to enjoy some family time and turkey.

In researching this ever-relevant issue, I decided what a better way for me to implement these things I learned than to share them with you.

First, I learned the most important part of managing stress is to recognize your sources of stress. Is it applying for college? A paper that’s due in a few days? Maybe several papers due in a few days? Whatever it is, identify it and acknowledge it – that’s the first step to moving towards progress.

Next, you need to set specific goals to tackle the situation. I decided I was going to set the goal of two pages each night for ethics until next Monday, one interview for Feature Writing per two days, and one scene per day for “Nevermore.” It might still seem like it’s a lot, but it really helped me to know that while I was working on one thing I wasn’t eating in to time of working on the other project because I already had time set aside for it.

Now – and this one is probably the hardest part – don’t procrastinate. That’s right, you. Don’t procrastinate. (That “you” was partially directed towards me…) Seriously, that’s the number one enemy to stress. Playing Farmville on Facebook or Tetris or whatever it is that provides hours of mindless enjoyment might be fun right now, but at 11:30 p.m. when I’m staring at a blank Word document wondering where my day went, it won’t matter how high of a score I got (or how many crops I harvested).

Here’s my favorite part: allow down time. No matter how busy things get, I still need my “Nicole time.” It’s as easy as that, “(Your name here) time.” Set aside as much time as you can allow – whether that’s an hour or just a few minutes – where you can do whatever you’d like. You can snack, listen to music (check out Joe’s blog to talk more about that), take a hot bath, sit outside; it doesn’t matter. Just something that makes you happy so you don’t burn out.

Well, I guess none of that is really new information, but sometimes hearing it again is a good reminder that it’s okay to feel nervous sometimes about the upcoming events and deadlines. It’s how you deal with it that matters.

Good luck!