Home » Study Tips

How To Deal With A Lot Of Homework? 8 Tips


Deadlines can be an incredibly stress-inducing thing. With each passing day, the homework deadlines grow ever closer.

But your work output doesn’t seem to keep pace until finally, in a fit of frantic desperation, you complete the majority of the task in the last 3 hours before it’s due. You’re not alone.

We have no firm figures but based upon our own rather hasty research directly before writing this piece. The percentage of people in the world who habitually procrastinate to some degree equals approximately 99.9999999%.

We don’t know who that .0000001 is, but we’re reasonably sure we wouldn’t enjoy their company.

1. Examples Of Procrastinators

Some famous habitual procrastinators include the likes of French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. Or, American author Herman Melville, and British author Douglas Adams.

Of course, based on their creative output, one would assume that each of these people found ways of meeting their deadlines, and you’d be right.

Victor Hugo used the popular focusing technique of being stripped naked in his study by a servant, who was given strict orders not to return with the clothing until a pre-arranged hour. Melville had his wife chain him to his desk in order to finish Moby Dick.

Douglas Adams regularly required publishers to lock him in rooms and stand guard, glowering menacingly until he produced a manuscript. Alright, then.

Let’s explore a few less extreme ways to cope with an impending deadline.

2. Take Smaller Bites If You Have Too Much Homework

Anyone who’s ever attempted to shed a few unwanted pounds has probably heard or read the advice to take smaller bites, chew your food thoroughly, etc., etc.… This is excellent advice in both weight loss and in the avoidance of procrastination (albeit for very different reasons).

One of the biggest triggers of procrastination is making the crippling mistake of thinking of whatever project you’re working on as one gigantic, hulking menace glaring at you from a distance. He’s probably also holding a large club with spikes coming out of it (although that may just be us).

Divide the overall workload into smaller, more manageable bites. Say, for example, that you’re writing an article listing and detailing the top 20 universities in the UK.

The assignment is to write a total of 10,000 words. Returning briefly to our diet analogy, that initially seems roughly equivalent to being asked to consume an entire roasted goose in one sitting (but without the irresistible allure of the roasted goose).

Following the principle of the smaller bite, however, you’re able to say to yourself, “I don’t have to spill out 10,000 brilliant words onto the page all at once. I’ve got 20 universities to write about. That’s 500 words apiece. Let’s tackle that first one and then worry about the next.”

Taken even further, you realise that each university will have sub-sections of approximately 100 words each. “100 words is nothing!” you exclaim.

And so, you’re able to jump into your project with much less trepidation and despair.

3. Break The Task Up

Of course, breaking the task into smaller pieces is fine for getting you past that stumbling block of the blank page. But you should be aware of one possible pitfall: If you break things down too far, you might decide the project is so easy that you can wait a week or two to get started.

This is bad. A necessary addendum to the “Take Smaller Bites” technique is the “Make Smaller Deadlines” technique. With each sub-step you identify, you should also set a sub-deadline to keep you on track toward completing the entire project.

This is especially important when the overall deadline is further off into the hazy future. The farther out the deadline is, the easier it is to convince yourself to wait another day. Or two. Or twelve.

Smaller bites work well, but if you don’t pair them with smaller deadlines, you’ll likely end up facing the entire project in one go just as you feared you would from the beginning.

4. Give Yourself Permission to Fail

One of the biggest reasons for procrastination is not laziness but perfectionism. Thomas Edison is a famous American inventor and originator of the electric light bulb and other modern conveniences. He famously refused to accept that he had failed 10,000 times, opting instead to assert that he’d found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.

It’s a valid point. From inventors to scientists to actors in rehearsals, brilliant discoveries and stunning performances can’t just spring fully-formed out of nothingness. They’re invariably the result of working through countless failures on the way toward eventual success.

Suppose you’re putting off starting a project because it’s just not the perfect time or because it might not be good enough. Well, you’re right. There is no ideal time, and your first (and second, and third…) try probably won’t be good enough. But you have to allow yourself the freedom to make those initial failures if you ever aspire to succeed truly.

If you’re writing an essay, a poem, or a novel, get something on the page. Sit down now and scribble down an initial list of required tasks if you’re planning an event. That first page may well end up in the trash, and that initial list will no doubt be incomplete.

But that “failure” will lead you to the next try and the next until perched upon a tower of failures, you finally grasp the elusive fruit of success. It’s in the doing that you’ll find success, not in waiting for the perfect time to begin.

5. Eliminate Distractions

Easier said than done these days is the task of eliminating distractions during the time you’ve committed to working. From phone calls to emails to texts to Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat and on and on and on, it seems the world today is nothing but distractions (or that work is just a distraction from the far more interesting buzzing phone in our pocket).

When it comes to time management, procrastination can be the anti-hero that you really don’t want in a time like this. The trick is to find a way to remove yourself from those things.

The first step is to identify the worst offenders. Is it the TikTok notifications popping up simultaneously on your phone and computer screen? The email or texts making your phone chime every 30 seconds? Or, simply the outside world as viewed through the window in front of your desk? Most likely, it’s a combination of some of these and a few other things we haven’t mentioned.

Once you’ve identified the problem, the actions you take are entirely up to you. Is signing out of TikTok enough, or do you need the nuclear option of deactivating the account? Will turning off the phone suffice, or will you need to have a friend or family member keep it for you? Can you close the blind or move your desk? Or must you board up the window? Be honest with yourself. Only you know the extents to which you need to resort to finish your homework.

6. Lie…

…To yourself. Only to yourself.

When dealing with a deadline of any sort, it’s usually an excellent idea to set a personal deadline in advance of the actual due date. In other words, lie to yourself about when it’s due. The benefits of this approach are apparent. If your project is due in 3 weeks, and you give yourself 2 weeks, that gives you an entire week to address any unexpected issues that may arise. For example, a part of the homework assignment might be more complex than you initially anticipated.

Of course, this only works if you’re particularly good at lying to yourself. Some can’t ignore the actual due date, so they end up skipping a day of work here and there because they know they’ve got an extra week to get it done. If you’re not gullible enough to believe your own lies, the only option is to add some urgency to your earlier deadline. Have a trusted friend or family member change your social media passwords and only reveal them once you’ve met the deadline.

Give your debit card to your mom and live off only a small daily allowance until the deadline is met. Be creative, but make it something that will motivate you. You’ll thank yourself when you’ve finished your project a week early, and you can relax while everyone else is still sweating it out.

7. Prioritise the most important or difficult tasks first

You may be asking yourself how you can do this – and the simple answer to that is to create an Eisenhower Matrix. It’s a time management skills tool that can help students prioritise difficult assignments by tackling them first.

The Eisenhower Matrix, or the Urgent-Important Matrix, can help prioritise tasks based on their urgency and importance. It may feel like a chore, but use these steps to give you a head start before you complete all your work:

  1. Write a list of your homework tasks.
  2. Divide a sheet of paper into four quadrants, labelling each one as “Urgent and Important,” “Important but Not Urgent,” “Urgent but Not Important,” and “Not Urgent or Important.”
  3. Place each homework task into the appropriate quadrant based on its level of urgency and importance.
  4. Start with the “Urgent and Important” tasks and work on them first. These are the homework projects that are due soon and are critical to your grades.
  5. Next, move on to the “Important but Not Urgent” tasks. These are assignments that are important to your long-term success but do not have a pressing deadline.
  6. Next, the “Urgent but Not Important” assignments. These are tasks that may be due soon but are not critical to your success.
  7. Finally, the bottom of the pile is “Not Urgent or Important” tasks. These tasks are neither critical nor time-sensitive.

Using this matrix will help you to prioritise your homework and ensure that you are focusing on the most important tasks first.

8. Manage Your Time To Avoid Burnout

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that involves breaking work into 25-minute intervals called “Pomodoros” followed by short breaks. During each interval, focus solely on completing a specific task, and then take a short break before starting another Pomodoro.

Repeat this cycle until you have completed all of your homework tasks. Ultimately, this technique helps to increase productivity and prevent burnout by giving your brain regular breaks even though you’re getting too much homework.

9. Seek help when needed, such as from a teacher or tutor.

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of homework you have as a secondary school student? Fear not, my friend. One strategy to conquer this mountain of assignments is to seek help when needed. But how do you do that?

  • Identify the problem: what specifically is causing you to have too much homework? Is it a lack of understanding of the material, difficulty with time management, or something else? Knowing the problem will help you to better communicate it to your teacher or tutor.
  • Ask the teacher: your first point of contact should be your teacher. Explain your situation and ask for help. Your teacher may be able to provide you with additional resources or offer to provide extra help during class or after the school day.
  • Seek a tutor: If you are still struggling after talking to your teacher, consider seeking help from a tutor. Tutors can provide one-on-one help, can work with you at your own pace and help you with exam preparation.
  • Utilise school resources: Many schools have resources such as a homework club or study groups that can help you to manage your workload. Take advantage of these resources if they are available to you.

10. Run Away (haha!)

Sometimes all that’s needed to jumpstart your initiative and get you headed in the right direction is a simple change of venue. There are many resources on the internet to help you choose or arrange your workspace so as to maximise productivity.

One thing to keep in mind is that many productivity experts frown on combining your workspace with your sleeping space. The theory is that combining the two harms both your work and your sleep by confusing your brain as to exactly what the room is meant to be for.

Of course, as a student, your sleeping space may be the only workspace you’ve got. But if you do find your work or rest to be suffering, it might be worth it to move your work sessions to a friend’s room, the library, or another suitable space and save your room for relaxation.

It’s also good to remember that, just because your workspace of choice has been the most inspiring and focused place to get things done in the past, things can change. If your workspace no longer does the job, don’t waste too much time figuring out why. It may just be time for you to find someplace new.

What to do instead of homework?

Whether your homework is complete, or if you’re just managing your time and taking a break, then these 10 activities can keep you active without sitting in front of the TV:

  1. Exercise or go for a walk: it actually helps to boost your energy levels and improve your focus on your homework.
  2. Read a book: a great way to relax and unwind while also improving your vocabulary and concentration for future essay writing.
  3. Meditate or practice yoga: Mindfulness practices can help to reduce stress, and improve focus and other health benefits.
  4. Organise your space: Organising your workspace space can help to reduce stress and increase productivity.
  5. Take a nap: A short nap can help to refresh your mind and improve your focus, and who doesn’t love a quick nap?
  6. Use a study app for students to increase their productivity while keeping you on your phone
  7. Spend time with friends or family
  8. Learn a new skill or hobby
  9. Listen to music or an audiobook
  10. Write in a journal or diary about how your day is going
  11. Volunteer in your community

Can Too Much Homework Be Negative To A Student?

Yes, too much homework can be negative for students as it can lead to anxiety and stress due to them feeling overwhelmed. But it depends on the student, their level of understanding, and their individual needs. However, let’s say you’re spending more than 2 hours on homework every night, then that may be ‘too much’.

This can also contribute to sleep deprivation, problems with friends and family and a lack of motivation to learn more.

What is Homework Anxiety?

Homework anxiety is a type of anxiety that can occur in students when they are assigned homework. It is characterised by feelings of stress, worry, and pressure in relation to completing homework assignments. Symptoms of homework anxiety can include procrastination, difficulty concentrating, and physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches.

What Causes Homework Anxiety?

For some students, it may be due to a lack of understanding of the material or difficulty with time management. For others, it may be related to perfectionism or fear of failure. Additionally, students who experience homework anxiety may also have underlying anxiety disorders, such as generalised anxiety disorder or OCD.

Do You Feel More Confident To Do Your Homework?

Procrastination is a very common ailment. One that has afflicted most of us at one time or another, but there are ways to keep yourself on track. These six tips are just a few things to consider if you find yourself consistently clamouring to finish your work at the last minute. There are many other resources on the web if you find that these don’t work out for you.

Now, get to work (and good luck).


Subscribe to the Immerse Education newsletter for £100 off your programme*

We’ll send you our company updates and latest news. Subscribe for free by completing the form below.

*Not in conjunction with any other offers

Newsletter Signup