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With Early Decision letters in the mail and Regular Decision application deadlines around the corner, December can be a stressful time for our seniors and their families. This month, we’ll take a look at some time and stress management tips to help keep you calm and focused.

  • Set a schedule with specific goals. Instead of setting a blanket goal to finish your applications by Christmas, try deciding which forms or essays you want to work on each day. According to psychologist Edwin A. Locke (Harvard, Cornell), the more specific a goal is, the harder you’ll work to achieve it.
  • Set time limits. Instead of deciding to work on an essay until it’s done, sit down the intention of working for a specified amount of time. The self-imposed deadline will keep you motivated, and research shows that regular breaks can boost your productivity and focus.
  • Focus on one task at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the length of your to-do list. Remember that you only ever have to do one thing at a time: your only job in any given moment is the task in front of you, and by focusing on that, your to-do list will start to take care of itself.
  • Give yourself some breathing room. Nothing’s worse than finishing an application an hour before the deadline, only to have your computer crash. Save yourself the stress by building time into your schedule for the unexpected.
  • Take care of your body & mind. You’re still on break, even if it may not feel like it, and you won’t do your best work if you’re overtired and stressed. Catch up on sleep, stick with your regular exercise routine, eat healthy, and take time to enjoy the holidays.
  • Trust yourself. You’ve worked hard to get where you are today. Between your coursework, extracurriculars, and life experiences you’ve already done 98% of the work it takes to get into a great college; all you’re doing now is putting that picture in a frame.

If you’re still struggling with stress or time management, there are a wide variety of resources available. Check out some of our favorites:

  • Wunderlist is an excellent way to keep track of all your to-dos and deadlines.
  • If you’re struggling with constant stress, try taking a break with the popular meditation app Headspace or get a quick workout at home with Sworkit.
  • If you find yourself easily distracted while working, check out OmmWriter, which provides a distraction-free writing space, or SelfControl, which blocks you from accessing sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for a set amount of time.

And don’t forget that your Cortex coaches are here to support you! Everyone on our team will be cheering you on as you cross that finish line in a few short weeks.

- The Cortex Team