If you are studying at university with an SpLD it is essential that you develop effective strategies for organising yourself and your time. While some pointers are outlined below, more detailed information can be found by following the links below to relevant,Study Advice guides and videos. You could also make an appointment to meet with a Study Adviser for advice and guidance tailored to you.
Lecture notes and handouts
Organise the term:
It is easy to put-off doing academic work when the things that usually distract us are close to hand. Identify the things that distract you, and turn them into motivators by saving them for a reward at the end of the day/when work is completed. Social media can be temporarily put ‘beyond reach’ with the use of ‘black-out’ apps.
Dealing with distractions is especially important if you have ADHD with an impulsive element. The distraction need only be marginally more interesting for it to be chosen over academic work.
According to the experts, believing that we will be unable to produce work to the required standard is a key predictor of procrastination. If perfectionism is an issue, try to focus on the process rather than the final product. Try perfecting several, successive drafts, rather than trying to write one perfectly polished final draft. Also, you could try changing your definition of perfection to ‘the best piece of writing you could do given constraints of time and resource’.
External locus of control
Students who believe that they are not in control of their grades/learning-outcomes, or tend to see themselves as ‘victims’, are less likely to take control of their studies and to seek help. Begin to take control by setting yourself small goals and targets and making the most of available sources of support.
Overconfidence is less common than under-confidence, however, it can back-fire, resulting in missed deadlines or under achievement because we think the task is too easy, or that we don’t need to get started as we have ages. If a task is easy, why not get it out of the way so that we can focus on more challenging work.
Trying to do too many things at once
Simultaneously writing, planning and researching an assignment, can make a challenging task feel impossible. Separate these aspects, tackling the writing process as a series of discrete steps.
Disorganisation makes it harder to see what needs to be done. Making plans will enable you to see a way forward.
Needing to feel ‘in the mood’
You do not need to ‘feel in the mood’ in order to get on with your work. Treat your study times as you would a job of work. Simply turn up at an agreed time and make a start. You can still produce good work, even if you do not feel especially inspired by the task.