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Everyone struggles with homework sometimes, but if getting your homework done has become a chronic issue for you, then you may need a little extra help. That’s why we’ve written this article all about how to do homework. Once you’re finished reading it, you’ll know how to do homework (and have tons of new ways to motivate yourself to do homework)!

We’ve broken this article down into a few major sections. You’ll find:

  • A diagnostic test to help you figure out why you’re struggling with homework
  • A discussion of the four major homework problems students face, along with expert tips for addressing them
  • A bonus section with tips for how to do homework fast

By the end of this article, you’ll be prepared to tackle whatever homework assignments your teachers throw at you .

So let’s get started!

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How to Do Homework: Figure Out Your Struggles 

Sometimes it feels like everything is standing between you and getting your homework done. But the truth is, most people only have one or two major roadblocks that are keeping them from getting their homework done well and on time. 

The best way to figure out how to get motivated to do homework starts with pinpointing the issues that are affecting your ability to get your assignments done. That’s why we’ve developed a short quiz to help you identify the areas where you’re struggling. 

Take the quiz below and record your answers on your phone or on a scrap piece of paper. Keep in mind there are no wrong answers! 

1. You’ve just been assigned an essay in your English class that’s due at the end of the week. What’s the first thing you do?

A. Keep it in mind, even though you won’t start it until the day before it’s due  B. Open up your planner. You’ve got to figure out when you’ll write your paper since you have band practice, a speech tournament, and your little sister’s dance recital this week, too.  C. Groan out loud. Another essay? You could barely get yourself to write the last one!  D. Start thinking about your essay topic, which makes you think about your art project that’s due the same day, which reminds you that your favorite artist might have just posted to Instagram...so you better check your feed right now. 

2. Your mom asked you to pick up your room before she gets home from work. You’ve just gotten home from school. You decide you’ll tackle your chores: 

A. Five minutes before your mom walks through the front door. As long as it gets done, who cares when you start?  B. As soon as you get home from your shift at the local grocery store.  C. After you give yourself a 15-minute pep talk about how you need to get to work.  D. You won’t get it done. Between texts from your friends, trying to watch your favorite Netflix show, and playing with your dog, you just lost track of time! 

3. You’ve signed up to wash dogs at the Humane Society to help earn money for your senior class trip. You: 

A. Show up ten minutes late. You put off leaving your house until the last minute, then got stuck in unexpected traffic on the way to the shelter.  B. Have to call and cancel at the last minute. You forgot you’d already agreed to babysit your cousin and bake cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale.  C. Actually arrive fifteen minutes early with extra brushes and bandanas you picked up at the store. You’re passionate about animals, so you’re excited to help out! D. Show up on time, but only get three dogs washed. You couldn’t help it: you just kept getting distracted by how cute they were!

4. You have an hour of downtime, so you decide you’re going to watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show. You: 

A. Scroll through your social media feeds for twenty minutes before hitting play, which means you’re not able to finish the whole episode. Ugh! You really wanted to see who was sent home!  B. Watch fifteen minutes until you remember you’re supposed to pick up your sister from band practice before heading to your part-time job. No GBBO for you!  C. You finish one episode, then decide to watch another even though you’ve got SAT studying to do. It’s just more fun to watch people make scones.  D. Start the episode, but only catch bits and pieces of it because you’re reading Twitter, cleaning out your backpack, and eating a snack at the same time.

5. Your teacher asks you to stay after class because you’ve missed turning in two homework assignments in a row. When she asks you what’s wrong, you say: 

A. You planned to do your assignments during lunch, but you ran out of time. You decided it would be better to turn in nothing at all than submit unfinished work.  B. You really wanted to get the assignments done, but between your extracurriculars, family commitments, and your part-time job, your homework fell through the cracks.  C. You have a hard time psyching yourself to tackle the assignments. You just can’t seem to find the motivation to work on them once you get home.  D. You tried to do them, but you had a hard time focusing. By the time you realized you hadn’t gotten anything done, it was already time to turn them in. 

Like we said earlier, there are no right or wrong answers to this quiz (though your results will be better if you answered as honestly as possible). Here’s how your answers break down: 

  • If your answers were mostly As, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is procrastination. 
  • If your answers were mostly Bs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is time management. 
  • If your answers were mostly Cs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is motivation. 
  • If your answers were mostly Ds, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is getting distracted. 

Now that you’ve identified why you’re having a hard time getting your homework done, we can help you figure out how to fix it! Scroll down to find your core problem area to learn more about how you can start to address it. 

And one more thing: you’re really struggling with homework, it’s a good idea to read through every section below. You may find some additional tips that will help make homework less intimidating. 

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How to Do Homework When You’re a Procrastinator  

Merriam Webster defines “procrastinate” as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” In other words, procrastination is when you choose to do something at the last minute on a regular basis. If you’ve ever found yourself pulling an all-nighter, trying to finish an assignment between periods, or sprinting to turn in a paper minutes before a deadline, you’ve experienced the effects of procrastination. 

If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you’re in good company. In fact, one study found that 70% to 95% of undergraduate students procrastinate when it comes to doing their homework. Unfortunately, procrastination can negatively impact your grades. Researchers have found that procrastination can lower your grade on an assignment by as much as five points ...which might not sound serious until you realize that can mean the difference between a B- and a C+. 

Procrastination can also negatively affect your health by increasing your stress levels , which can lead to other health conditions like insomnia, a weakened immune system, and even heart conditions. Getting a handle on procrastination can not only improve your grades, it can make you feel better, too! 

The big thing to understand about procrastination is that it’s not the result of laziness. Laziness is defined as being “disinclined to activity or exertion.” In other words, being lazy is all about doing nothing. But a s this Psychology Today article explains , procrastinators don’t put things off because they don’t want to work. Instead, procrastinators tend to postpone tasks they don’t want to do in favor of tasks that they perceive as either more important or more fun. Put another way, procrastinators want to do things...as long as it’s not their homework! 

3 Tips f or Conquering Procrastination 

Because putting off doing homework is a common problem, there are lots of good tactics for addressing procrastination. Keep reading for our three expert tips that will get your homework habits back on track in no time. 

#1: Create a Reward System

Like we mentioned earlier, procrastination happens when you prioritize other activities over getting your homework done. Many times, this happens because homework...well, just isn’t enjoyable. But you can add some fun back into the process by rewarding yourself for getting your work done. 

Here’s what we mean: let’s say you decide that every time you get your homework done before the day it’s due, you’ll give yourself a point. For every five points you earn, you’ll treat yourself to your favorite dessert: a chocolate cupcake! Now you have an extra (delicious!) incentive to motivate you to leave procrastination in the dust. 

If you’re not into cupcakes, don’t worry. Your reward can be anything that motivates you . Maybe it’s hanging out with your best friend or an extra ten minutes of video game time. As long as you’re choosing something that makes homework worth doing, you’ll be successful. 

#2: Have a Homework Accountability Partner 

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to start your homework ahead of time, it may be a good idea to call in reinforcements . Find a friend or classmate you can trust and explain to them that you’re trying to change your homework habits. Ask them if they’d be willing to text you to make sure you’re doing your homework and check in with you once a week to see if you’re meeting your anti-procrastination goals. 

Sharing your goals can make them feel more real, and an accountability partner can help hold you responsible for your decisions. For example, let’s say you’re tempted to put off your science lab write-up until the morning before it’s due. But you know that your accountability partner is going to text you about it tomorrow...and you don’t want to fess up that you haven’t started your assignment. A homework accountability partner can give you the extra support and incentive you need to keep your homework habits on track. 

#3: Create Your Own Due Dates 

If you’re a life-long procrastinator, you might find that changing the habit is harder than you expected. In that case, you might try using procrastination to your advantage! If you just can’t seem to stop doing your work at the last minute, try setting your own due dates for assignments that range from a day to a week before the assignment is actually due. 

Here’s what we mean. Let’s say you have a math worksheet that’s been assigned on Tuesday and is due on Friday. In your planner, you can write down the due date as Thursday instead. You may still put off your homework assignment until the last minute...but in this case, the “last minute” is a day before the assignment’s real due date . This little hack can trick your procrastination-addicted brain into planning ahead! 

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If you feel like Kevin Hart in this meme, then our tips for doing homework when you're busy are for you. 

How to Do Homework When You’re too Busy

If you’re aiming to go to a top-tier college , you’re going to have a full plate. Because college admissions is getting more competitive, it’s important that you’re maintaining your grades , studying hard for your standardized tests , and participating in extracurriculars so your application stands out. A packed schedule can get even more hectic once you add family obligations or a part-time job to the mix. 

If you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once, you’re not alone. Recent research has found that stress—and more severe stress-related conditions like anxiety and depression— are a major problem for high school students . In fact, one study from the American Psychological Association found that during the school year, students’ stress levels are higher than those of the adults around them. 

For students, homework is a major contributor to their overall stress levels . Many high schoolers have multiple hours of homework every night , and figuring out how to fit it into an already-packed schedule can seem impossible. 

3 Tips for Fitting Homework Into Your Busy Schedule

While it might feel like you have literally no time left in your schedule, there are still ways to make sure you’re able to get your homework done and meet your other commitments. Here are our expert homework tips for even the busiest of students. 

#1: Make a Prioritized To-Do List 

You probably already have a to-do list to keep yourself on track. The next step is to prioritize the items on your to-do list so you can see what items need your attention right away. 

Here’s how it works: at the beginning of each day, sit down and make a list of all the items you need to get done before you go to bed. This includes your homework, but it should also take into account any practices, chores, events, or job shifts you may have. Once you get everything listed out, it’s time to prioritize them using the labels A, B, and C. Here’s what those labels mean:

  • A Tasks : tasks that have to get done—like showing up at work or turning in an assignment—get an A. 
  • B Tasks : these are tasks that you would like to get done by the end of the day but aren’t as time sensitive. For example, studying for a test you have next week could be a B-level task. It’s still important, but it doesn’t have to be done right away.
  • C Tasks: these are tasks that aren’t very important and/or have no real consequences if you don’t get them done immediately. For instance, if you’re hoping to clean out your closet but it’s not an assigned chore from your parents, you could label that to-do item with a C.

Prioritizing your to-do list helps you visualize which items need your immediate attention, and which items you can leave for later. A prioritized to-do list ensures that you’re spending your time efficiently and effectively, which helps you make room in your schedule for homework. So even though you might really want to start making decorations for Homecoming (a B task), you’ll know that finishing your reading log (an A task) is more important. 

#2: Use a Planner With Time Labels

Your planner is probably packed with notes, events, and assignments already. (And if you’re not using a planner, it’s time to start!) But planners can do more for you than just remind you when an assignment is due. If you’re using a planner with time labels, it can help you visualize how you need to spend your day.

A planner with time labels breaks your day down into chunks, and you assign tasks to each chunk of time. For example, you can make a note of your class schedule with assignments, block out time to study, and make sure you know when you need to be at practice. Once you know which tasks take priority, you can add them to any empty spaces in your day. 

Planning out how you spend your time not only helps you use it wisely, it can help you feel less overwhelmed, too . We’re big fans of planners that include a task list ( like this one ) or have room for notes ( like this one ). 

#3: Set Reminders on Your Phone 

If you need a little extra nudge to make sure you’re getting your homework done on time, it’s a good idea to set some reminders on your phone. You don’t need a fancy app, either. You can use your alarm app to have it go off at specific times throughout the day to remind you to do your homework. This works especially well if you have a set homework time scheduled. So if you’ve decided you’re doing homework at 6:00 pm, you can set an alarm to remind you to bust out your books and get to work. 

If you use your phone as your planner, you may have the option to add alerts, emails, or notifications to scheduled events . Many calendar apps, including the one that comes with your phone, have built-in reminders that you can customize to meet your needs. So if you block off time to do your homework from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, you can set a reminder that will pop up on your phone when it’s time to get started. 

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This dog isn't judging your lack of motivation...but your teacher might. Keep reading for tips to help you motivate yourself to do your homework.

How to Do Homework When You’re Unmotivated 

At first glance, it may seem like procrastination and being unmotivated are the same thing. After all, both of these issues usually result in you putting off your homework until the very last minute. 

But there’s one key difference: many procrastinators are working, they’re just prioritizing work differently. They know they’re going to start their homework...they’re just going to do it later. 

Conversely, people who are unmotivated to do homework just can’t find the willpower to tackle their assignments. Procrastinators know they’ll at least attempt the homework at the last minute, whereas people who are unmotivated struggle with convincing themselves to do it at a ll. For procrastinators, the stress comes from the inevitable time crunch. For unmotivated people, the stress comes from trying to convince themselves to do something they don’t want to do in the first place. 

Here are some common reasons students are unmotivated in doing homework : 

  • Assignments are too easy, too hard, or seemingly pointless 
  • Students aren’t interested in (or passionate about) the subject matter
  • Students are intimidated by the work and/or feels like they don’t understand the assignment 
  • Homework isn’t fun, and students would rather spend their time on things that they enjoy 

To sum it up: people who lack motivation to do their homework are more likely to not do it at all, or to spend more time worrying about doing their homework than...well, actually doing it.

3 Tips for How to Get Motivated to Do Homework

The key to getting homework done when you’re unmotivated is to figure out what does motivate you, then apply those things to homework. It sounds tricky...but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it! Here are our three expert tips for motivating yourself to do your homework. 

#1: Use Incremental Incentives

When you’re not motivated, it’s important to give yourself small rewards to stay focused on finishing the task at hand. The trick is to keep the incentives small and to reward yourself often. For example, maybe you’re reading a good book in your free time. For every ten minutes you spend on your homework, you get to read five pages of your book. Like we mentioned earlier, make sure you’re choosing a reward that works for you! 

So why does this technique work? Using small rewards more often allows you to experience small wins for getting your work done. Every time you make it to one of your tiny reward points, you get to celebrate your success, which gives your brain a boost of dopamine . Dopamine helps you stay motivated and also creates a feeling of satisfaction when you complete your homework !  

#2: Form a Homework Group 

If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, it’s okay to turn to others for support. Creating a homework group can help with this. Bring together a group of your friends or classmates, and pick one time a week where you meet and work on homework together. You don’t have to be in the same class, or even taking the same subjects— the goal is to encourage one another to start (and finish!) your assignments. 

Another added benefit of a homework group is that you can help one another if you’re struggling to understand the material covered in your classes. This is especially helpful if your lack of motivation comes from being intimidated by your assignments. Asking your friends for help may feel less scary than talking to your teacher...and once you get a handle on the material, your homework may become less frightening, too. 

#3: Change Up Your Environment 

If you find that you’re totally unmotivated, it may help if you find a new place to do your homework. For example, if you’ve been struggling to get your homework done at home, try spending an extra hour in the library after school instead. The change of scenery can limit your distractions and give you the energy you need to get your work done. 

If you’re stuck doing homework at home, you can still use this tip. For instance, maybe you’ve always done your homework sitting on your bed. Try relocating somewhere else, like your kitchen table, for a few weeks. You may find that setting up a new “homework spot” in your house gives you a motivational lift and helps you get your work done. 

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Social media can be a huge problem when it comes to doing homework. We have advice for helping you unplug and regain focus.

How to Do Homework When You’re Easily Distracted

We live in an always-on world, and there are tons of things clamoring for our attention. From friends and family to pop culture and social media, it seems like there’s always something (or someone!) distracting us from the things we need to do.

The 24/7 world we live in has affected our ability to focus on tasks for prolonged periods of time. Research has shown that over the past decade, an average person’s attention span has gone from 12 seconds to eight seconds . And when we do lose focus, i t takes people a long time to get back on task . One study found that it can take as long as 23 minutes to get back to work once we’ve been distracte d. No wonder it can take hours to get your homework done! 

3 Tips to Improve Your Focus

If you have a hard time focusing when you’re doing your homework, it’s a good idea to try and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Here are three expert tips for blocking out the noise so you can focus on getting your homework done. 

#1: Create a Distraction-Free Environment

Pick a place where you’ll do your homework every day, and make it as distraction-free as possible. Try to find a location where there won’t be tons of noise, and limit your access to screens while you’re doing your homework. Put together a focus-oriented playlist (or choose one on your favorite streaming service), and put your headphones on while you work. 

You may find that other people, like your friends and family, are your biggest distraction. If that’s the case, try setting up some homework boundaries. Let them know when you’ll be working on homework every day, and ask them if they’ll help you keep a quiet environment. They’ll be happy to lend a hand! 

#2: Limit Your Access to Technology 

We know, we know...this tip isn’t fun, but it does work. For homework that doesn’t require a computer, like handouts or worksheets, it’s best to put all your technology away . Turn off your television, put your phone and laptop in your backpack, and silence notifications on any wearable tech you may be sporting. If you listen to music while you work, that’s fine...but make sure you have a playlist set up so you’re not shuffling through songs once you get started on your homework. 

If your homework requires your laptop or tablet, it can be harder to limit your access to distractions. But it’s not impossible! T here are apps you can download that will block certain websites while you’re working so that you’re not tempted to scroll through Twitter or check your Facebook feed. Silence notifications and text messages on your computer, and don’t open your email account unless you absolutely have to. And if you don’t need access to the internet to complete your assignments, turn off your WiFi. Cutting out the online chatter is a great way to make sure you’re getting your homework done. 

#3: Set a Timer (the Pomodoro Technique)

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique ? It’s a productivity hack that uses a timer to help you focus!

Here’s how it works: first, set a timer for 25 minutes. This is going to be your work time. During this 25 minutes, all you can do is work on whatever homework assignment you have in front of you. No email, no text messaging, no phone calls—just homework. When that timer goes off, you get to take a 5 minute break. Every time you go through one of these cycles, it’s called a “pomodoro.” For every four pomodoros you complete, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

The pomodoro technique works through a combination of boundary setting and rewards. First, it gives you a finite amount of time to focus, so you know that you only have to work really hard for 25 minutes. Once you’ve done that, you’re rewarded with a short break where you can do whatever you want. Additionally, tracking how many pomodoros you complete can help you see how long you’re really working on your homework. (Once you start using our focus tips, you may find it doesn’t take as long as you thought!)

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Two Bonus Tips for How to Do Homework Fast

Even if you’re doing everything right, there will be times when you just need to get your homework done as fast as possible. (Why do teachers always have projects due in the same week? The world may never know.)

The problem with speeding through homework is that it’s easy to make mistakes. While turning in an assignment is always better than not submitting anything at all, you want to make sure that you’re not compromising quality for speed. Simply put, the goal is to get your homework done quickly and still make a good grade on the assignment! 

Here are our two bonus tips for getting a decent grade on your homework assignments , even when you’re in a time crunch. 

#1: Do the Easy Parts First 

This is especially true if you’re working on a handout with multiple questions. Before you start working on the assignment, read through all the questions and problems. As you do, make a mark beside the questions you think are “easy” to answer . 

Once you’ve finished going through the whole assignment, you can answer these questions first. Getting the easy questions out of the way as quickly as possible lets you spend more time on the trickier portions of your homework, which will maximize your assignment grade. 

(Quick note: this is also a good strategy to use on timed assignments and tests, like the SAT and the ACT !) 

#2: Pay Attention in Class 

Homework gets a lot easier when you’re actively learning the material. Teachers aren’t giving you homework because they’re mean or trying to ruin your weekend... it’s because they want you to really understand the course material. Homework is designed to reinforce what you’re already learning in class so you’ll be ready to tackle harder concepts later.

When you pay attention in class, ask questions, and take good notes, you’re absorbing the information you’ll need to succeed on your homework assignments. (You’re stuck in class anyway, so you might as well make the most of it!) Not only will paying attention in class make your homework less confusing, it will also help it go much faster, too.

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What’s Next?

If you’re looking to improve your productivity beyond homework, a good place to begin is with time management. After all, we only have so much time in a day...so it’s important to get the most out of it! To get you started, check out this list of the 12 best time management techniques that you can start using today.

You may have read this article because homework struggles have been affecting your GPA. Now that you’re on the path to homework success, it’s time to start being proactive about raising your grades. This article teaches you everything you need to know about raising your GPA so you can

Now you know how to get motivated to do homework...but what about your study habits? Studying is just as critical to getting good grades, and ultimately getting into a good college . We can teach you how to study bette r in high school. (We’ve also got tons of resources to help you study for your ACT and SAT exams , too!)

These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission.

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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Spend less time on homework

How many times have you found yourself still staring at your textbook around midnight (or later!) even when you started your homework hours earlier? Those lost hours could be explained by Parkinson’s Law, which states, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, if you give yourself all night to memorize those geometry formulas for your quiz tomorrow, you’ll inevitably find that a 30 minute task has somehow filled your entire evening.

We know that you have more homework than ever. But even with lots and lots to do, a few tweaks to your study routine could help you spend less time getting more accomplished. Here are 8 steps to make Parkinson’s Law work to your advantage:

1. Make a list

This should be a list of everything that has to be done that evening. And we mean, everything—from re-reading notes from this morning’s history class to quizzing yourself on Spanish vocabulary.

2. Estimate the time needed for each item on your list

You can be a little ruthless here. However long you think a task will take, try shaving off 5 or 10 minutes. But, be realistic. You won’t magically become a speed reader.

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3. Gather all your gear

Collect EVERYTHING you will need for the homework you are working on (like your laptop for writing assignments and pencils for problem sets). Getting up for supplies takes you off course and makes it that much harder to get back to your homework.

The constant blings and beeps from your devices can make it impossible to focus on what you are working on. Switch off or silence your phones and tablets, or leave them in another room until it’s time to take a tech break.

Read More: How to Calculate Your GPA

5. Time yourself

Noting how much time something actually takes will help you estimate better and plan your next study session.

6. Stay on task

If you’re fact checking online, it can be so easy to surf on over to a completely unrelated site. A better strategy is to note what information you need to find online, and do it all at once at the end of the study session.

7. Take plenty of breaks

Most of us need a break between subjects or to break up long stretches of studying. Active breaks are a great way to keep your energy up. Tech breaks can be an awesome way to combat the fear of missing out that might strike while you are buried in your work, but they also tend to stretch much longer than originally intended. Stick to a break schedule of 10 minutes or so.

8. Reward yourself! 

Finish early? If you had allocated 30 minutes for reading a biology chapter and it only took 20, you can apply those extra 10 minutes to a short break—or just move on to your next task. If you stay on track, you might breeze through your work quickly enough to catch up on some Netflix.

Our best piece of advice? Keep at it. The more you use this system, the easier it will become. You’ll be surprised by how much time you can shave off homework just by focusing and committing to a distraction-free study plan.

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Homework Hacks: 8 Tips to Get It Done Faster

how to do assignment faster

Homework is no fun, especially if you’ve got a full schedule. You only have a little bit of time and a little bit of energy. And it takes so long to get through it.

Not anymore. We’ve got some helpful homework hacks for you that will make doing your homework faster and less painful.

1. Plan Your Homework and Make a List

When you start your homework, you’ll probably jump right into the first thing on your mind or the first thing you pull out of your backpack, then work your way through the rest of your assignments. There’s a better way.

Figure out how much time you have to do homework, then list out all the different tasks that you have to do. Estimate how long it will take to complete each assignment to see if you need to allow yourself more time. Be realistic. Once your list is complete you can work straight through instead of stopping frequently to figure out what to do next. It will also be extremely gratifying to cross things off after each assignment you finish!

2. Get Out All the Books and Supplies You Need

While you’re working, you discover you need a calculator, you need a certain book, you need a new pencil, you ran out of paper… the list can go on.

Since you’ve now identified all your assignments, figure out everything you need to get each item done and bring it to your workspace so it’s there when you need it.

3. Find a Quiet Place to Work Without Distractions

Speaking of workspace, you probably prefer doing your homework in front of the TV, but that can actually be the biggest distraction of all. Sitting in front of the TV is probably slowing you down, making homework time seem much longer that it actually is.

Find a place that’s quiet, with as few distractions and clutter possible. Remember, the faster you get it done, the faster you can get back to fully enjoying Netflix.

4. Turn Off Your Phone

We know this is probably the last thing you want to hear. How can you live without your phone? But for a couple hours, its totally worth it. Every time you get a notification and check your phone, it breaks your focus. It then takes more brain power to get back on track to what you were working on.

5. Listen to Classical Music While Working

We know what you’re thinking… Classical music? Seriously?

However, classical music is great for background audio. There aren’t any lyrics or beats to distract your focus. And research has shown that students who listen to classical music score higher on tests than students who listen to other genres of music. So find some good classical playlist on Spotify, then celebrate with Queen Bey when you’re done.

6. Eat Snacks and Drink Water

At the end of a long day, you may be mentally and physically tired. If you go straight into homework it may take you a long time to finish and it won’t be your best work.

Having some light healthy snacks and drinking plenty of water helps revitalize your brain and body. Avoid soda, energy drinks, or sugary snacks that will only make you crash before you’re done.

7. Take Short Breaks in Between Homework Tasks

If you have a lot to do, you may feel the pressure to just work straight through hours and hours of homework. But this will likely end up slowing you down, prolonging the entire session.

Do your work in short sprints. Go hard at a task, then take a quick break to stretch and walk around. It’ll re-energize your mind and body to keep going. For starters, try working for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break.

8. Reward Yourself After You’re Finished

Homework isn’t always fun. But negativity can slow you down.

Our brains work off of reward systems. If you give yourself a reward when finishing your homework, it makes it a lot easier to start your homework the next time and you’ll get through it faster. Rewards could be being able to watch a show, eat ice cream, play a game, or going out and doing something fun.

Now that you’ve got all these tips, go get your homework done faster than ever before. It may be hard at first, but keep using these tips and it’ll get easier as you go.

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14 Proven Tips For Completing Assignments

Tips for completing assignments

Completing assignments can be a daunting task, but there are a few things that you can do to make the process a whole lot easier. 

Are you finding it difficult to complete your assignments on time? If you’re looking for some tips to help you get organized and stay on track, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll share some helpful strategies that will make completing your assignments a breeze.

But first, let’s analyze why it’s essential that you complete your assignments on time.

Why are assignments important?

Though often met with groans and complaints, academic assignments are actually beneficial in a number of ways. For one, they force students to engage with the material on a deeper level, encouraging them to really think about what they’re learning and stay on track with their studies.

In addition, academic assignments help students to develop important research, writing and study skills that will be useful in college and beyond.

Academic assignments also give students the opportunity to receive feedback from their instructors on their work.

Assignments are a great way to increase parent engagement in learning and for students to develop a sense of responsibility.

Notably, despite its benefits, too many assignments can do more harm than good.

Too much assignments can interfere with free time and involvement in extra-curricular activities. Assignment completion may be increasingly frustrating and stressful when there are challenges with the home environment. O’Rourke-Ferrara, 1998

Why is completing assignments on time important?

Completing assignments on time allows you to fully engage with the material and understand the concepts.

Subsequently, you’ll likely earn better grades and improve your chances of success in school. Additionally, completing assignments in a timely manner will also give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Completing assignments on time demonstrates to your instructor that you are capable of meeting deadlines. This is important in both academic and professional settings.

Plus we all know that once you start falling behind on assignments, it can be difficult to catch up.

Finally, completing assignments on time will likely improve your sleep and reduce stress levels.

According to research, completing assignments improves independence, self-discipline, and time management skills. In addition, it has been linked with better grades and academic success. planchard et al., 2015

14 Proven Tips For Completing Assignments

Tips for completing assignments

So how can you make sure that you complete your assignments on time? Here are a few tips that may help:

1. Read the assignment instructions carefully

Make sure you understand what is expected of you before you start working on the assignment. Read the instructions carefully, and if anything is unclear, be sure to ask for clarification.

2. Identify why the assignment is necessary

Identifying why the assignment is necessary is an important first step for success. Acknowledging the importance of a task or goal can help you stay motivated to do the best possible work and see meaningful results.

It gives purpose to your efforts, and this in turn can help provide focus and direction, leading to better results through hard work and dedication.

Research shows that the main motivating factors for homework completion were: (1) Reinforcement: desire to learn or master the material (2) Credit (3) Extra-credit planchard et al., 2015

3. Start early to complete assignments on time

Assignments can take longer than you think, so start working on them as soon as they’re assigned. This will help you avoid last-minute stress and ensure that you have enough time to complete the assignment to the best of your ability.

4. Set goals for assignment completion

One way to stay on track with an assignment is to break it down into smaller goals. For example, if you have a research paper to write, your goal for the first day might be to choose a topic and find five sources.

Once you’ve met that goal, you can set a new goal for the next day. Breaking the assignment down into smaller tasks can help to make it feel less overwhelming, and it can also help you to track your progress. 

5 . Create a schedule to finish assignments

Once you know when the assignment is due, create a schedule that breaks the work down into manageable tasks. This will help you stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed by the assignment.

Research shows that the most common demotivating factors for homework completion were: (1) Other commitments (2) Difficulty understanding (3) Too difficult or too long planchard et al., 2015

6. Identify the resources required for the assignment

Another important step in completing an assignment is to identify the resources that you’ll need. This might include books, articles, websites, or people you can interview. Having a list of resources will help you to focus your research and make the process easier.

7. Track your reference s when researching

As you’re doing research for your assignment, be sure to track the references that you’re using. This will save you time when you’re writing your paper and will ensure that you give credit to the sources that you’ve used.

8. Set aside uninterrupted time for assignments

Once you have a schedule, set aside time each day or each week to work on the assignment. During this time, turn off distractions like your phone and social media. This will help you stay focused and make the most of your time.

"Be open to opportunity and take risks. In fact, take the worst, the messiest, the most challenging assignment you can find, and then take control." - Angela Braly

9. Ask for help if you get stuck

If you’re struggling with the assignment, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Talk to your professor, a tutor, or a friend who is doing well in the class. They can offer guidance and support that can help you get back on track.

10. Take breaks when completing assignments

Working on an assignment for long periods of time can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. To avoid this, take breaks throughout the day or week. during your break, do something that you enjoy or that will help you relax.

11. Celebrate your progress

As you complete tasks on your schedule, take a moment to celebrate your progress. This will help you stay motivated and focused. It can be something as simple as taking a break after completing a section or giving yourself a small treat.

12. Proofread your assignments

Once you’ve completed the assignment, take the time to proofread it. This will help you catch any mistakes and make sure that your work is of the best quality.

13. Submit your assignments on time

Make sure to submit your assignment on time. If you’re having trouble with this, talk to your professor or a tutor. They may be able to offer extension or help you get back on track.

14. Relax after completing each assignment

After you’ve submitted the assignment, it’s important to relax. Take some time for yourself and do something that you enjoy. This will help you relax and prepare for the next assignment.

Final words on proven tips for completing assignments

If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to acing any assignment. Do you have any other studying or coursework tips that have worked well for you?

Drop a comment below and let me know. Best of luck in all your future assignments.

Read also: 22 Key Tips To Easily Improve Writing Skills

O’Rourke-Ferrara, Catherine. “Did You Complete All Your Homework Tonight, Dear?” Information Analyses (070) Opinion Papers (120) — Reports Research (143) 1998

Planchard, Matthew S. et al. “Homework, Motivation, and Academic Achievement in a College Genetics Course.”  Bioscene: The Journal Of College Biology Teaching  41 (2015): 11-18. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1086528.pdf

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Assignments Hacks: 8 Tips to Get It Done Faster

October 16, 2020 By Nagesh Belludi Leave a Comment

When you are in college, assignments can go both ways. They can either be interesting or a big challenge . The latter happens very often, especially if you have little time or are tired. What should be a short assignment can turn into hours of work, finished with an essay of average quality.

But, there’s no reason why writing should be so hard for a student. With the 8 tips in this list, you can make your assignments easier and complete them faster.

Assignments Hacks: 8 Tips to Get It Done Faster (Courtesy: Andrew Neel at Unspash)

Before you start working on your homework and assignments, you need a plan. You don’t want to end up juggling more tasks than you can handle when you can simply prioritize and get everything done on schedule.

Figure out how much time you have. Then, see how much you’ll need to complete your assignments. Be realistic while doing so. If a task isn’t due in a week, complete the ones that have a more urgent schedule. But, if you realize that you won’t have time for it, make sure to find a solution sooner to avoid the pressure afterward.

If the time is still tight and you fear that you won’t be able to handle the pressure, you can always ask Writix to write your assignment. Delegating your tasks is much better than missing deadlines and ruining your grades.

Find the Ideal Working Space

Students have different spaces where they feel most productive and can do their work without problems. If you are distracted by the TV, you need a room without it. If you prefer some background noise, this is the cafe around the corner for you. Or, you can go the traditional way and do your research and writing in the library.

Experiment a little to find your ideal working space. This can boost your productivity, keep you focused, and help you complete your assignments faster.

Gather All the Tools You Need

When you are working on your papers, you’ll need some basic tools like pens, calculators, your laptop, an Internet connection, some books for the research, your notes, etc.

Have these at your fingertips when you do your work. Having to go around the house looking for that book you need for your homework can take away your focus.

Turn Off Your Phone

Nowadays, if you want to ace your assignment, you need to turn off social media, notifications, and all those endless messages from your friends. Your phone beeping every minute is sure to take away your focus. You’ll find yourself procrastinating and tasks will take much longer than they should. For the duration of your studying, turn off your mobile device.

Try Some Background Music

Studying with some background music works for many, so why wouldn’t this work for writing, too? Try out different things such as classical music, background lyric-free melodies, nature songs, etc. Don’t go overboard and pick genres that have too much wording in it—it can be a distraction.

Keep Yourself Hydrated—and Well-Fed

Nutrition is highly important while you’re at college. In a rush to get things done, many slack off on the most important thing—their wellbeing. To keep your energy levels high and remain focused on the work, have some brain food handy for snacks, and hydrate regularly.

Make your assignment writing faster and more effective (Courtesy: Avatar of user Nick Morrison at Unspash)

Make Time for Breaks

Pushing yourself too hard will only make you work slower. It can also have a bad effect on the quality of your work. When making your schedule, take some time for breaks. Don’t overdo it, but make sure that your schedule is flexible. This way, when you feel like you are losing focus, you can take a 20-minute break to refuel and keep going.

Praise Your Work

Small rewards can do wonders with our motivation. When you cross a thing off your schedule, reward yourself with something. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Sit down and watch an episode from your favorite show while sipping on hot cocoa. Go out and have a night off with your friends. Play your favorite game or simply stay home in bed all day. A bit of praise never hurt anyone.

Final Thoughts

Assignments aren’t always fun. When you are assigned task after task, this can become so dull and repetitive, students can hardly sit down to write. However, with some organization and tricks under your sleeve, the school can get significantly easier as you go. Use these 8 tips to make your assignment writing faster and more effective.

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5 tips on writing better university assignments

how to do assignment faster

Lecturer in Student Learning and Communication Development, University of Sydney

Disclosure statement

Alexandra Garcia does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

University of Sydney provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

View all partners

University life comes with its share of challenges. One of these is writing longer assignments that require higher information, communication and critical thinking skills than what you might have been used to in high school. Here are five tips to help you get ahead.

1. Use all available sources of information

Beyond instructions and deadlines, lecturers make available an increasing number of resources. But students often overlook these.

For example, to understand how your assignment will be graded, you can examine the rubric . This is a chart indicating what you need to do to obtain a high distinction, a credit or a pass, as well as the course objectives – also known as “learning outcomes”.

Other resources include lecture recordings, reading lists, sample assignments and discussion boards. All this information is usually put together in an online platform called a learning management system (LMS). Examples include Blackboard , Moodle , Canvas and iLearn . Research shows students who use their LMS more frequently tend to obtain higher final grades.

If after scrolling through your LMS you still have questions about your assignment, you can check your lecturer’s consultation hours.

2. Take referencing seriously

Plagiarism – using somebody else’s words or ideas without attribution – is a serious offence at university. It is a form of cheating.

Hands on a keyboard using the Ctrl C copy function

In many cases, though, students are unaware they have cheated. They are simply not familiar with referencing styles – such as APA , Harvard , Vancouver , Chicago , etc – or lack the skills to put the information from their sources into their own words.

To avoid making this mistake, you may approach your university’s library, which is likely to offer face-to-face workshops or online resources on referencing. Academic support units may also help with paraphrasing.

You can also use referencing management software, such as EndNote or Mendeley . You can then store your sources, retrieve citations and create reference lists with only a few clicks. For undergraduate students, Zotero has been recommended as it seems to be more user-friendly.

Using this kind of software will certainly save you time searching for and formatting references. However, you still need to become familiar with the citation style in your discipline and revise the formatting accordingly.

3. Plan before you write

If you were to build a house, you wouldn’t start by laying bricks at random. You’d start with a blueprint. Likewise, writing an academic paper requires careful planning: you need to decide the number of sections, their organisation, and the information and sources you will include in each.

Research shows students who prepare detailed outlines produce higher-quality texts. Planning will not only help you get better grades, but will also reduce the time you spend staring blankly at the screen thinking about what to write next.

Young woman sitting at desk with laptop and checking notes for assignment

During the planning stage, using programs like OneNote from Microsoft Office or Outline for Mac can make the task easier as they allow you to organise information in tabs. These bits of information can be easily rearranged for later drafting. Navigating through the tabs is also easier than scrolling through a long Word file.

4. Choose the right words

Which of these sentences is more appropriate for an assignment?

a. “This paper talks about why the planet is getting hotter”, or b. “This paper examines the causes of climate change”.

The written language used at university is more formal and technical than the language you normally use in social media or while chatting with your friends. Academic words tend to be longer and their meaning is also more precise. “Climate change” implies more than just the planet “getting hotter”.

To find the right words, you can use SkELL , which shows you the words that appear more frequently, with your search entry categorised grammatically. For example, if you enter “paper”, it will tell you it is often the subject of verbs such as “present”, “describe”, “examine” and “discuss”.

Another option is the Writefull app, which does a similar job without having to use an online browser.

5. Edit and proofread

If you’re typing the last paragraph of the assignment ten minutes before the deadline, you will be missing a very important step in the writing process: editing and proofreading your text. A 2018 study found a group of university students did significantly better in a test after incorporating the process of planning, drafting and editing in their writing.

Hand holding red pen to edit paper.

You probably already know to check the spelling of a word if it appears underlined in red. You may even use a grammar checker such as Grammarly . However, no software to date can detect every error and it is not uncommon to be given inaccurate suggestions.

So, in addition to your choice of proofreader, you need to improve and expand your grammar knowledge. Check with the academic support services at your university if they offer any relevant courses.

Written communication is a skill that requires effort and dedication. That’s why universities are investing in support services – face-to-face workshops, individual consultations, and online courses – to help students in this process. You can also take advantage of a wide range of web-based resources such as spell checkers, vocabulary tools and referencing software – many of them free.

Improving your written communication will help you succeed at university and beyond.

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How to write the best college assignments.

By Lois Weldon

When it comes to writing assignments, it is difficult to find a conceptualized guide with clear and simple tips that are easy to follow. That’s exactly what this guide will provide: few simple tips on how to write great assignments, right when you need them. Some of these points will probably be familiar to you, but there is no harm in being reminded of the most important things before you start writing the assignments, which are usually determining on your credits.

The most important aspects: Outline and Introduction

Preparation is the key to success, especially when it comes to academic assignments. It is recommended to always write an outline before you start writing the actual assignment. The outline should include the main points of discussion, which will keep you focused throughout the work and will make your key points clearly defined. Outlining the assignment will save you a lot of time because it will organize your thoughts and make your literature searches much easier. The outline will also help you to create different sections and divide up the word count between them, which will make the assignment more organized.

The introduction is the next important part you should focus on. This is the part that defines the quality of your assignment in the eyes of the reader. The introduction must include a brief background on the main points of discussion, the purpose of developing such work and clear indications on how the assignment is being organized. Keep this part brief, within one or two paragraphs.

This is an example of including the above mentioned points into the introduction of an assignment that elaborates the topic of obesity reaching proportions:

Background : The twenty first century is characterized by many public health challenges, among which obesity takes a major part. The increasing prevalence of obesity is creating an alarming situation in both developed and developing regions of the world.

Structure and aim : This assignment will elaborate and discuss the specific pattern of obesity epidemic development, as well as its epidemiology. Debt, trade and globalization will also be analyzed as factors that led to escalation of the problem. Moreover, the assignment will discuss the governmental interventions that make efforts to address this issue.

Practical tips on assignment writing

Here are some practical tips that will keep your work focused and effective:

–         Critical thinking – Academic writing has to be characterized by critical thinking, not only to provide the work with the needed level, but also because it takes part in the final mark.

–         Continuity of ideas – When you get to the middle of assignment, things can get confusing. You have to make sure that the ideas are flowing continuously within and between paragraphs, so the reader will be enabled to follow the argument easily. Dividing the work in different paragraphs is very important for this purpose.

–         Usage of ‘you’ and ‘I’ – According to the academic writing standards, the assignments should be written in an impersonal language, which means that the usage of ‘you’ and ‘I’ should be avoided. The only acceptable way of building your arguments is by using opinions and evidence from authoritative sources.

–         Referencing – this part of the assignment is extremely important and it takes a big part in the final mark. Make sure to use either Vancouver or Harvard referencing systems, and use the same system in the bibliography and while citing work of other sources within the text.  

–         Usage of examples – A clear understanding on your assignment’s topic should be provided by comparing different sources and identifying their strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner. This is the part where you should show how the knowledge can be applied into practice.

–         Numbering and bullets – Instead of using numbering and bullets, the academic writing style prefers the usage of paragraphs.

–         Including figures and tables – The figures and tables are an effective way of conveying information to the reader in a clear manner, without disturbing the word count. Each figure and table should have clear headings and you should make sure to mention their sources in the bibliography.

–         Word count – the word count of your assignment mustn’t be far above or far below the required word count. The outline will provide you with help in this aspect, so make sure to plan the work in order to keep it within the boundaries.

The importance of an effective conclusion

The conclusion of your assignment is your ultimate chance to provide powerful arguments that will impress the reader. The conclusion in academic writing is usually expressed through three main parts:

–         Stating the context and aim of the assignment

–         Summarizing the main points briefly

–         Providing final comments with consideration of the future (discussing clear examples of things that can be done in order to improve the situation concerning your topic of discussion).

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Lois Weldon is writer at  Uk.bestdissertation.com . Lives happily at London with her husband and lovely daughter. Adores writing tips for students. Passionate about Star Wars and yoga.

7 comments on “How To Write The Best College Assignments”

Extremely useful tip for students wanting to score well on their assignments. I concur with the writer that writing an outline before ACTUALLY starting to write assignments is extremely important. I have observed students who start off quite well but they tend to lose focus in between which causes them to lose marks. So an outline helps them to maintain the theme focused.

Hello Great information…. write assignments

Well elabrated

Thanks for the information. This site has amazing articles. Looking forward to continuing on this site.

This article is certainly going to help student . Well written.

Really good, thanks

Practical tips on assignment writing, the’re fantastic. Thank you!

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How to Finish a Huge Assignment or Project Overnight

how to do assignment faster

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The great American writer Mark Twain once said,

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well.”

When we live by that advice, though, we sometimes find ourselves chugging concentrated coffee at 2 a.m. in a valiant effort to stay awake and finish a huge project that’s due in 6 hours.

As productive as I’d like to think I am… I’ve been there.

If you’ve been there as well – or maybe if you’re there right now – this week’s video is for you. I’m not going to waste time lecturing you about the importance of planning, there are other videos for that – let’s just look at the best plan of attack when you find yourself in a time crunch.

Now, we’re going to look at some specific concepts related to planning and willpower in a minute – The Impact Effort Matrix, Ego Depletion – but let’s start with the foundation: location selection .

I think your location is vital when you’re working under pressure, and personally I like to pick my study locations based on their “vibe” – that is, what’s going on around me. I tend to favor coffee shops and libraries – I still go to my university library at times even though I’ve graduated – because I work well when I’m surrounded by other people who are also working. Also, close proximity to caffeine is helpful.

The most important part of location selection, though, is avoiding the “call of the pillow”. When you’re studying in a time crunch, it’s likely you’ll be doing it late into the night. That’s why you want to get as far away from your bed as possible.

The later it gets, the more you’ll start rationalizing how good a nap might be and the more you’ll start deciding that certain parts of your project don’t matter. So pick a place where going to bed would be more effort than finishing the next part of your project.

That piece of business taken care of, it’s now time to plan your efforts . Before you start working, take some time to break down your workload into individual parts. Then, it’s time to figure out which ones should get the bulk of your attention.

Dwight Eisenhower often remarked that,

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”

In the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , Steven Covey popularized the “Eisenhower Decision Matrix”, which is based on this principle. In the matrix, tasks are categorized based on their importance and urgency.

When you’re in a time crunch, though, everything can seem urgent – so importance is the factor you should focus on in this case. To that end, let’s use a similar but more fitting tool – the Impact/Effort matrix .

Impact/Effort Matrix

Here, tasks in a project are given scores based on their impact to the overall success of the project and the effort it will take to implement them. To illustrate how this works, here’s an example from my life.

When I was a senior in college, one of my final projects was building a web app. My idea was called AMPanic, and it was an app that would require you to log in and tell if you’re awake before a certain time – otherwise it would send an embarrassing email to someone. This was actually the precursor to the early wake-up system I use now, which I detailed in this video .

With this project, though, I found myself in a time crunch trying to finish it. So I broke my project down into different parts that I’d have to code and prioritized them using this Impact/Effort matrix.

The core functionality – the code that would let you set an alarm and an email message, the code that would schedule and send the email on time, and the function to cancel the email if the user checked in on time in the morning – those required a lot of effort to build, but they also had the highest impact on the project.

On the other hand, some parts of the site – like the About, FAQ, and Contact pages – didn’t have as high of an impact, but they were low-effort tasks. Since they didn’t take much time to create, I made sure to include them to make the site look more complete.

The main element of the site that I chose NOT to focus on was the user registration and login system. A proper one needs functions for resetting passwords, but I decided that the core alarm setting functionality would be more important to my grade since that was the point of the whole project. So I used a login system I had written for an old project and didn’t bother creating a way to reset passwords.

In the end, it was a worthwhile decision; the alarm system was more advanced than most of the other projects in the class, so I ended up getting an A.

To assign Impact/Effort scores to each component of your project – or each assignment if you’re juggling multiple – consider the following factors:

  • What the core deliverables are
  • The grading criteria for the project, what which components count for the most points
  • What percentage of your grade each assignment counts for
  • How much each component will contribute to the knowledge you need to have for tests, which usually impact your grade the most

Once you’e assigned scores to each component, I think it’s a good idea to tackle the ones with the highest impact and highest effort first. This is due to Ego Depletion – a phenomenon explained in Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow . Citing research from the psychologist Roy Baumeister, he reveals that:

“…an effort of will or self-control is tiring; if you have had to force yourself to do something, you are less willing or less able to exert self-control when the next challenge comes around.”

Use the bulk of your willpower to complete the harder tasks first; that way, you’ll only have to deal with low-effort, high-impact tasks when you’re feeling drained.

That’s where we’re going to close for this week. If you select your location well, plan based on impact and effort, and tackle your tasks in a way that utilizes your willpower effectively, you’ll make if through your time crunch in one piece.

Need help finishing a personal project you’ve been procrastinating on? Read this next .

If you’re unable to see the video above, you can view it on YouTube .

Looking for More Study Tips?

10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades - Thomas Frank

You’ll find more tips on planning, study environments, and maintaining willpower in my free 100+ page book called 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades (While Studying Less) .

The book covers topics like:

  • Defeating procrastination
  • Getting more out of your classes
  • Taking great notes
  • Reading your textbooks more efficiently

…and several more. It also has a lot of recommendations for tools and other resources that can make your studying easier.

If you’d like a free copy of the book, let me know where I should send it:

I’ll also keep you updated about new posts and videos that come out on this blog (they’ll be just as good as this one or better) 🙂

Video Notes

How to Finish a Huge Assignment or Project Overnight

  • Eisenhower Decision Matrix
  • Impact/Effort Matrix
  • Ego Depletion

What other topics related to working under tight deadlines would you like to see covered in the future?

Do you have any additional tips? Share them below 🙂

If you liked this video, subscribe on YouTube to stay updated and get notified when new ones are out!

Images: Eisenhower , Twain , Twain living room , James Cameron , ocean trench , Everest , wall of books , Big Ben , coffee shop

how to do assignment faster

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How to Cut Homework Time in Half

The amount of time spent agonizing over assignments bears no direct correlation to the quantity of knowledge and learning attained. in other words, homework that takes forever is pointless. so learn how to blast through school work with these tips for parents and teachers of children with adhd..

Two siblings with ADHD, working together to get their homework done faster.

Homework problems lead to many kids with ADHD failing in school. Almost every parent of a student with ADHD has been on the front lines of homework battles, but homework doesn’t have to be exhaustive to be effective. The National Education Association and the Parent Teacher Association recommend 10 minutes per grade level per day. In other words, a sixth grader should spend roughly 60 minutes on homework, while a first grader should have no more than 10 minutes each evening. If teachers are piling it on, have a friendly discussion with them. The following strategies for how to get homework done fast can shorten completion time and reduce stress at home.

Tools for Teachers

One size doesn’t fit all. Data from assessments (formal and informal), daily observations, and anecdotal notes from the previous week should be used to determine homework assignments. Before assigning the entire class the same math practice page or reading passage, classroom teachers should consider, “What does each child need some extra practice with?” Individualizing homework increases the odds that a child will complete it.

Factor in students’ learning styles . Be creative and give students a “menu of options” for homework. Options for learning weekly vocabulary words might be to write a rap song or create a PowerPoint using the words. Students will be more enthusiastic about the homework process if they are given choices.

Have a study buddy (or two). Assign willing students to be the go-to person to answer questions from a student with ADHD who doesn’t understand the homework assignment.

Be responsive to parents who report frustration over homework. Be willing to adjust homework assignments , so that students with ADHD and LD spend a reasonable, not an excessive, amount of time doing them each evening. Does completing 50 subtraction problems really help a child learn? Wouldn’t 10 or 15 math problems provide enough practice and give you enough feedback? Try to shorten and reduce the workload — particularly the amount of writing required.

[ Free Download: The Teacher’s Guide to ADHD Learning Styles ]

Post assignments on the board. Write the homework assignment in the same place on the board each day.

Have students use an assignment calendar or agenda — then guide and monitor the recording of assignments.

Collect homework and give some feedback. It is frustrating to students and parents to spend a lot of time on assignments that the teacher never looks at.

Don’t assign homework as a punishment or a consequence for misbehavior at school. Don’t send home unfinished classwork to do as homework. Instead, provide the necessary modifications and supports, so that in-school work is in-school work, and homework is homework.

[ Turning It In Should Be the Easy Part of Homework, Right? ]  

Provide a variety of ways for a student to get homework assignments. Record assignments on a classroom answering machine or school voicemail, as well as on the teacher’s Web page. Another option: Post homework assignments on an outside window of the classroom, so students can return to check it after school.

Provide incentives for turning in homework. Let your students play Homeworkopoly (download the game board and “Chance” cards at teachnet.com ). Every day, students who have turned in their completed homework get to roll a die and move their individual marker that number of spaces along the game board, which looks like a Monopoly board. Along the way, they may land on special squares, earning small prizes or privileges.

Have students chart their progress. Ask students to graph their own homework completion and return rates.

Check assignment calendars and planners, since students with ADHD often make careless recording errors, entering assignments on the wrong date. Routinely ask table partners or groups seated together to check each other’s assignment pads.

Are the parents in the know? Invite parents to observe lessons in your classroom, so they will have a better understanding of how to work with their child. Don’t assume that parents will know what to do or how to help their child complete the assigned tasks. Demonstrate ways for the parent to help her child. Parents are a key factor in student success, and teachers must take the initiative to educate them.

Pointers for Parents

Be there. Sit with your child and talk through what needs to be done. Once she starts to work, you may fold laundry, knit, or read in the same room. At some point, she may ask you to leave. If so, go.

Get him moving. Physical activity — walking on a treadmill or fiddling with pipe cleaners — increases alertness for mental activity. Encourage your student to walk around the house reading aloud from a book. Chances are, she will soon settle down and be able to focus on her work.

Use medication. By the time they get home from school, most kids with ADHD are tired and their medication is wearing off — a double whammy for doing homework. Talk with your doctor about prescribing a short-acting medication. When medication is working, students stay focused and complete homework more quickly. They also tend to remember the material they studied.

Set the stage. It’s the end of the day and everyone in the household is tired, but you still have to do homework. Make your child feel comfortable as he starts his homework. Have him wear comfortable clothes and make the sure the environment doesn’t distract him. Some kids need a quiet room with no distractions, while others may need a little background noise.

Make it fun. Writing definitions for 25 vocabulary words is boring. Turn it into a game! Post words and definitions around the house for them to match. Have them jump on the trampoline while learning multiplication facts. Talk with their teacher about ways to make homework active.

Avoid interruptions. Once the student begins homework, hold his telephone calls until break time or until homework is completed. You may have to take a cell phone away to keep him from texting.

Spice things up. If a homework assignment is boring, play music or TV at low volume. When reading, break assignments into segments marked by colored paper clips. When the student reads as far as the clip, he can take a break.

Skip missing information. Students with ADHD often look for excuses to stop doing their homework. So if he needs information to answer a question, have him work around it, leaving a blank that can be filled in later that night or the next day.

Take a break when no homework has been assigned. Don’t require your child to study on those days. Use the time to have fun with your child. You will deepen family relationships and build his self-esteem.

Find a tutor. If you find it hard to help your child with schoolwork, find someone who can. A junior or senior high school student may be ideal — and the right price — depending on the need and age of your child.

Put completed homework into the appropriate folder. See that completed work is placed in the designated folder and is put into the backpack the night before. To keep him from losing it before class, set up a system with the teacher to collect the work upon arriving at school.

[ The ADHD Homework System We Swear By ]

SUPPORT ADDITUDE Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing . Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.

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What are eggs for in Animal Well and how to unlock fast travel

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Animal Well peacock in the egg room

You’ll start finding eggs pretty early in Animal Well , but it’ll take a while before you figure out what they’re for — namely, they’re like keys for a specific room in Animal Well ’s map, which allows you to access new areas.

Our Animal Well guide will explain how to use eggs and how they relate to fast travel.

How to use eggs in Animal Well

Animal Well finding the Clover Egg at the beginning of the game

You’ll find your first egg almost immediately in Animal Well . When you wake up, head to the left. There’s a hidden passage in the wall there that will lead you to your first egg — the Clover Egg — in a chest.

It’ll drop into your inventory off to the side where you can’t interact with it. It’ll take a bit of exploring before you can understand how they’re used.

Animal Well map showing the location of the egg room and several eggs

After you get past the first ghost enemy , you’ll find the map and then climb up to (what we’re calling) the egg room . This is where you’ll get the stamps for your map. We’re not going to walk you through finding the first handful of eggs, but they are marked on the map above — specifically, eight of them are. And that’s because…

How to use eggs in the egg room

Animal Well egg room

When you enter the egg room, you’ll see a peacock standing over a set of shelves with all the eggs you’ve found arranged on them. More importantly, off to the left, you’ll see a set of four doors. The bottom one has eight dots on it, the second one up has 16, the third one has 32, and the topmost one has 64.

Those dots correspond to the number of eggs you’ve found. Once you’ve found that number of eggs, the door will open automatically. The first door — that opens when you find eight eggs — leads to a way to unlock fast travel (more on this below), but we don’t know what the others lead to.

How to unlock fast travel in Animal Well

Animal Well animal flute location

Once you have eight eggs, head to the egg room and you’ll be able to go through the bottom-most door. A couple screens to the left, you’ll find a dreamy room with a few sleeping chinchillas.

Hop up the stairs on the left and use them to jump to the chest in the upper left. Inside, you’ll find the animal flute .

Play your new flute to wake up the chinchillas, and they’ll walk toward you (when you’re on the same vertical level as they are). Use your new chinchilla friends to climb up the stairs heading right. Alternately, you can just use the bubble wand if you have it.

Animal Well using the animal flute to open the crow’s beak

In the next room, you’ll find an altar-thing. When you stand in front of it, the eyes on the crow head to the left with light up. Keep standing there, and play the animal flute. The bird’s beak (mouth?) will open.

Hop up to it and go inside.

Animal Well fast travel hub

You’ll come to a new room with several animal heads and another altar. Jump down to the altar and play your flute again. This will open any of the animal heads you’ve found so far, making this room a fast travel hub of sorts.

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Net neutrality is back: U.S. promises fast, safe and reliable internet for all

Emma Bowman, photographed for NPR, 27 July 2019, in Washington DC.

Emma Bowman

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The Federal Communications Commission has restored net neutrality rules that ban content providers from restricting bandwidth to customers. Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images hide caption

The Federal Communications Commission has restored net neutrality rules that ban content providers from restricting bandwidth to customers.

Consumers can look forward to faster, safer and more reliable internet connections under the promises of newly reinstated government regulations.

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to reclassify broadband as a public utility, such as water and electricity — to regulate access to the internet. The move to expand government oversight of internet service providers comes after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the magnitude of the digital divide , forcing consumers to rely on high-speed internet for school and work, as well as social and health support.

What happened to the internet without net neutrality?

The Indicator from Planet Money

What happened to the internet without net neutrality.

Because the government deems internet access an essential service, the FCC is promising oversight as if broadband were a public utility. In doing so, the government aims to make providers more accountable for outages, require more robust network security, protect fast speeds, and require greater protections for consumer data.

The decision effectively restores so-called net neutrality rules that were first introduced during the Obama administration in 2015 and repealed two years later under President Trump.

The rules are sure to invite legal challenges from the telecoms industry — not for the first time. And a future administration could always undo the rules.

Meanwhile, net neutrality regulations are set to go into effect 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register.

But much has yet to be clarified about the rules: The 400-page draft order to restore the regulations has not been publicly released.

Here's what we do know.

What's net neutrality?

Net neutrality is a wonky term for the idea that the flow of information on the internet should be treated equally and that internet service providers can't interfere with what consumers do online.

Also referred to as an "open internet," net neutrality aims to level the digital marketplace, prohibiting internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast and AT&T from running fast lanes and slow lanes — speeding up or slowing down internet speeds — for online services like Netflix and Spotify.

What's this latest battle about?

Without the net neutrality regulations in place, phone and internet companies have the power to block or favor some content over others. The issue has pit telecom companies against Big Tech. Net neutrality advocates — tech companies, consumer watchdogs and free speech activists among them — warn that without such regulations, broadband providers are incentivized to charge customers more to use internet fast lanes or else risk being stuck with slower speeds.

In recent years, the issue has largely become a partisan one. In 2015, the President Obama-appointed FCC chair ushered in the approval of net neutrality rules . Those rules were repealed two years later under President Trump after his pick to run the FCC called them "heavy-handed" in his pledge to end them.

Now, the return of FCC regulations has reinvigorated the net neutrality debate.

"Every consumer deserves internet access that is fast, open and fair," FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said ahead of Thursday's vote. "This is common sense."

As in 2015, the rules classify broadband as a utility service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

The measure passed along party lines, with Democratic commissioners in favor of net neutrality and Republicans opposed.

What critics are saying

Opponents say the net neutrality rules are government overreach and interfere with commerce. In a letter to FCC chair Rosenworcel this week, a group of Republican lawmakers said the draft order to restore net neutrality regulations would chill innovation and investment in the broadband industry.

Dissenting FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican, said that fears of a sluggish or pricey internet without the rules were overblown — that consumers benefited from faster speeds and lower prices since the repeal. Net neutrality advocates dispute the argument that broadband rates dropped when net neutrality went away, saying the numbers are misleading .

"There will be lots of talk about 'net neutrality' and virtually none about the core issue before the agency: namely, whether the FCC should claim for itself the freewheeling power to micromanage nearly every aspect of how the Internet functions — from the services that consumers can access to the prices that can be charged," Carr said in October, when the Biden administration proposed restoring net neutrality.

Some telecom companies argue that the FCC is trying to solve a nonexistent problem in its stated aim to preserve equal internet access for consumers.

"This is a nonissue for broadband consumers, who have enjoyed an open internet for decades," said Jonathan Spalter, the CEO of USTelecom, a trade group that represents ISPs such as AT&T and Verizon, in a statement following the vote to hand regulatory authority back to the FCC.

"We plan to pursue all available options, including in the courts," the group said.

What's happened when net neutrality went away?

What ended up happening in the years after the rollback went into effect in 2018 was so discreet that most people unlikely noticed its effects, says Stanford Law professor Barbara van Schewick, who directs the school's Center for Internet and Society and supports net neutrality.

For the past six years, she says, "a lot of public scrutiny on the ISPs and then the attempts to bring back net neutrality in Congress basically kept the ISPs on their best behavior."

Still, there were changes. Some ISPs implemented zero-rating plans, the practice of excluding some apps from data charges, she notes, or were caught throttling — intentionally slowing down consumer internet speeds.

Absent heightened federal regulation, tough net neutrality rules that sprang up in several states, including California , Washington and Oregon, also have continued to keep internet service providers in check.

"It's still being litigated," van Schewick says. "And so, it is fair to say we haven't seen a world without net neutrality."

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Nbc news now.

According to a new report from TransUnion, Generation Z is racking up debt at a faster rate than millennials did at their age and are reporting higher delinquency rates than previous generations. Editor-in-Chief at Investopedia, Caleb Silver, breaks down this new study and gives advice on how to eliminate debt. May 9, 2024

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Nightly news full broadcast (may 9th).

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How to Start an Assignment

Last Updated: January 29, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Michelle Golden, PhD . Michelle Golden is an English teacher in Athens, Georgia. She received her MA in Language Arts Teacher Education in 2008 and received her PhD in English from Georgia State University in 2015. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 106,431 times.

Getting started on an assignment or homework can often times be the hardest step. Putting off the assignment can make the problem worse, reducing the time you have to complete the task and increasing stress. By learning how to get started and overcome the urge to procrastinate, you can get your assignments done on schedule and with less stress, opening up more free time.

Restructuring Your Assignment

Man with headphones on working on his assignment.

  • For example, you might research areas of a report that you find most interesting before moving on to other areas.
  • If your math assignment has different types of questions, try doing those that you enjoy the most before moving on to the others.
  • You might also try tackling smaller or easier tasks first so you can cross a few items off your list. Seeing that you've already made progress may help you feel motivated to continue.

Step 2 Start working for five minutes.

  • Promise yourself that you will meet your goal of working for five minutes on the assignment.
  • Once you get started, you may find that you don't want to stop working. Otherwise, you can take a break and come back to the assignment, knowing you're at least five minutes closer to finishing than you were before.

Step 3 Break up your time.

  • Try to set reasonable periods of time that you know you can meet. For example, you might set aside two hours on a Friday to dedicate to your assignment. If you don't have that much time all at once, try to carve out a few 20- or 30-minute blocks.
  • You may or may not wish to continue working after your time limit has gone by.
  • Have a realistic understanding of how fast you can write and plan your schedule accordingly.

Step 4 Get started.

  • It can help to read the assignment as soon as you get it and then ask any questions you might have.
  • If you're not sure if you understand the assignment, try rewriting it in your own words or explaining it to someone else. If you find you can't or have a lot of questions, you may need more information.
  • You should have an overview of the assignment, understand the main task, and understand the technical and stylistic requirements.
  • Look for important words in the instructions to understand the assignment. These words might include define, explain, compare, relate, or prove.
  • Keep your audience in mind and write a paper that would best deliver information to them.

Step 6 Make sure your goals are manageable.

  • Goals that are too big or not well defined can be difficult to start working towards.
  • Smaller and well defined goals can seem easier to achieve than larger ones.
  • For example, you could break a research paper down into several smaller tasks: 1) do preliminary research, 2) write an outline, 3) draft an introduction, 4) draft body paragraphs, 5) write conclusion, 6) revise. Each of these is much more do-able on its own.

Changing Your Focus

Step 1 Change your mood.

  • You might want to go for a quick walk after working for a set amount of time.
  • Try reading a website or book that you enjoy for a few minutes after working.
  • Alternatively, try a quick burst of exercise before setting to work. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins and can also help boost your memory. [8] X Research source

Step 2 Stay positive.

  • Instead of dreading your work, focus on how good it will feel to make progress. You won't have it hanging over your head. You can actually enjoy the weekend instead of feeling guilty.
  • Keeping your eye on long-term rewards can help you stay motivated to finish your assignment.

Step 3 Avoid procrastination while working.

  • Avoid moving your workspace constantly.
  • Don't get lost on tangential research.
  • Don't take constant breaks to get a snack.

Step 4 Create some consequences for procrastination.

  • For every hour you waste procrastinating, you can limit how much television you watch that night.
  • If you waste too much time procrastinating, you might deny yourself a favorite snack later on.

Step 5 Don't worry about perfection.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

You Might Also Like

Do Your Homework on Time if You're a Procrastinator

  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/solving-unsolvable-problems/201408/4-steps-stop-procrastinating
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/friendship-20/201405/the-surefire-first-step-stop-procrastinating
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/procrastination/
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/homework.html
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/understanding-assignments/
  • ↑ https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/ab22ff64-3358-4387-9761-8c58878a6b84/resource/3ee38320-17e4-46f9-b24f-c95f9f345eb9/download/ipp7.pdf
  • ↑ http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/07/how-exercise-can-help-us-learn/
  • ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/happy-life.html

About This Article

Michelle Golden, PhD

To start an assignment, try working on the most enjoyable or easiest parts of the assignment first to get the ball rolling. Even if no part of the assignment seems enjoyable or easy, set a timer and try to make yourself work for at least 5 minutes, which is usually enough time to build momentum and overcome procrastination. You can also try breaking your assignment up into smaller, more manageable tasks and scheduling yourself regular breaks so it doesn't seem as overwhelming. To learn how to stay positive and avoid procrastination while working on your homework, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Code faster with generative AI, but beware the risks when you do

eileen-yu

Nowadays, developers can turn to generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) to code faster and more efficiently . Nevertheless, they should do so with caution and no less attention than before.

While the use of AI in software development may not be new -- it's been around since at least 2019 -- GenAI brings significant improvements in the generation of natural language, images, and -- more recently -- videos and other assets, including code, Diego Lo Giudice, Forrester's vice president and principal analyst, told ZDNET.

Also: Why the future must be BYO AI: Model lock-in deters users and stifles innovation

Previous iterations of AI were used mostly in code testing, with machine learning leveraged to optimize models for testing strategies, Lo Giudice told ZDNET. GenAI goes beyond these use cases, offering access to an expert peer programmer or specialist (such as a tester or a business analyst) who can be queried interactively to find information quickly. GenAI can also suggest solutions and test cases.

"For the first time, we are seeing significant productivity gains that traditional AI and other technologies have not provided us with," he said. 

Developers can tap AI across the entire software development lifecycle, with a dedicated "TuringBot" at each stage to enhance tech stacks and platforms, Lo Giudice noted.

Forrester coined  TuringBots  to describe AI-powered tools that help developers build, test, and deploy code. The research firm believes TuringBots will drive a new generation of software development, assisting at every stage of the development lifecycle, including looking up technical documentation and auto-completing code.

"Analyze/plan TuringBots," for instance, can facilitate the analysis and planning phase of software development, Lo Giudice said, pointing to OpenAI's ChatGPT and Atlassian Intelligence as examples of such AI products. Others, such as Google Cloud's Gemini Advanced , can generate designs of microservices and APIs with their code implementation, while Microsoft Sketch2Code can generate working code from hand-written sketched UI, he said.

Also: Implementing AI into software engineering? Here's everything you need to know

Lo Giudice added that "coder TuringBots" are currently the most popular use case for GenAI in software development, generating code from prompts as well as from code context and comments via autocompletion for popular integrated development environments (IDEs). These include common languages such as JavaScript, C++, Python, and Rust.

A big draw of generative models is that they can write code in many languages, allowing developers to input a prompt to generate, refactor, or debug lines of code, Michael Bachman, Boomi's head of architecture and AI strategy, said. "Essentially all humans interacting with GenAI are quasi and senior developers," he said. 

The software vendor integrates GenAI into some of its products, including Boomi AI, which translates natural language requests into action. Developers can use Boomi AI to design integration processes, APIs, and data models to connect applications, data, and processes, according to Boomi.

The company uses GenAI to support its own software developers, who keep a close watch on the code that runs its platform.

Also: Can AI be a team player in collaborative software development?

"And that is the key," Bachman said. "If you are using GenAI as the primary source for building your whole application, you are probably going to be disappointed. Good developers use GenAI as a jumping-off point or to test failure scenarios thoroughly, before putting code into production. This is how we deal with that internally."

His team also works to build features to meet their customers' "practical AI objectives." For example, Boomi is creating a retrieval system because many of its clients want to replace keyword searches with the ability to look up content, such as catalogs on their websites, in natural language.

Developers can also use GenAI to remediate security, Lo Giudice said, looking for vulnerabilities in AI-generated code and offering suggestions to help developers fix certain vulnerabilities. 

Compared to traditional coding, a no- or low-code development strategy can offer speed, built-in quality, and adaptability, Forrester principal analyst John Bratincevic said. 

Also: Beyond programming: AI spawns a new generation of job roles

It also provides for an integrated software development lifecycle toolchain and access to an expanded talent pool that includes non-coders and "citizen developers" outside the IT community, Bratincevic said. 

Organizations may face challenges, however, related to the governance of large-scale implementation, especially with managing citizen developers who can number in the thousands, he cautioned. Pricing  can also pose a barrier, as it is typically based on the number of end users, he said.

While GenAI or AI-infused software assistants can enable junior professionals to fill talent gaps, including in cybersecurity, Lo Giudice said an expert eye review is still necessary for all these tasks. 

Bratincevic concurred, stressing the need for developers and other employees in the software development lifecycle to review everything the platform generates or auto-configures using AI. 

"We are not yet, and probably won't ever be, at the point of trusting AI blindly for software development," he said.

For one, there are security requirements to consider, according to Scott Shaw, Thoughtworks' Asia-Pacific CTO. The tech consultancy regularly tests new tools to improve its efficiency, whether in the IDE or to support how developers work. The company does so where it is appropriate for its customers and only with their consent, Shaw told ZDNET, noting that some businesses are still nervous about using GenAI.

Also: Hurtling toward generative AI adoption? Why skepticism is your best protection

"Our experience is that [GenAI-powered] software coding tools aren't as security-aware and [attuned with] security coding practices," he said. For instance, developers who work for organizations in a regulated or data-sensitive environment may have to adhere to additional security practices and controls as part of their software delivery processes.

Using a coding assistant can double productivity, but developers need to ask if they can adequately test the code and fulfill the quality requirements along the pipeline, he noted.

It's a double-edged sword: Organizations must look at how GenAI can augment their coding practices so the products they develop are more secure, and -- at the same time -- how the AI brings added security risks with new attack vectors and vulnerabilities.

Because it delivers significant scale, GenAI amplifies everything an organization does, including the associated risks , Shaw noted. A lot more code can be generated with it, which also means the number of potential risks increases exponentially.

Know your AI models

While low-code platforms may be a good foundation for GenAI Turingbots to aid software development, Bratincevic noted that organizations need to know which large language models (LLMs) are used and ensure they  align with their corporate policies .

He said GenAI players "vary wildly" in this respect, and urged businesses to check the version and licensing agreement if they use public LLMs such as OpenAI's ChatGPT.

Also: Yikes! Microsoft Copilot failed every single one of my coding tests

He added that GenAI-powered features for generating code or component configurations from natural language have yet to mature. They may see increased adoption among citizen developers but are unlikely to impress professional developers.

Bratincevic said: "At the moment, a proven and well-integrated low-code platform plus GenAI is a more sensible approach than an unproven or lightweight platform that talks a good game on AI."

While LLMs carry out the heavy lifting of code writing, humans still need to know what is required and provide the relevant context, expertise, and debugging to ensure the output is accurate, Bachman said.

Developers also need to be mindful of sharing proprietary data and intellectual property (IP), particularly with open-source tools, he said. They should avoid using private IP such as code and financial figures to ensure they are not training their GenAI models using another organization's IP, or vice versa. "And if you choose to use an open-source LLM, make sure it is well-tested before putting it into production," he added. 

Also: GitHub releases an AI-powered tool aiming for a 'radically new way of building software'

"I would err on the side of being extremely circumspect about the models that GenAI tools are trained on. If you want those models to be valuable, you have to set up proper pipelines. If you do not do that, GenAI could cause a lot more problems," he cautioned.

It is early days and the technology continues to evolve; its impact on how roles -- including software developers -- will change remains far from certain.

For example, AI-powered coding assistants may change how skills are valued. Shaw quipped: will developers be deemed better because they are more experienced or because they can remember all the coding sequences? 

For now, he believes the biggest potential is GenAI's ability to summarize information, offering a good knowledge base for developers to better understand the business. They then can translate that knowledge into specific instructions, so systems can execute the tasks and build the products and features customers want. 

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How to use chatgpt to write code, ready to implement ai at work google has a new course for that, how i test an ai chatbot's coding ability - and you can too.

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Deli meat, dried ramen noodles, sliced cheese, two hot dogs and hot dog buns in front of a gray background.

How Bad Are Ultraprocessed Foods, Really?

They’re clearly linked to poor health. But scientists are only beginning to understand why.

Credit... Casey Zhang for The New York Times

Supported by

Alice Callahan

By Alice Callahan

  • Published May 6, 2024 Updated May 8, 2024

In the mid-1990s, Carlos Monteiro, a nutritional epidemiologist in Brazil, noticed something alarming: Obesity rates among children in his country were rising rapidly.

To understand why, he and his colleagues at the University of São Paulo scrutinized data on the food buying patterns of Brazilian households to see if they had changed in recent years. The researchers found that people were purchasing less sugar, salt, cooking oils and staples like rice and beans, and more processed foods like sodas, sausages, instant noodles, packaged breads and cookies.

To describe that second category of food, Dr. Monteiro said, the team introduced a new term into the scientific literature — ultraprocessed foods, or UPFs — and defined it. They would later link UPFs to weight gain in children and adults in Brazil.

Since then, scientists have found associations between UPFs and a range of health conditions , including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal diseases and depression, as well as earlier death.

That’s concerning, experts say , since ultraprocessed foods have become a major part of people’s diets worldwide. They account for 67 percent of the calories consumed by children and teenagers in the United States, for example.

But many questions remain. What are ultraprocessed foods, exactly? And how strong is the evidence that they’re harmful? We asked experts to answer these and other questions.

What are ultraprocessed foods?

In order to study foods based on how they were processed, Dr. Monteiro and his colleagues developed a food classification system called Nova, named after the Portuguese and Latin words for “new.” It has since been adopted by researchers across the world.

The Nova system sorts foods into four categories :

Unprocessed or minimally processed foods , like fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, plain yogurt, rice, pasta, corn meal, flour, coffee, tea and herbs and spices.

Processed culinary ingredients , such as cooking oils, butter, sugar, honey, vinegar and salt.

Processed foods made by combining foods from Category 1 with the ingredients of Category 2 and preserving or modifying them with relatively simple methods like canning, bottling, fermentation and baking. This group includes freshly baked bread, most cheeses and canned vegetables, beans and fish. These foods may contain preservatives that extend shelf life.

Ultraprocessed foods made using industrial methods and ingredients you wouldn’t typically find in grocery stores — like high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and concentrated proteins like soy isolate. They often contain additives like flavorings, colorings or emulsifiers to make them appear more attractive and palatable. Think sodas and energy drinks, chips, candies, flavored yogurts, margarine, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, sausages, lunch meats, boxed macaroni and cheese, infant formulas and most packaged breads, plant milks, meat substitutes and breakfast cereals.

“If you look at the ingredient list and you see things that you wouldn’t use in home cooking, then that’s probably an ultraprocessed food,” said Brenda Davy, a nutrition professor at Virginia Tech.

A crushed aluminum can, a stack of chocolate sandwich cream cookies, a cream-filled yellow cake and black cake in front of a gray background.

The Nova system notably doesn’t classify foods based on nutrients like fat, fiber, vitamins or minerals. It’s “agnostic to nutrition,” said Maya Vadiveloo, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Rhode Island.

That has led to debate among nutrition experts about whether it’s useful for describing the healthfulness of a food, partly since many UPFs — like whole grain breads, flavored yogurts and infant formulas — can provide valuable nutrients, Dr. Vadiveloo said.

Are ultraprocessed foods harmful?

Most research linking UPFs to poor health is based on observational studies, in which researchers ask people about their diets and then track their health over many years. In a large review of studies that was published in 2024, scientists reported that consuming UPFs was associated with 32 health problems, with the most convincing evidence for heart disease-related deaths, Type 2 diabetes and common mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Such studies are valuable, because they can look at large groups of people — the 2024 review included results from nearly 10 million — over the many years it can take for chronic health conditions to develop, said Josiemer Mattei, an associate professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She added that the consistency of the link between UPFs and health issues increased her confidence that there was a real problem with the foods.

But the observational studies also have limitations, said Lauren O’Connor, a nutrition scientist and epidemiologist who formerly worked at the Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health. It’s true that there is a correlation between these foods and chronic diseases, she said, but that doesn’t mean that UPFs directly cause poor health.

Dr. O’Connor questioned whether it’s helpful to group such “starkly different” foods — like Twinkies and breakfast cereals — into one category. Certain types of ultraprocessed foods, like sodas and processed meats , are more clearly harmful than others. UPFs like flavored yogurts and whole grain breads , on the other hand, have been associated with a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Clinical trials are needed to test if UPFs directly cause health problems, Dr. O’Connor said. Only one such study, which was small and had some limitations, has been done, she said.

In that study , published in 2019, 20 adults with a range of body sizes lived in a research hospital at the National Institutes of Health for four weeks. For two weeks, they ate mainly unprocessed or minimally processed foods, and for another two weeks, they ate mainly UPFs. The diets had similar amounts of calories and nutrients, and the participants could eat as much as they wanted at each meal.

During their two weeks on the ultraprocessed diet, participants gained an average of two pounds and consumed about 500 calories more per day than they did on the unprocessed diet. During their time on the unprocessed diet, they lost about two pounds.

That finding might help explain the link between UPFs, obesity and other metabolic conditions, said Kevin Hall, a nutrition and metabolism researcher at the National Institutes of Health, who led the trial. But the study needs to be replicated, which Dr. Hall is in the process of doing now.

Why might UPFs be harmful?

There are many “strong opinions” about why ultraprocessed foods are unhealthy, Dr. Hall said. “But there’s actually not a lot of rigorous science” on what those mechanisms are, he added.

Because UPFs are often cheap, convenient and accessible, they’re probably displacing healthier foods from our diets, Dr. Hall said.

But he and other scientists think that the foods could be having more direct effects on health. They can be easy to overeat — maybe because they contain hard-to-resist combinations of carbohydrates, sugars, fats and salt , are high-calorie and easy to chew. It’s also possible that resulting blood sugar spikes may damage arteries or ramp up inflammation , or that certain food additives or chemicals may interfere with hormones, cause a “ leaky” intestine or disrupt the gut microbiome.

Researchers, including Dr. Hall and Dr. Davy, are beginning to conduct small clinical trials that will test some of these theories. Such studies may help identify the most harmful UPFs and even suggest how they may be made healthier, Dr. Hall said.

But most researchers think there are various ways the foods are causing harm. “Rarely in nutrition is there a single factor that fully explains the relationship between foods and some health outcome,” Dr. Vadiveloo said.

What should we do about ultraprocessed foods?

In 2014, Dr. Monteiro helped write new dietary guidelines for Brazil that advised people to avoid ultraprocessed foods.

Other countries like Mexico , Israel and Canada have also explicitly recommended avoiding or limiting UPFs or “highly processed foods.” The U.S. dietary guidelines contain no such advice, but an advisory committee is currently looking into the evidence on how UPFs may affect weight gain, which could influence the 2025 guidelines.

It’s difficult to know what to do about UPFs in the United States, where so much food is already ultraprocessed and people with lower incomes can be especially dependent on them, Dr. Hall said.

“At the end of the day, they are an important source of food, and food is food,” Dr. Mattei added. “We really cannot vilify them,” she said.

While research continues, expert opinions differ on how people should approach UPFs. Dr. Monteiro said that the safest course is to avoid them altogether — to swap flavored yogurt for plain yogurt with fruit, for example, or to buy a fresh loaf from a local bakery instead of packaged bread, if you can afford to do so.

Dr. Vadiveloo suggested a more moderate strategy, focusing on limiting UPFs that don’t provide valuable nutrients, like soda and cookies. She also recommended eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains (ultraprocessed or not), legumes, nuts and seeds.

Cook at home as much as you can, using minimally processed foods, Dr. Davy said. “We can’t really say a whole lot beyond that at this point.”

Alice Callahan is a Times reporter covering nutrition and health. She has a Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of California, Davis. More about Alice Callahan

A Guide to Better Nutrition

Calorie restriction and intermittent fasting both increase longevity in animals, aging experts say. Here’s what that means for you .

A viral TikTok trend touts “Oatzempic,” a half cup of rolled oats with a cup of water and the juice of half a lime, as a weight-loss hack. We asked the experts if there’s anything to it .

How much salt is too much? Should I cut back? We asked experts these and other questions about sodium .

Patients were told for years that cutting calories would ease the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome. But research suggests dieting may not help at all .

We asked a nutrition expert how she keeps up healthy habits without stressing about food. Here are seven tips  she shared for maintaining that balance.

Read these books to shift into a healthier way of thinking about food .

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