I‘ve had a lot of school work lately and plenty of long nights keeping on top of it all. When it comes to writing papers, here are some quick tips I’ve come to love:

  1. Change the background color of your Word document (Format>Background>More Colors) from white to something less harsh on the eyes. I find a dull green or beige works well and retains good readability (mine right now is set to #cccc99). For extended periods of time in Word, it’s much less straining if you ditch the white.
  2. Unfortunately, my computer speakers died the first week I returned to school this year. On the plus side, headphones are what I would recommend for helping drown out distractions from other kids, cars, or whatever your situation may include. Also, I find that I can type faster if I can’t hear the sound of the keys clacking (weird, huh?). The type of music is crucial, which I explain in further detail in a previous post about writing. Basically, pick songs that utilize more acoustic instruments than vocals. You don’t want to be processing what the band is singing about, but instead use their tunes to block outside noises.
  3. Take small breaks. It’s like giving yourself mini awards. 40 minutes writing, 10 minutes for [fill in the blank]. Play games, watch tv, grab some food, whatever gets your mind off work. Cameron shares some great advice in one of his older entries about unplugging yourself when you get stuck for ideas.
  4. If you need to reach a minimum number of pages, set the text size to 10pt and page zoom at around 150% before you start typing. When you’re a couple pages shy at the end and can’t think of anything else to write, it’ll be a nice surprise to switch back to 12pt and find out you’re done.

My 10 minutes are up, back to the grind…