Catching Up on the Readings You (Totally) Meant to Do

Posted by Deea Deb on February 17, 2022


Image of a workspace with desktop monitor, a stack of books, a cup and a water bottle with the text "Catching up on the readings you (totally) meant to do."

Reading Week is finally here! I don’t know about you, but I was starting to feel burnt out. While I am planning some self-care activities this upcoming week, I am also going to catch up on my readings. Catching up can be an intimidating task, especially when you have let your readings start to pile up. To help you structure your Reading Week, we’re here with some strategies to help you complete those readings you (totally) meant to do!

Note: These are the steps that work best for me, but it’s important to try new strategies and discover what works best for you!

Create an Optimal Workspace

It may not always be effective to study on your bed. It is important to separate your relaxation zone from your work zone so that you’re not thinking of working while chilling or trying to sleep and vice versa. While we understand that not everyone may have access to a separate workspace, you can get creative with what you have! Here’s How to Create an Optimal Workspace at Home with some inspiration!

Make a To-Do List

Image of a notebook with a to-do list. Also in the image are an iPad, a pair of glasses, some pens, a pencil case and a postcard from Florence
Your to-do list should be simple and functional (but a dash of creativity can also be fun!)

Before you can start catching up, you need to make a list of all the readings you need to tackle. Although this reading list may seem daunting at first, we’re here to help you get through it! 

When you create your list, separate your readings by course. Organizing your list this way will show you which course readings you need to spend more time on. Be aware that you will likely have to prioritize your readings. If one course has an exam or assignment closer than another, focus on your readings for that course first!

Pro-tip: Remember to also add any pending or upcoming assignments on this to-do list so that you can get to those as well. Reading Week is also the perfect time to get started on assignments ahead of time. Since instructors are usually available during their office hours at this time, you can run your essay ideas by them!

Create a Schedule

Screenshot of the weekly view on Google Calendar
Markdown your tasks along with your appointments and classes

Now that you know everything that you’ll need to accomplish, it’s time to make a schedule! When making your schedule, it’s important to be realistic and strategic. You might not be able to get through all the readings for every single course, so it’s important to ask yourself:

  • Which readings need to be completed first?
  • Do any of my course readings overlap? 
  • What will be the most effective use of my time? 

We also recommend planning breaks between your readings. This will help to keep your mind fresh and ready to take in information! 

Pro-tip: W all know that readings can take hours! Calendar-blocking your time with each course or reading can help you stick to timelines and have time to do other fun things as well! Before you schedule your time for Reading Week, don’t forget to check out these Five Mistakes You Make While Planning Your Day so that you can set yourself up for success.

Reading Strategies

Now that you have all the basics ready to go, it’s time to get reading! There are many reading strategies out there. Since we’ve done a post on reading strategies, we won’t cover that in detail in this post. Here are the Reading, Note-taking, and Study Strategies that Every University Student Must Know. Don’t forget to check this out. The post has some really cool strategies and resources that’ll definitely help you have a productive Reading Week!

Throughout your reading process—from building your schedule to getting started on your readings—it’s important to remember to stay positive and be strategic. You most likely won’t get to all the readings that you’ll need to, but you can succeed if you build an effective plan! 

We want you to learn from this experience. However, these steps are not a permanent solution, so use this experience to learn how you can improve in the future!

Pro-tip: I used to be a slow reader and sometimes it would take me a while to get through my readings. I have improved considerably with the help of Speechify—a text-to-speech app that reads texts out loud. If you are a slow reader, consider using this app and following along with the text. If you are reading older texts that are out of copyright, you may even find their audiobooks on YouTube for free!

Tired of falling behind on your academics? Here are 10 Ways to Avoid Falling Behind at University! If you want to get out of the productivity slump, check out these Five Productivity Apps to Stay on Track along with these Five Tips for Staying Motivated and Productive.

Schedule some self-care time

Image of a bathtub with a beverage, some books, candles, and flowers.
Take some time off for yourself

Not sure what to do for self-care for an entire week? We’ve got you covered! Here are some of our recommendations which should give you enough ideas to get you through this Reading Week and beyond!

We hope that these five #YUBlog tips will help you get your readings done. Just remember to work hard and stay positive—before you know it, you’ll be in the reading groove!

After giving these strategies a go, check out the following posts for more tips and tricks on how to approach your final assignments and exams:

Have a productive Reading Week, Lions!

To stay up to date on campus life and events, connect with York on social media. You can follow us on Facebook @YorkUStudents, Twitter @YorkUStudents, Instagram @studentlifeyu and with our weekly This Week @ York emails.

Deea Deb
Deea Deb

Deea Deb is a third-year English and Professional Writing major at York University. She loves reading, travelling, being organized, and writing. She hopes to help York students succeed at university.

See other posts by Deea Deb