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Factors That Matter When Writing an Essay

Factors That Matter When Writing an Essay

In school, you are bound to write countless essays, and from my experience, the entire process can be tedious. Teachers will push to ensure the essay is well structured and meets all the requirements. For example, many times teachers will like to see the entire process you went through before handing in your essay: They want to know how you chose your topic, formed a rough draft, and picked your thesis. For you to succeed, you’ll have to know how to write a proper essay.

Over the years, I’ve created a specific outline for myself to follow each time I’ve completed an essay assignment. Today, I’ll be going over some of the most important factors that matter when writing one. We’ll be looking at the following:

  • Picking an essay topic
  • Preparing an outline
  • Writing a thesis
  • Introduction
  • The body
  • The Conclusion

Picking an Essay Topic

If you have been given free reign, then focus on a topic close to you. I’ve noticed when I write about a topic that I’m knowledgeable about, I’ll have an easier time gathering sources and conducting research.

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Writing about a passionate topic will also ensure I have previous knowledge about it so I’ll know how to guide my writing. However, if your teacher has provided a topic, and you have to find something related, then pick one with many options. For example, it’s better to write about “link building in SEO” then “weight loss soybeans” because you’ll have a broader scope. From the top of my head, there are 15 link-building strategies, and having the ability to choose makes things easier.

Preparing an Outline

This is much easier than it sounds because you’re simply summarizing what you have planned. Start by stating your topic, what points you’ll be covering, your thesis, and what you’ll include in the introduction, body, and conclusion. You’ll also want to mention the research sources you’ll be using to gather all your material.

By taking what’s in your head and jotting it on paper, you’ll be able to see how everything connects. You’ll see the ideas more clearly and what’s missing. It’s a great way to find structure in your essay and it will help with the completion because you’re organizing before starting.

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Writing a Thesis

For those of you not aware, a thesis statement reflects the main idea of your paper. A thesis has two parts—and make sure you complete both when creating an outline. First, always state your main topic, and secondly, it’s important to state your main point. For example, “The United States And Its Impact on Europe” (topic), and your thesis statement would be – “The United States Has Negatively Impacted Europe By Reducing Its Currency” (the main point).

Introduction

I like to write this part last because it helps me stay focused since I know what I’ve written about in the body. In the introduction, you’ll provide a slight history on the topic and why it’s important to you. You’ll also state the main purpose of your paper with a strong emphasis on the thesis statement.

The Body

Take this time to go in-depth on your topic. Make sure you focus on the main points and always provide the sources to back up statistical statements.

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You can also include focus keywords that are relevant to your essay. For example, when writing about “The United States And Its Negative Impact on Europe’s Currency”, you’ll want to discuss some aspects regarding the “negative impact” throughout because this is your main idea…right?

Depending on your assignment rules, it’s important to format accordingly, stick to the word count, and include whatever else your teacher outlines for you.

The Conclusion

This part is easy because, unlike your introduction where you explain what you want to accomplish, in the conclusion you’ll focus on what you’ve done and summarize everything in short form. It’s also a great place to provide your own personal thoughts on the topic. At the same time, repeat your thesis and write about how you’ve proven your main point. The conclusion should be right to the point, with a summary statement mentioned as well.

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Final Thoughts

If you still need some guidance on how to write an essay or information on how to write specific essay formats such as how to write a rhetorical analysis essay, then do a quick search in Google. You’ll find a lot of free resources. However, you can always use this quick guide the next time you sit down to write your essay paper.

Featured photo credit: thesis-masternow.com via thesis-masternow.com

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Rizvan Ullah

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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