Student life is a balance between studying, extra curricular activities, social life and sleep. If you’re like me then you’re in a constant fight with your inner self about when and how to get things done. Delaying important tasks can lead to cramming, all nighters, a decrease in productivity as well as your well being. So here are eight ways to boost your overall productivity:
- Sticky notes: One way I like to keep up with everything around me is by writing in point form objectives that I need to get done and putting them in the most obvious (and unavoidable) places such as on a door handle, light switch, mirror etc… And not removing them until I get the task done. They’re like that little red notification badge in your phone, you can still avoid them, but they’ll constantly annoy you until you complete them.
- Motivate yourself by keeping in mind your long term goal: Think about who you want to be ten years from now, or someone successful that you look up to. How did they get to where they are? It certainly isn’t by laying in bed staring at cat pictures on the internet. Personally I like to think about how Harvey Specter from Suits spends time doing his job. (Yes I am a big fan of that show).
- Set yourself some rewards after each task you finish: Treat yourself after you finish a task with ice cream for example. That doesn’t mean you should have some for each word you write on an essay! Make sure the task is worthy of the reward. As silly as it can seem to some, there is a great deal between delayed gratification and overall success. The more you get into the habit of pushing yourself and delaying the reward the more productive your life will be.
- Plan to procrastinate: Procrastination is inevitable to some, that’s why, in your daily routine, include a bit of time to procrastinate. Make sure it’s not too much time though. Best case scenario you avoid procrastination and gain some extra time, worst case you procrastinate but since you already planned for it, it won’t cause you to be late on too much work.
- Avoid working in places designed for leisure: Not only can you get easily distracted but these places will start to seem less fun to you. Especially avoid working in your bedroom. Spending too much time in your bedroom can actually lead to insomnia because your mind will start associating it with work instead of sleep.
- Turn off that phone. And iPad. And Tv: Granted some gadgets are useful for studying or working but there is a line that has to be drawn. When you find yourself spending more time using the gadgets than actually getting work done it’s better to leave them altogether. These gadgets are meant to save you time not the opposite. It’s also very easy to drift off into Neverland with them. One minute you’re viewing an animation about the Krebs cycle and somehow you end up staring at cat pictures again. “9:30?! I could’ve sworn it was 6:00 just a minute ago.”
- Have enough time to relax: For me, the more stressed and tired I am the lazier I become. Sometimes it can seem daunting to find some time to relax. However not relaxing can lead to a decrease in productivity too but isn’t relaxing defeating the purpose of spending that time to work? That’s where number 8 comes in…
8. Manage your time using a schedule: You literally have 168 hours in a week. Split them up and I guarantee you will always find some free hours here and there that you were never aware of. Here’s mine for example:
8 hours of sleep per day = 56 per week.
2 hours to eat (may be less) = 14 per week.
3 hours of study time (lectures not included) = 21 per week.
7 hours of lectures (maximum) five days per week = 35 per week.
2 hours of relaxation throughout the day = 14 per week
56 + 14 + 21 + 35 + 14= 140 hours. That leaves 28 hours per week that I can manage however I wish. 4 hours per day on average. For me those are used as either procrastination time, social life or extra studying time depending on the circumstances. Try doing your own and see how many free hours you might have!