Hi guys, welcome back to another helpful (maybe? hopefully) blog post with Zara! This one, as you can read by the title, is all about how to be productive. I’ve had this half done, in my drafts for a looong time but finally finished it. I feel like right now with everything going on and having to self-quarantine and work from home, this blog post came at the right time. This wasn’t intended to be Coronavirus related but if it helps you at a time like this, so be it. Okay so let’s just get into today’s blog post, I hope you enjoy it!
One thing I love to do and that helps me have a more productive day is planning my day out. The night before I like to plan what I’m wearing, eating and tasks that need to be completed. I fill out my planner and make a to-do list so the next morning I already have a set schedule. By doing this, I don’t waste time planning and rearranging my plans the next morning. Instead, I make a plan and stick to it.
Wake Up Earlier
Try to focus more on being a morning person rather than a night owl. I know this is way easier said than done and trust me I am not a huge morning person. However, when I say this I don’t mean you have to be happy and a ray of sunshine every morning. I simply mean, get into the habit of waking up earlier and getting tasks done in the morning rather than at night.
During the first two years of college, I always thought I was a night person. I spent most of my beginning years of college staying up late and sleeping in the next morning. At the time I thought I was effectively studying for my exams. Instead, I slept through half the morning the next day and barely retained any information from the night before. If you find yourself doing this do yourself a favor and try sleeping earlier and waking up earlier. It has made all the difference in my productivity levels and studying habits as a student!
Start Time Blocking
I’m sure we’ve all heard of time blocking before, if not let me give you the quick rundown. Time blocking gives you a specific time frame for every item on your to-do list. Figure out which time of the day you’re the most productive and assign that time to your most important task. For example, say I have a paper due in two days and I work best in the mornings. However, I know I can’t start my workday at 6 am, I’m more productive at 9 am. So, I would schedule 9 am-11 am for me to work on that essay and only that.
Continue to do this for the rest of your workday with every other item on your list. I also recommend not scheduling to work on something for more than 2 hours. If you know you’ll lose focus then only work for one hour and then revisit the task later on. Lastly, make sure to plan out when you’re going to take breaks and eat, so everything is scheduled and organized.
Stop trying to do 10 things at once! It’s a confirmed fact that our brains can’t handle several complex tasks at once (source). Sure you can eat and walk at the same time but when it comes to completing work tasks, multitasking actually reduces productivity. Stick to baching up your tasks and complete each task one by one. If you don’t get to it simply add it to your schedule for the next day.
Make Realistic To-Do Lists
I mentioned making to-do lists above, and I love making them. However, you need to be smart when doing so. You don’t want to just have a bunch of tasks on a notepad that are never going to get done. Instead of putting 10 unrealistic goals, think of which items are more time-sensitive and put those. Then try to see roughly how long each time will take. If you plan to work for 8 hours the whole day but put 5 tasks down that take roughly 2-3 hours to complete, you will find yourself pushing each uncompleted item onto the next day. By doing this not only will it stress you out and make you feel less productive but you will spend so much time trying to play catchup. So make sure to make small, realistic to-do lists that you know you can complete that day.
I don’t know about you guys but I simply can’t do work for 5 hours straight. I need to either go socialize with my roommates or grab a snack and take a 10-minute Netflix break. In the past, I was in the mindset that I didn’t need to take breaks or if I did take them I would take what I consider “bad breaks.” Bad breaks for me are those breaks that I say are going to be 10 minutes and instead I binge watch an hour-long episode. Now I’ve gotten into the habit of including my 10-15 minute breaks into my schedule so I don’t feel bad for taking them or go over my time.
Learn To Prioritize
Learning to prioritize is essential if you’re trying to change your work habits and be more productive. This includes prioritizing your tasks and putting the ones that are more important or due first at the top of your list and make your way down. However, prioritizing aspects of your life is also very important. As a full-time college student, there are tons of distractions so you need to make choices. Sometimes you’re going to have to pick studying for an exam or getting work done over going out with friends. Once you master self-discipline and prioritizing tasks it’ll really make a difference in your productivity levels.
These are some of my best and most important productivity tips I’ve incorporated into my routine for the past 2 years! I hope it helped you guys and gives you a little bump of motivation as well. Have any other tips to share? Make sure to comment them down below and help others out!
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