Thomas Birch gives you some tips on how to be productive and get more things done!
Being a student can mean juggling many things at once. Whether that’s work and study, your social life and study, or even your family and study. Sometimes we don’t get enough done and we end up leaving assessments to the last minute (too busy fantasising about Liam Hemsworth attending UoN?), or we find ourselves with not enough hours in the day to complete everything we want to.
Perhaps we just procrastinate too much. Either way, being a student is a juggling act and learning to juggle isn’t the easiest thing to do.
This is why I’ve put together a list of tips that you can use to boost your productivity and get more things done throughout the day.
#1 Manage Your Distractions
In today’s ever connected world, we have so many things competing for our time. Our friends, our family, the TV, social networks, our mobile phones. The first step to being productive is to manage your distractions. Even if that means going to a room by yourself and putting your phone on “do not disturb”. In fact, even just the sight of your mobile phone can distract you. Manage your distractions and put it away. Eliminate any unnecessary interruptions.
#2 Set Specific Goals
It’s one thing to tell yourself that you’re going to sit down and get things done, it’s another thing to sit down and actually know what you want to accomplish. This is where setting specific goals comes in handy. For example, instead of me saying “I am going to finish writing this article tonight”, I will say “I am going to finish writing this article by 6pm, I will have all the necessary images and research completed, I will also have it edited and uploaded to the server by 6pm.” By setting specific goals, you have the ability to focus harder on the task at hand because you actually know what you want to accomplish and by what time.
#3 Block Your Time
When you have managed your distractions, set specific goals, and are sitting down powering through your task (whether that be an essay, weekly reading, or anything else you have to get done), do it in blocks of time. Work/study for 50 minutes, then have a 15 minute break. For 50 minutes pour all your concentration, passion, and focus into the task at hand and then have a break for 15 minutes. A study found that “the secret to retaining the highest level of productivity over the span of a work day is not working longer, but working smarter with frequent breaks”. If at first 50 minutes is too long, shorten the block down to 20 minutes of work/study and 10 minutes of break time until you can eventually work up to 50 minutes. If you study or work in short blocks of time with frequent breaks, you’ll be sure to get more done.
#4 Group Similar Tasks Together
Another key to being more productive is to group similar tasks together and get them done and dusted at once. For example, you’ve got to pay five bills. Instead of paying those five bills at separate times of the day or throughout the week, pay them all together at one time. This not only helps you to get things done but it also gives you more freedom to do the things that you actually enjoy by freeing up time. Grouping similar tasks together is an important step in enhancing your productivity.
#5 Wake Up Early
Seriously. Ever since I decided to wake up earlier in the morning I find that I am happier and get way more things done than I used to. Try it for a while. The early bird catches the worm.
For tips on how to cope with the stress of uni life, from one student to another, click here.
To view your very own student survival guide, with tips to help you get through uni, click here.