9 Ways to Be Productive

Fellow blogger Laura Kate is an ace at cranking out witty, down-to-earth blog posts at a faster rate than it takes me to get ready in the morning, which is like 10 minutes tops. One of her recent posts about procrastination made me smile, mostly because I cannot physically or mentally procrastinate, but also because she made it sound so, so relaxing. Who knew not doing work could be fun? (Apparently, a lot of people but me.)

So here’s my own anti-fun list of productivity. You’d probably rather listen to what Laura Kate says but in case you actually want to focus, here’s a guide!

  1.  You see your phone? Just look at it, begging you to pick it up and check Facebook or something. You want productivity? Turn your phone off, put it in a drawer, DO SOMETHING to it so that it won’t provide you with any more distractions. (Just don’t chuck it or whatever.)
  2.  There’s an app called StayFocused you can download that limits the time you spend pointlessly surfing the Internet by temporarily blocking your access to certain sites or domains within a given time limit. I’ve never tried it, but it sounds diabolically productive.
  3.  Some people look toward religious scriptures for guidance, I look toward my sacred to-do lists. Every week, I start by looking at my syllabi and writing down which assignments I want to do each day. If you plan enough, you might find yourself one or two weeks ahead of schedule!
  4.  Also related to to-do lists: don’t try to finish an entire project in one sitting; split it up! On Monday, work on the introduction. On Tuesday, finish up finding sources … You get the drift.
  5.  Not only are to-do lists sacred, but weekly schedules are as well. Before every semester started, I would print out a schedule of when all my classes and work shifts would take place. In every empty block, I’d fill in other things like getting lunch, going to the gym and studying in the library. Remember folks, good productivity starts with good habits.
  6.  I’m a morning person, so waking up early is easy for me. But it’s also good for your productivity. If you wake up early and get the most important tasks done first, you can avoid the laziness slump later in the day.
  7.  Here’s a neat-freak fact of life: mess equals stress. No, this isn’t avoiding productivity, but if you find yourself feeling cluttered, take a look around. Are there dirty clothes on the floor? Take-out boxes piled up beside the door? Maybe that dust is getting on your nerves? Take a few to tidy up—you’ll feel a lot better when you do.
  8. I said not to do a whole project in one sitting, don’t confuse that with the tendency to multi-task. Instead, try single-tasking; you’ll have a more productive time finishing small segments one at a time than juggling biology homework while also writing a sociology paper.

You’ll notice that my ninth tip is missing—I decided to take Laura Kate’s advice and spend some time in the warm sun, instead of finishing my ninth and final thought. I mean, productivity’s great and all, but as students we also have to remember to take a break and relax once in awhile. It’s not like that homework assignment or paper is going anywhere!

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