Productivity. As a student, you'll probably hear and learn lots about this from lecturers, students, and study tips online. Being productive can be easy, but it can also very quickly consume a lot of time if you get distracted! Here are our 5 top tips for staying on track, being productive and getting work done.
1. Create a routine for yourself
Creating habits for yourself is a great way to be more productive and for students to enjoy the time they have set aside for studying. Set up regular days and hours for yourself to re-cap content, create study notes, work on assignments, and do all the course reading. Setting these weekly expectations and keeping track of your work will help you get more done in your allocated time and will help you stay focused for longer as you know you've only got a set amount of time to complete your tasks.
2. Make yourself a daily to-do list
Keep it short and keep it to the point. Even if you have many things to do that day, start small and keep it manageable. If you have 30 things to do but know you'll only be able to finish 3, note down the three things to complete for the day and start working on them. Creating realistic expectations of yourself will help you produce better work and decrease stress, as when you get things done, you'll complete them. Sticking to this short task list will also ensure that you avoid multitasking and give you more freedom to take breaks and relax between work tasks.
3. Stop Multi-tasking
As tremendous and in-control as you might feel when you multitask, it's detrimental to your productivity and work! When you multitask, you ask your brain to switch tact and dive into another subject matter. While it keeps things interesting when studying, it requires your brain to take more time to change and focus on the new task presented. Instead of just focusing and progressing on one job, you are attempting to complete three or more things at once. This decreases your productivity and work output and reduces your ability to concentrate and focus.
4. Do the most challenging things first
We've all had that one terrible assignment or topic we've put off till the last minute only to struggle our hearts out to complete and study it. Stop putting yourself through that additional stress and tackle the worst things head-on! Even if you get one step closer to understanding or starting the assignment, you are one step closer than before!
To get started: Break down the task at hand. Create a plan, find additional resources, and ask your lecturers or teaching assistants for some extra help! They will be more than willing to discuss any of the material with you further. If you've got a study group or friends in your class, ask them too, they might be able to help you out.
5. Take your breaks!
Even if you get into the swing of things and are absorbed in your studies and assignments, make sure you give yourself a break! Every hour or so, take 10-15 minutes for a break. Get some fresh air, do some stretches or exercise. These breaks will not be detrimental to your assignment and will do wonders for your mental health and well-being. They will help you re-focus and may provide some clarity and perspective to your work. You could even use this time for a quick power nap or coffee break and have a quick chat with friends. Keep track of your work and breaks with a timer; this is especially useful if you want to catch up on socials during your study breaks.
Being productive will help you get more done in less time if you stay consistent and focused on your goals. Getting things done doesn't need to be complex or time-consuming; if you focus on the work at hand and limit distractions, you'll learn and enjoy learning more.