As a college student, you’ll be thrown into an impossibly hectic life of racing deadlines, handling multiple assignments (don’t get us started on troublesome group mates!) and still be expected to maintain some form of social life.
So, how do you manage? There are numerous ways you can do it, of course. And it covers a whole bunch of aspects, from the way you eat, dress, clean, sleep, talk and text.
To make it easy for you, we’ve narrowed it down to five simple and quintessential steps. Here are a few tips on how you can be (and stay) productive in college.
#1. Plan your day
Scheduling your day can be the most organised way to be productive. A to-do list is nice to have in case you forget things, but never depend solely on them.
Instead of having a long list of to-dos, schedule and focus on three main tasks to complete. This will help to make your day feel more manageable. Get the hard, dreaded things done first, as this will eliminate that oh so sure possibility to put them off until forever.
Keep track of the things you’ve done in your Done List. Seeing all those accomplished items help you stay motivated to work on the next thing. Here are some secrets to a Successful To Do List.
#2. Run the extra miles (literally)
Take some time in the morning (yes, morning) to jog or work out.
Just take 10-15 minutes at the start of the day to work out some squats, jumping jacks, crunches, or a light run across the street and back. You can plan whichever workout routine that best suits your body and time. The possibilities are endless.
Now, you might feel a wee bit reluctant to drain yourself so early in your day but tune out that voice that calls you to sleep in because exercising at the start of your day actually pumps you with more energy. As a result, you’ll get more things done. You’ll also be less sluggish and feel more motivated to get on with the day.
Plus, according to the experts from the University of Illinois, “exercise improves attention, memory, accuracy, and how quickly you process information, all of which helps you make smarter decisions.”
#3. Organise and declutter
Unable to think clearly with a messy desk?
Unsurprisingly, clutter distracts and restricts your ability to focus on the task at hand. In fact, researchers at Princeton University Neuroscience institute find that the brain’s ability to process information is limited when in a cluttered environment.
So organise and declutter!
Get rid of things you don’t need and have a place for everything. This helps you to find them in no time, especially when you’re in a rush. Being organised also creates cleaner and neater environment that’s inviting after an exhausting day of classes.
#4. Rest and reward
When it comes to studying hours, less is more. This doesn’t mean skipping those morning classes you dread so much.
We know studying and working on assignments after a whole day of class can be daunting and tiring, but hey, it’s part of the whole college experience. Since it is inescapable, you can employ ways to make studying more bearable. Here’s one simple step for you!
Instead of studying for long stretches at a time, take regular breaks and reward yourself. This can be as simple as stretching your legs, eating a bowl of ice cream or watching one (just one!) episode of The Walking Dead.
Regular study breaks can enhance overall productivity and improve your focus. A recent study by University of Illinois found that brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve your ability to focus on a task for prolonged periods. Before starting on your assignment or study session, set a specific reward for yourself for completing the task, or even 50% of the task.
This will make you feel more motivated to stay on the task as you have something to look forward to. And by setting these rewards, you’ll promote memory formation and learning.
#5. Daily dose of vitamin Zzzz
Having enough sleep is important as it improves your focus and helps you be more efficient and productive in sailing through those term papers. DON’T pull all-nighters. Chances are, you’re going to be too tired to even construct paragraphs properly and coffee can only help so much. Worse comes to worst, you’ll miss your class in the morning.
So, treat your body and mind kindly and sleep! Getting enough sleep also means getting up early. Too many people stress on going to bed early but getting up early is just as important. It’ll give you more time to cross things off your to-do list (including that morning workout).