Productivity Tips Each College Student Should Try
10 well explained productivity tips that each college student should practice. Try this productivity tips and you will be acing your college exams.
Each college student has 24 hours in a day to make the most out of their day. Most college students fall into a productivity rut especially when they are studying from home.
If you have fallen into a productivity rut, don't be afraid to try something new. These 10 tips will inspire you to accomplish your goals and conquer your to-do list.
1. Train Your Brain to Focus
When you are focused for a long period of time that's when you are at your maximum productivity. Jotting down and storing any passing thoughts when you are in concentration mode is one of the ways in making a brain dump plan.
Having a brain dump system which is achieved by keeping a bullet journal by your side, use a note taking app like Evernote, utilizing your phone's voice memo recorder. This will help to free your mind to focus on your college task at hand.
There are 7 best ways to train your brain to stay focused.
- Plan and Visualize Critical Tasks Each Day - What you think most of the time is what generates your reality. Each morning or before bedtime visualize the critical tasks that must be done throughout the day. This will lead to you generating feelings that will lead to action, and actions will lead to results.
- Know Your Peak Hours - Your peak hours when you perform the best might be in the morning or during the night. To know your peak hours measure how productive you are during different times of the day.
- Train Your Mind Like a Muscle - Your brain is like a muscle and when you want to build a muscle is by exercising. To train your brain to stay focused is a matter of practice and not once but regularly.
- Be Disciplined and Have Willpower - Your willpower is the fuel of your actions while discipline is your ability to go past intrusive thoughts, comfort zones and laziness. Replace the word "should " with "must". This will help your brain take you seriously.
- Try to Avoid Pain to Gain pleasure - As a student and you are trying to be productive and you want to do your homework, you may procrastinate your homework as it indicates incoming pain. Most college students do things because they seek pleasure by trying to avoid pain. Be in charge and train your brain to take pain to gain pleasure.
- Avoid Distractions - If your environment has distractions you can't train your brain to stay focused. Ensure your environment lacks distractions for you to stay focused.
- Practice Mindfulness and Power of Habits - When you build a habit you'll no longer have to use motivation and willpower to stay focused and productive. Being mindfulness is focusing your attention on the present moment.
2. Track Your Time
Have a time tracking app like Toggl will help you visualize how you spend your time each day. Consistent time tracking will help you reveal opportunities for improvement and keeps you honest about your own productivity.
When you track your time you will be able to know which projects you are spending too much time on and which matters the most. This will help you in making deliberate adjustments to your time schedule.
Why You Should Track Your Time as a College Student
- You will get to see how many hours you work.
- You will be able to separate yourself from the stories you tell yourself such as I do not have free time. By tracking your time you will be able to verify whether this stories are true.
- You will be able to discover what actually your priorities are and be able to invest more time at the important things first.
- Knowing how you spend your time will make you feel richer and greater. You will feel more productive as you will be working on more important tasks, spending more time with family and friends.
- Time log may lead you to change. This is when you notice that you spend a lot of time on a certain activity such as travelling and you are left with little time for other activities. This might lead you to change on how you commute so as to save time.
3. Avoid Multi-Tasking
Try as much and resist to multi-task. Multi-tasking will lower your powers of concentration and will leave you feeling scattered.
Single tasking is more effective for your productivity as a college student. Single tasking is when you apply all your brain power to a specific task for a short period of time.
Ignore all distracting factors, get to work and finish that college assignment.
When you multitask you will be more likely to make more mistakes, have anxiety as shown by this study conducted by researchers at the University of California.
If you're trying to be creative in your project, your creativity will be inhibited as you will have no working memory left to come up with ideas and concepts. Lastly when you try multi-tasking you will end up only wasting time hence you won't be productive.
6 Ways to Avoid Multi-Tasking
- Start with the Pomodoro 25 minutes on each task then move to another task. If 25 minutes is too scary start with 15 minutes.
- Turn off distractions this means your phone notifications and environmental distractions.
- Each task should have it's individual time.
- Seek a quiet place to work with minimal distractions. You can achieve this by using noise cancelling headphones or even by putting a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door.
- Reduce clutter as it will be very difficult to stay productive on a place that is full of clutter.
- Set up your priorities, tackle your most important tasks first and when you are done you will have the rest of the time to relax with your fellow college students.
4. Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro techniques is known to be one of the most effective method for productivity. This productivity technique combines single-tasking with a built-in reward system.
How this technique works is you set a timer for 25 minutes and work on a specific task without stopping. When 25 minutes are over, reward yourself with a 5-minute break, then repeat the cycle for three or four rounds.
Repeat the cycle a few times and then give yourself a satisfying 30-minute long break.
We have created a very simple online Pomodoro timer for you to use.
5. Organize Your Workspace
Your workspace could be negatively affecting how productive you are. If you require an organized study space to function at your best, take a few minutes at the end of each day to clean up any clutter on your workspace. By forming this habit, your next day mornings will be very productive.
7 Tips to Organize Your Workspace
- De-clutter your workspace by shredding the non required documents, file your papers and remove anything that does not add value to your productivity. Get inspiration on different work spaces in pinterest, magazines or websites.
- Take your time to label shelves, files, documents using different color labels, This will help you not loose any documets.
- Segment your workspace such as having a different desk from your computer workstation to a non-computer workstation. This will help you be more productive on assignments such as drawings that do not require a computer.
- Use storage boxes and containers for storing your items. This will help you stay organized and you will be more productive as you will not spend a lot of time looking for items.
- To stay productive keep your desk organized and clutter free.
- Organize your laptop/desktop by deleting unnecessary folders and apps. Organize your college projects into different folders and use your calendar to mark the important events dates.
- Have inspirational reminders on why to keep your workspace organized for your productivity.
6. Always Be Prepared
Before you start studying, compile everything you'll need to complete your studies. That means bring your laptop charger to the library, gather relevant books and assignments, carry functional pens or pencils in advance. You might lose focus every time you stop working to retrieve some missing item. A few minutes of being prepared will save you countless hours of distraction.
As Benjamin Franklin said; "By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail" so try being prepared always not only when you're studying in college but all the time. Being prepared will enhance your self discipline, strategic thinking - this is mainly seen when you are preparing for a complex task because will be required to display a higher degree of strategic thinking. Remember no one was born as a strategic thinker, it's a skill which you practice.
When you're prepared as a college student, you increase your flexibility and develop more resilience where you will be able to come back stronger, healthier and successful when something bad happens such as failing a college exam.
7. Start Each Day With a Win
When you start each day with a win there will be a positive momentum to everything you do for the rest of the day. By getting that win early in the day, means that you're in control and that will be a huge win for you for the rest of the day.
When you do this every day, you will have consistent growth, you will expand your life and each day you will be very productive. Start the day by being in control by starting with a win.
8. Start Each Day With a Toad
The best time to knock off an unpleasant task is first thing in the morning. In the 18th-century a French writer Nicolas Chamfort said that, "Swallow a toad in the morning if you want to encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day."
Anything that is a "toad" is what you've been avoiding, from finishing that calculus assignment to sending that stressful email to hitting the gym.
Steps on how to start your day with a toad is by:-
- Create an outline for your tasks of the day, maybe a simple list.
- Narrow down your list to ten tasks.
- Pick the three most important items out of the ten narrowed tasks.
- Pick the worst task out of the three tasks.
- Finally out of your ten tasks, pick out your favorite one.
9. Your Goals Should be Actionable
Labeling tasks on your to-do list such as "finish school project" you will feel overwhelmed. Approaching big complicated tasks without breaking them into bite-sized pieces will make you feel overwhelmed as a college student.
Luckily, there's an easy fix: Write down every single individual task that needs to be completed for the project to finish no matter how small it is. Spend 25-minutes doing this and you'll be able to approach each of these small, achievable tasks with increased focus hence increasing your productivity as a college student.
There are steps on setting actionable goals which are.
- Set definable, clear and concrete goals.
- Use leverage to define your actionable goal
- Break down your goal into smaller parts.
- Keep your deadline goals realistic.
- Be accountable of your actionable goals.
- Take action
- Keep on checking your progress
- Reward yourself
10. Keep on Prioritizing
A to-do list is always a work in progress. Reevaluate your overall priorities each time you add a new item in your to-do list. Assess each task by importance, deadline, and how long you expect it to take. Write your daily college student to-do list in order of importance or set visual reminders by color coding in your calendar according to their priorities.
There are three ways to keep your priorities on track, even when you're feeling distracted. Some of this three ways are by choosing your commitments carefully, using technology to protect your time by minimizing distractions via features such as "Do Not Disturb" and other features to track how you spend your time such as timeIt and lastly is by what bring value to others. Research has confirmed that there is benefits of giving to others not only by improving their professional success but also by boosting their health and happiness.
Lastly, if you have a pending task that requires no more than three minutes of your time, don't waste time writing it on a to-do list. Just get it done.