The semester has started back up again, and I don’t know about you guys but for me it’s time to go, go, go. I know that when the weekend hits, the thought of just relaxing in bed and scrolling through Instagram is way too appealing. Before you know it, it’s already after 2p.m. and you’re still in your pajamas when you promised yourself you’d already be done with three chapters in your textbook by now.
I like to think that I’ve always been pretty good at being productive when I don’t have classes. I can usually get through a huge chunk of my to-do list in one day if I really go at it, and this semester—my final semester—it’s going to be more important than ever for me to get my crap together and get things done in a timely manner. Nope, no slacking here!
If you think you’re not the best at having a productive day, read on to find out what I do to set myself up to clear out my to-do list in less than 24 hours. I also have a post on How To Recover From An Unproductive Day, that you might also find really interesting, so be sure to check that out too!
1. Wake up EARLY.
I honestly can’t stress this enough! I could probably go on and on about the benefits of waking up early to start your day, but for the sake of your super valuable time, I won’t. I’ll control myself (this time). There’s nothing that helps me conquer my day quite like getting up at 8:30 in the morning. And I know y’all are already fully acquainted with my cut-throat sarcasm, but I promise you I mean that in the most serious way possible. When you’re up early, you can take a shower, get dressed, call your parents, and get right into your day right off the bat. You’ll be able to get a few more hours of hard work in, which means you may complete everything on your list sooner rather than later at night. Don’t expect to cross everything off a lengthy to-do list if you don’t start working until after 4p.m. It’s probably not going to happen.
2. Dress nicely.
Ever hear of the saying, “dress to impress”? Well, dressing nicely can make quite the impression on how much you can get done during the day. For some people—myself included—wearing sweats and a baggy shirt can induce feelings of sluggishness and make you less motivated to sit down and do work. That’s the worst way to be productive, so I love getting dressed up—full face of makeup, cute heels, and a nice outfit—on the weekends to just sit in Starbucks and do work. I look good and I feel powerful enough to tackle my assignments. Of course, you should always do what’s comfortable for you. If you get your best work done in sweats, more power to you.
3. Make plans with people.
This actually sounds counterproductive but here’s why I find that this works: Meeting up with friends is kind of like putting a big stamp over a time block on your schedule that says, “reserve this time for being with these people.” And when I know that I have to see someone at a specific time in the middle of my day, I make damn sure that I get as much of my to-do list of the way as possible before we meet up. This is so that if our lunch date or meet up takes a little longer than expected, I already know that I did a lot of work so I won’t feel like I have to rush through the rest of my list. It’s a small trick, but it really works for me. Give it a try!
4. Get out of your dorm room.
I can’t, for the life of me, do work in my dorm. The planets need to slightly mis-align for me to be in a special kind of mood to have laser focus in my room. If you’re like me, get out while you still have time to be productive. Nothing kills your work zone like being distracted by the snacks in your room and your Netflix account repeatedly calling your name. Gather all of your belongings and head to your favorite study spot, be it the library or that one random building that no one on campus knows about. Putting yourself there early can help you get into the mindset to do work. If you need tips on actually getting down to business once you’re there, I have tips for having a Productive Library Study Session if you want to take a look at them.
5. Read a book in your spare time instead of going on social media.
If you’re a bookworm, you probably don’t have to be told twice to pick up a book for fun. When people tell me that they’re having trouble focusing on their work, I always tell them to read a book for 30 or 40 minutes because that’s how I get myself to focus on work without forcing myself to stare at what I have to get done. If you’re not in the mindset, you won’t get anything done, so this little trick never fails me. It’s way better than scrolling through Facebook or Instagram because those cute animal videos can get so addicting, and before you know it, you’ve already wasted an hour looking at them. That’s not going to get you in the mindset for work any better or any faster. Tell yourself that you’ll read one chapter in your book and get to work. Or set a timer for 30 minutes and read until it’s up. You work the muscles in your brain better by doing this over going on social media.
How do you stay productive throughout the day? Which of these tips will you try?