5 Things To Do For An Immediately More Productive Day

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.

Read also: 6 Things To Do To Make Your Mornings More Exciting

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.

Read Also: 5 Simple Ways To Make More Time For Reading Books

How do you stay productive throughout the day? Which of these tips will you try?

How To Recover From An Unproductive Day

how to recover from an unproductive day

This past Saturday was one of the most unproductive Saturdays of my life. I laid in bed watching Facebook videos for most of the day, and while I was really cozy and content doing it, I knew that there was some important work that I would probably try to high tail it to finish on Sunday. I should probably actually call this post “How To Save Your Ass Before Monday.” But sometimes unproductive days are very much-needed, like when you’ve been running around all week and just want a day to be lazy. They’re sometimes good for your mental health, but bad for your GPA! You can’t go back in time and redo the entire day (oh, I wish!) but you can ensure you make a comeback so you can try to salvage what’s left of your good student rep before Monday.

1. Admit that you were unproductive.

The first step is to essentially admit that you screwed up. You had the entire day to study for Tuesday’s exam — there was nothing stopping you. You had enough sleep the night before, you ate well, you even got dressed to head to the library, but you just didn’t do anything. Netflix might’ve won that round. Now you can stop beating yourself up for screwing up and work towards preventing this from happening the next day.

2. Make a plan for tomorrow.

Create a to-do list in your favorite planner. This will help remind you of all the things you should’ve done today but didn’t have to do tomorrow. I like writing down tasks in the best order for doing them because it helps me stay on track; I don’t have to think about which of my 99 problems I should tackle next. My plan for the following day consisted of me going to the gym in the morning, coming back to my room for a shower and heading to my second home (a.k.a. Starbucks) to get work done for the rest of the day.

3. Get your sleep (but don’t sleep in!)

Sleeping adequately is crucial to ensuring that you have enough energy the next day to finish all the things you put off. However, be careful to not sleep in! I find that when I sleep in, I feel lazier during the day and therefore less likely to actually finish all the work I planned to do. Start your day off bright and early (sure, I guess 9a.m. can count as ‘early’). I know Sundays are ideal for sleeping until noon, but you can offset any early morning grumpiness using my tips for making mornings more exciting.

how to recover from an unproductive day

4. Put errands at the top of your list.

Gotta do laundry? Need to run to the pharmacy? Want to go to the gym? Complete all these first so you don’t have to worry about them later in the day. Plus, running errands are a good way to ease into your to-do list. Personally, this helps me stay on track with everything else I have to do because my mind is too distracted to jump right into studying first thing in the morning.

5. Get dressed up.

Get dressed up??? How will this help me be more productive??? If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that you’d spend half a day alone trying to figure out what to wear, but hear me out. How many times have you thrown on a pair of comfy sweats and a workout top and then proceeded to chill in your room because you were already comfortable so you figured: why not get even cozier in bed? Your clothes can be pretty influential on your overall mood. I find that when I, as well as people I know personally, dress nicely — jeans, a nice top and nice shoes, business casual or like we’re going on a casual date — we tend to be in the mood for getting shit done and going out of our way to make things happen. Plus, it’s a good excuse to show off how cute you look to the rest of your campus. Take your wardrobe into account the next time you’re feeling unmotivated to work. I decided to do my makeup extra nicely to put myself in the mood for tackling homework.

6. Work with a group.

Don’t feel like struggling through chemistry alone? Hit up some of your friends and propose a study group. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, being in the company of other people who have to get shit done will help you get your shit done. I do this all the time — even though half my friends aren’t even Journalism majors. It’s just really nice to be around friends when I have to do something I don’t feel like doing.

Related: How To Have A Productive Library Study Session10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

What are your tips for being productive?