4 ways to have a productive day: Varsity edition
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If you choose to continue your studies post-matric then you know the struggle of having to consistently be study-focused and not tempted to add an extra two hours to the alarm.
Starting your day off with enthusiasm, bright ideas, good intentions and a positive outlook can be challenging but not impossible. You just have to make a few changes to how you start your day, mentally and physically.
Even if you attend every lecture or spend hours at the library every day, low productivity levels could make all of that seem meaningless. Being present or blankly staring at a computer screen all day with the intention of working but without actually working doesn't qualify as being productive or getting work done
Being productivity is probably the most important skill you will develop as a student and is a skill that will help you when you enter the workplace, and being able to balance your social, academic, professional and personal lives helps.
Here are three ways to help increase your productivity levels:
1. Create a distraction-proof routine
A routine based on your daily requirements and tasks will set a productive tone in achieving your weekly goal.
Particularly with the student lifestyle of meeting assignment deadlines, nights out and binge-watching Netflix marathons – a decent night’s sleep and waking up at the crack of dawn can be difficult. However, a routine and seven to eight hours of sleep goes hand-in-hand, especially if you want to start your day on the right foot.
Limit all screen time two hours before bedtime, as the blue light from these devices tricks your brain into thinking it's still day time, making it harder to fall asleep if you use them at night.
Keep a daily planner diary to make notes of upcoming deadlines so you can effectively plan around them and prepare. Make notes of important tasks and rank them according to its urgency, use different colour pens.
Plan your meals and snacks, and be sure to take breaks and keep hydrated.
2. Choose your study corner or work desk carefully
It’s a clear no-brainer that your study environment affects your productivity levels and concentration. Carefully choosing where you work can make a big difference to how much you actually get done in a day. From distractions to bustling traffic to overcrowded places – all of these can really zap your ability to focus.
Find your quiet-study zone that faces a wall or a desk, and has a perfect surround that looks less lively.
3. Work in intervals
Create a timetable and assign work in time blocks, this will increase your productivity levels and you can assign smaller bite-sized tasks to each block.
Instead of, "I have the whole day to write this essay," rather say, "I have until midday to finish all my research and plan written up, so I can start writing when I get back from lunch."
According to studies, people are more productive when they assign themselves less time to do the work (within reason). Set yourself time goals and it will give you a healthy dose of pressure to meet deadlines and you can be sure to get as much done as you can before you have to stop.
4. Finish a task before attempting something new
It’s always best to finish what you started instead of completing half of it and getting distracted with something new and in the back of your mind, you know you have to do it at some point. Prioritise and focus on getting important things done before starting another task that requires your focus, time and energy. Make a list of things to do in chronological order of importance.