January 30th, 2009 Jamie
Like most students you probably find yourself the least productive at the moment you need to be the most productive. For example, I noticed that whenever I should be studying for finals I suddenly felt the need to clean my room (though I didn’t do that the rest of the quarter)/play Text Twist/do something extremely time consuming like try to make a stop motion film.
Does this sound familiar?
Thought so. Anyway, when you finally do buckle down and decide to get productive, here are a few great places to start streamlining your lifestyle.
1. Schedule Email Time. I bet you would be amazed at how much time you waste by constantly checking your email. (If you want to know exactly how much, you can track it using free time-tracking software like RescueTime !) One of the best time-management tips I can give you is to schedule time for your email–both to read and respond to it–and leave it alone for the rest of the day. Good luck.
2. Keep Important Docs Online. Stop worrying about carrying your laptop or a flash drive with you everywhere (or worse, emailing yourself) so you can work on your essays whenever you need them. Instead, switch over to using an online doc management system like Google Docs so you can access your favorite excel spreadsheets anytime, anywhere.
3. Turn Off Distractions. When you’re working, work. The best way to actually do your work is to turn off your phone, IM, TV, iPod, and pretty much anything else fun. Stop looking at Facebook and Failblog. Also close your door, and if you need to, ask your roommate to put on headphones. Take 10 minute breaks at regular intervals (every hour, or every 30 minutes if you’re going nuts) to keep your brain moving.
4. Make Lists. One of the BEST ways to make sure you hit all your deadlines is to keep a running to-do list AND a schedule (see how to build a semester study calendar ). I have a running list of things I definitely have to do weekly broken down by days (i.e. Tuesday I do laundry, work, and clean the bathroom). Then I fill in the rest of my to-do list (work on essay, study, meet friends for lunch) around those definite items. It takes a while to get used to writing it down, but after a while it works great.
5. Just Do It. Nike was right: productivity and procrastination can never be BFFs. The biggest secret to getting things done is to just DO them. Make this your motto and you’ll be productive; desert it and all you’ll have to celebrate at the end of the day is the completion of a Project Runway marathon (I should know!). So when you see socks on the floor, pick them up instead of stepping over them. When you see your textbook on your bed, flip through it instead of turning on the TV.
Happy time managing, my friends. (And please share your own secrets if you have them!)
Entry Filed under: academics