Let’s be real here for a hot sec. While I’m all excited for the holidays and I love my time traveling abroad, let’s not forget something that is really important for us college students: finals are coming.
Since I’ve been abroad, I have kind of forgotten about the college aspect of it. I mean, I know it’s called studying abroad, but let’s be honest for a second: the best part of it is not studying. Yes, I do go to my classes, but I’m always planning my next weekend getaway. I tend to push school aside for the sake of traveling. But now, I’ve started to receive a ton of assignments for the remaining of my time abroad, and I can’t put it off any longer. After all, I need to pass my classes if I want to keep my scholarship and graduate on time!
But one thing that I have realized since I’ve been in college (and particularly since I’ve been in England), it’s that when I have too many things to do, I tend to procrastinate. I push away all work and watch some shows on Netflix instead… until I no longer can.
We talked about it quickly in this month’s email newsletter (by the way, sign up here for tips to become the best college student ever!), but I thought I would share with you some productivity tips that have been helping me get ish done lately!
Tip #1: Get out of your room.
I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get any work done in my dorm room (unless I’m feeling very productive that day, which rarely ever happens). I always end up wandering off on social media or watching more episodes of That 70s Show on Netflix. I also tend to get a little crazy when I stay in my room for too long… I get a little claustrophobic, so I need to get out and get some fresh air. So to counteract that and to make sure that I don’t spend the hour I had planned for studying watching YouTube videos, I try working for some other place. Lately, I’ve been loving working from my school’s library. While I just can’t read from there because it’s too noisy (which I find really odd but here people don’t really seem to care), I get a lot of work done when it comes to my assignments (or the blog… guess where I’m writing this blog post?). The ambiance sort of feels like I’m in a café, and I find that this works for me.
So if you’re like me I can’t get any work done from your bedroom, take your things and get out of your room! Try new places like coffee shops, your campus’s library, etc. It might take you a while to discover what your sweet spot is, but try different working environments until you find your productive place. Once you do, I swear you’ll get a lot more work done!
Tip #2: Get rid of distractions.
I know first hand that the #1 reason why I procrastinate so much is because I always get distracted. It’s so tempting to look at your phone or laptop whenever you get a new notification! As a blogger, I find this to be particularly true as I want to always be aware of what is going on in the blogging world. I want to interact with my readers and blogging friends, but I can’t go check my phone every time someone likes one of my pictures on Instagram, otherwise I would never get anything done.
So how do I make sure that I’m going to be productive? I put my phone in airplane mode so I don’t receive them. I even have deactivated notifications completely for certain apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. That way I’m not tempted to look and scroll through the app everytime I receive a notification. I can choose when I want to take some time to scroll through my feed rather than feeling “forced” to do it as soon as the notification comes in.
When I’m studying or working on the blog, I find that not receiving notifications comes in particularly handy. I don’t have to worry about missing out because I just don’t know what I’m missing (ah!). So I would definitely recommend to turn off your notifications or to put your phone in airplane mode. If you wanted to be a little more extreme, you could also completely turn off your phone. Also, unless you need it, I’d recommend turning off your laptop. That way, you won’t be able to watch Netflix if you get bored. 😉
Tip #3: Break down bigger tasks into smaller ones.
Remember when I said that when I get too many things to do, I tend to procrastinate? That’s because I tend to panic. When I don’t know where to start, I get into procrastinator mode. I would rather play dumb and pretend that I don’t know what to do than figure out what I have to do and get started. But one thing that does help me be more productive and actually get some work done is breaking down my bigger tasks into smaller ones. If you have a paper, you could break it down into research, first draft, editing, formatting and final revision, for instance. You could do the same with studying. You’ll be less likely to procrastinate if you know what you have to do.
Tip #4: Find a study buddy.
As much as I hate group projects, I find that when I’m working in a group where other people depend on my work, I am less likely to procrastinate. So I try to do the same when it comes to studying or even blogging. Find someone to hold you accountable. Tell your friends or your family that you’re procrastinating and that you need their help to stay on top of things. I swear that you’ll find people that are more than willing to help you out! Having someone holding you accountable ensures that you’re actually going to working, otherwise you’ll have to tell that person that you haven’t worked at all. Not very gratifying, is it?
Just make sure that when you go study with your buddy (haha, that rhymed! *moving on*), you actually study. It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re studying with a friend, especially if you know each other well (or you have a ton in common) and that you hang out outside of school. Find someone who you know you will be working well with, or try to stay on topic and keep the chitchat to a minimum.
Tip #5: Bring snacks.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry, I can’t think of anything else. So I always make sure that I have some snacks or a lunch on-hand when I’m studying or working on an assignment. Luckily enough, my library has a café that sells food and drinks so if I get hungry, I don’t have to go back to my dorm to pick up something to eat.
Tip #6: Schedule some breaks in your study sessions.
I’ve mentioned it in the past, but I’ll say it again: you rarely get productive when you schedule a four-hour-long study session. While the idea of blocking 4 hours of productive time in your day isn’t a bad idea in itself, there’s no way that you’ll achieve total productive bliss during 4 hours non-stop. You need to add in some breaks! Breaks allow you to clear the air, and you’ll feel much better and ready to get back to work after a short break. I personally like to give myself a break after every hour of work, but there are many ways to do it. Some use the Pomodoro technique, some just add breaks whenever they cross a task off their to-do list… Honestly, how you do it doesn’t matter, as long as it works for you.
Tip #7: Set up a reward.
Okay, so if you’ve been following me for a while, you know how much I love the reward system and how much I believe in it. One of the things that have been motivating me in the past few years is setting a reward for myself to get through the semester. I always end up treating myself to a book I’ve been wanting to buy for a while. Knowing that I’m going to get a brand new book I’ve been wanting for ages motivates me to push through. Find what motivates you and use that to set a reward to help you survive finals and get to work!
Tip #8: Keep a to-do list… and cross tasks off as you finish things.
My planner-obsessed loves creating to-do lists, but there’s nothing less motivating than seeing a never-ending to-do list. While the do-list itself can be discouraging, crossing things off it is just so satisfying! (Am I right or am I right?) Every day, I write down a list of things that need to be done today (so the most urgent tasks), and I always make sure to actually write them down so I can cross tasks off as I go. Seeing everything that you’ve done so far will motivate you to push through and cross off all the things!
Tip #9: Put some productive music on.
I’m normally not a big fan of listening to music as I’m working. But actually, I’ve realized that it depends on what you are working on, and what you are listening to! I can’t listen to music at all when I read, but when I write, whether it is for an assignment or for the blog, I seem to work better when I have some music on. Everyone is different. I know people who can’t get anything done unless they are listening to something, and people who need to work in absolute silence. Music is a great way to cut yourself out from the world when you can’t seem to concentrate on what you have to do because the people sitting next to you are having a conversation. I’ll also add that different kind of music work for different people. I personally love to listen to pop music (anything upbeat) when I’m working on the blog, but sometimes I get distracted by the lyrics. If that’s your case, try listening to instrumental music. Maybe you’ll like electronic or classical music!
No matter what kind of music you listen to, you need some great earphones so you can listen to it in peace. Sudio Sweden recently sent me a pair of their earphones, and I’m absolutely in love. I have the TRE white wireless earphones, and they are my new favorite thing. Not only are they super comfortable and very cute, the sound is absolutely INCREDIBLE. I do have some problem with the Bluetooth on my laptop, but whenever I listen to music on my phone or my old iPod touch (yes, I still have it!), I use my TRE. I love the fact that they’re wireless (I don’t think I want to go back to regular earphones!). The battery lasts up to 9 hours, so I normally have to charge them about once a week, depending on how much music I’m listening to. I’m honestly kind of in love with them, haha.
If you want to try a pair for yourself, head over to Sudio’s website! You can get 15% off everything by using the promo code “awanderersadventures15” on your next order. If wireless earphones are not your thing, they also have regular earphones and some headphones as well! They can also make a pretty awesome Christmas gift too, just saying. 😉
What is your favorite productivity tip? Let me know in the comments below!