As much as we love “back to school” with shopping and catching up with friends, let’s be real: our productivity is the worst at the start of the school year. But rather than waiting for the work to pile-up, here are 5 tips to be productive and take on the school year like a pro:
Let’s get settled
After spending a year of school from home, we know how important our environment is. Where you study is going to have a huge effect on productivity. Keep in mind, this is going to differ for everyone. Some people need library silence to focus; others prefer background music. Anyone still listening to lofi beats?
Keep your space clean, well lit, and consider keeping a snack and water on the side. We can’t have you getting dehydrated this early in the year. Remember, the school year is a marathon, not a sprint.
At the start of every study session, take five minutes to ask yourself: What do I need to finish? Now, pay attention: Write. It. Down. Writing a physical to-do list is more effective than just trying to remember it. It gives you a visual cue and you’ll remember things better. Neuroscientists call this the “generation effect.”
It also gives you a little kick-back, feeling like you’ve achieved something whenever you can cross a task off your list. And guess what? There is a name for that too: the Zeigarnik effect. We got the science to back it up, so start writing it down.
Grab a buddy
A disclaimer: Your best friend isn’t always going to be your best study buddy. Sometimes, friends are too distracting and you’re not going to get work done between chatting and sending each other memes.
So make sure you find someone who can hold you accountable, and vice versa. You can even find students who are willing to do this online via Zoom call or online study groups. So get out there (virtually), make a friend, and get your work done.
Meet Pomodoro method
Got your buddy? Cool, there’s someone else I want you to meet--or rather, something: the Pomodoro method. It’s a time management trick that breaks up your time to avoid burnout, and it’s shockingly simple. Ready? Work for 25 minutes and then take a break for five.
Yup, that’s one “pomodoro.” After four pomodoros, go ahead, pat yourself on the back and take a longer break. Not too long! Something between 15 to 30 minutes. After all, we still got work to do.
Time flies when you’re working hard
Sometimes we’re the ones who put the most pressure on ourselves. So how can we use that to be productive? If you have time-lapse on your phone: Set up your camera on time lapse and record yourself studying.
First, you can’t mindlessly scroll through TikTok or Twitter when you’re recording. Secondly, it puts pressure on you from the very person you know is going to watch it later: yourself. So go embody that #vlogger life.
It’s wild that not everyone is taught the skills to be productive on their own time. But hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be ready to not only start strong, but keep up that energy throughout the year.