6 Tips for Cultivating Productivity

Transform your stressful Sundays!

Late nights at the library, midnight deadlines, and Sunday’s impending threat of unfinished homework evoke horrendous feelings of dread. Unfortunately, this overwhelming state is common and an undeniable part of being a college student (and a human being).

Finding free time is crucial: whether you’re alone with a book or socializing with friends, this time away from work shouldn’t be ignored. Maximizing productivity during the week ensures guilt-free “me time”. Implementing just a few of these tips could transform your Sundays from the pinnacle of procrastination to a day of well-deserved relaxation.

1) Start your day off right!

An energizing morning sets a strong precedent for the rest of your day. Waking up even 20 minutes earlier than normal gives you more time to enjoy your morning, establishing an exceptional mood for the day. Savoring a cup of coffee, reading an interesting article, or having a real breakfast have wonderous effects.

If you’re feeling extra ambitious, try to add a quick workout to your morning routine. Running even a mile can provide valuable natural energy as well as provide a sense of accomplishment before you begin to tackle the real stuff!

2) Visualize your goals

Keeping track of your daily and weekly goals allows you to hold yourself accountable for the work you get done. At the beginning of the week, take a piece of paper, list all that needs to get done, and map out how you’ll do it. Though routines can feel restrictive and dull, a general idea of your day gives you a basic structure to work with.

Find other small ways to visualize your goals. Look into downloading Google Chrome extensions such as Momentum, which gives you inspiring quotes, photos, and customizable to-do lists each time you open a new window. Not only do these methods of visual planning give you constant reminders of prioritized goals, let’s face it- there’s no better feeling than crossing something off a list.

3) Know your limits

Pushing yourself to continue work when you’re in need of a mental recharge can do more harm than good. Sometimes a quick break away from your work allows you to get much-needed unfocused energy out. Be mindful of what type of break would serve you best- it could be a short walk outside, a phone call home, allowing yourself five minutes of phone time, or perhaps a grabbing a snack (my personal favorite). A mental break allows you to return to your work with a reinvigorated focus.

In the same vein, it’s important to know when you’ve maxed out your productive hours, totally exhausting your mental focus for the day. Knowing when to head home and fully recharge is sometimes the best decision, allowing you to invest in the following day. Never underestimate the value of sleep!

4) Curb distractions

Distractions come in many forms, each one causing a unique threat to your focus and mental stamina. Take a moment to identify what your biggest challenges are and make a conscious action to minimize these distractions.

Oftentimes phones are our biggest enemies when it comes to maintaining concentration. Minimize your desire to check your phone by setting it to “do not disturb” or keeping it out of sight entirely. Throwing your phone into inaccessible depths of your backpack may be the best way to preserve your focus.

5) Change up your environment

It’s easy to get attached to our favorite work areas- whether it’s the basement of your dorm, or a particular booth in the library, we all have places we gravitate towards on the reg. Though it’s good to know where you’re most productive, there are also merits to switching up your work environment. For example, if you have readings, venturing outside to find a quiet spot may be the perfect way to take a break from the intensity of a silent study room.

6) Celebrate success!

It’s important to reward yourself for success, because we often focus on our goals rather than the hard work we put in to get there. Maintaining the habits necessary to accomplish our goals is the hardest part, and it’s great cause for celebration! Keep track of your progress, and if you maintained most of your productive work day habits, treat yourself at the end of the week. A well-deserved reward will further enhance your relaxing Sundays!

In conclusion, there is no perfect recipe to ensure that you maximize your focus.  If you’re committed to cultivating productivity, a trial-and-error period of testing out different daily habits may be beneficial. Try waking up at different times, testing the impact that coffee or tea has on your body, and using different types of study breaks to find what’s most effective. Tracking your most productive patterns allows you to develop a personal routine that works best for you!

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