There are a number of times I tried to do hard work at uni. I’ve been blessed to reap the fruits of those but sometimes I realize that working hard really isn’t enough. There are different smart and efficient ways to get through college successfully without burning the midnight oil. Here are 5 ways to boost your productivity which you can literally start adapting today!
Productivity Tip #1 | The Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Calendar
I get really anxious when I wake up in the day and not know what to do first. It’s not easy especially if you’ve got a lot on your plate. We can’t really rely on our brains to just remember everything! Thinking too much makes less room for productivity as it paralyzes us.
A key to knowing how to be more productive is to make yourself prepared. It will be easier to put important due dates and school events in your calendar the moment you get them. My monthly calendar is mostly for general dates such as exams, breaks, holidays, celebrations, etc. The weekly calendar is to give me an overview – a heads up to what will happen that week. It also allows me to prepare for things days and helps me avoid cramming things the night before.
The daily calendar is to help me see what I need to do on that specific day. It helps me worry less about whether I have time for things or not. By doing this, it also allows me to focus on one thing at a time since it can get really stressful when you’re thinking of different things all at once.
The calendar I use for my monthly overview is Google Calendar. It’s easier to use since I’d be able to view it across my devices. I have it color-coded to help me identify what my days (or months) would look like. It also allows me to see if my priorities are well reflected in it.
The app I use to view my weekly and daily tasks is Todoist. I know it’s not exactly a calendar but the app allows me to set priorities by ordering them from 1-3. It also allows me to segregate them into different categories just like in my calendar. I can also set the time and reminders for each task and event, and create subtasks for each. It’s been really helpful for my productivity.
Productivity Tip #2 | Pomodoro // Intervals
Pomodoro might be already familiar to you but it really is a key to help you get moving. Whenever I feel unmotivated, I just set up a timer for 20-50 minutes. The tasks just seem less daunting and I end up being more productive. It makes me view the tasks as more measurable in terms of getting them done.
It also helps to do time blocking aside from using the Pomodoro technique in performing your tasks. You can check out How To Manage Yourself and Block Your Time Properly for more tips on how I do it.
Intervals is a new system I’m trying to adapt and it’s been really helpful. If I have a lot to study, I set a time for each page I need to read. For example, if it’s an easy read, I set up 2.5 minutes per page and the intervals timer just “dings” whenever the time is up. The counter, however, is continuous so I know when I’m behind or ahead of my schedule. It helps me read and learn materials faster. It also helps me improve my focus as I know I have a timer on the run. (Shoutout to Charles for giving me this tip!)
You can check out the app I use for this tip here. Although it’s originally for workouts, it really helps me with my studies, boosting my productivity.
Productivity Tip #3 | Work Smart Tools for Faster and Better Learning
We all know that hard work is important but working smart makes us more efficient. I always like to look for tools I could use to help me work easier or study faster and more efficiently. Some of the apps I highly recommend are Flip and Anki.
Flip is an app I use to time myself if I have a daily goal per task. For example, if I aim to work on my thesis 3 hours per day and get 1 chapter done, or read 30 pages per subject in an hour, the app helps me time myself and record how much I’ve done.
Anki, on the other hand, is a smart flashcard app. It allows you to memorize and review your cards on spaced repetition, helping you to get through them faster as you’ll learn them more efficiently. It’s really helpful if you want to remember your stuff for the long term.
Productivity Tip #4 | Set-Up / Find Your Environment
Since the first year at uni, my environment changes from time to time. Sometimes I work best in libraries, sometimes at home in my room, while other times in coffee shops. You can even go smaller than that and find yourself work best in a desk you just rearranged or cleaned. It’s different for all of us. If you can’t find a place, you can set up the environment as it can mentally prepare you as well. It’s funny how changing my desk set up already prepares me for a night of productivity.
Related: 7 Tips to Keep Yourself Motivated
Productivity Tip #5 | Find Out Your Circadian Rhythm, Know When You Work Best
I’m no sleep expert, but I’ve recently found out about circadian rhythms and soon enough I realized that there’s no point for me trying to wake up as early as possible if that’s not the natural way for my body. I learned when my body sleeps and likes to rest and realized what time of day my focus is at its peak. With these things in mind, I schedule the other things around them.
It’s better explained here.
Once I found my peak hours and accepted the hours that I really could not work, I was able to prioritize better. I am able to schedule more important things on my peak hours — making me more efficient!
- Use a monthly, weekly, and daily calendar
- Use a Pomodoro or Intervals app
- Make use of smart tools for faster and better learning
- Set up or find the environment where you work best
- Find out your circadian rhythm
Any of these tips helpful? Feel free to share more down in the comments! Feel free to share it with your fellow architecture students or college friends. You can sign up for our newsletter for more exclusives on How to Succeed in Architecture School!