Have you ever spent a day “doing stuff” but discovered that you’ve actually achieved very little? Turns out, there’s busy and there’s productive, and they’re not the same thing.
A productive day sees you taking a few steps – even little ones – forward where you’re closer to your goals. It may not be the most pleasant day you’ve experienced, and you may have to do things that you really don’t want to, but afterwards you’ve overcome hurdles and tipped the balance in your favour.
So, what can we do in a practical way to master the slippery art of productivity?
Set a routine
The key to forming good mental habits lies within a good routine. Sometimes, we just don’t want to. But, if we have a routine and we go through the motions, even begrudgingly, we’re training ourselves to be more disciplined. Self-discipline and consistency are the little-known keys to success.
Set attainable goals
Shooting for the stars is great, but if your goals are too lofty then you’re going to get used to not achieving them, and you’re going to stop setting them. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Rather set bite-sized goals with the aim of taking several small steps instead of one giant one.
Do the hard stuff first
Leaving a tough and unpleasant task until we’re mentally exhausted at the end of the day is a recipe for disaster. If possible, prioritise the things you really don’t like or don’t want to do and get them out of the way. You’ll be surprised at the weight off your mind.
If you’re one of those people who tend to keep their to-do list in their head (don’t!) then you’re going to start dropping balls at some point. Keep a to-do list and note down everything that’s going to take more than a few minutes. This applies to study and personal matters; sent your mom that reply text and then it’s done. Finish a task, cross it off, and move on.
Don’t overdo it
You may feel like an immortal, but even you have your limits. Set time blocks for work and stick to them. If you know that you only have 15 minutes to go then your brain is likely to trojan on and finish a project as opposed to going wandering because it’s simply overworked.
Do you know of any productivity hacks that have helped you get through those tough varsity days? Let us know.