As college students, many of us have what seem to be unending laundry lists of tasks to complete. Whether it be academic or personal, the goal is to get it all done and still maintain our sanity. If you’re anything like me, on any given day you have 25 things to do and 10 minutes to do them. Just kidding! However, when your standards of achievement are set high the pressures can feel insurmountable. Upon entering graduate school, I set an intention for myself: I will be delivered from the spirit of procrastination. The start was rocky, but with these 9 simple steps, I have managed to get it all done.
- Know what you’re up against: If it’s academic, make sure to thoroughly examine your syllabus. If any of the information or assignments are unclear, be sure to visit your professors during their office hours for clarity. If it’s a personal goal, do research on the best ways to get started.
- Plan ahead: Once you have a clear outline of what you need to accomplish, put aside an hour at the beginning of the week or 15-20 minutes at the beginning of each day to look at your schedule and set a timeline.
- Write your goals down and check them off as you complete each one: According to a Forbes article, a study carried out by the MBA program at Harvard University showed that students who documented their goals ended up making nearly 10 times as much as students who did not document their goals, or did not have any goals at all.
- Incentivize the goal: If your goal is to lose weight, the incentive may be buying a new dress for homecoming. If your goal is to complete an assignment well before the due date, the incentive may be a night out on the town with your friends. Whatever the incentive, give yourself something to look forward to upon completing your tasks!
- Put the phone down: According to research conducted by TNS Global, studies show that millennials spend approximately 3.1 hours a day on their phones, totaling 21.7 hours a week. Every once in awhile I go on a media fast, and lo and behold, I get WAY more work done.
- Maintain a core group of accountability buddies: According to workplace strategy expert Leigh Stringer, “Research shows that having a partner or ‘exercise buddy’ can be highly effective at ensuring we will actually work out, not just talk about it.”
- Set the mood: Think of your scheduled productivity times as dates. Find a spot where you know you’re most productive and prepare yourself with all the tools you know breed your best work.
- Build mental breaks into your schedule: While powering through just to get it all over with may seem somewhat appealing, it’s best not to overdo it. Studies show that those who give in to some kind of diversion or distraction once an hour perform better than those who just keep at it without a break.
- Complete, treat, repeat: Once you’ve completed your goals, treat yourself to your incentives, and get ready to repeat the process with new goals that will put you on the path to ultimate productivity!