Planning & Productivity

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With multiple assessment deadlines, lectures, and study workload it can be easy to get swamped with ‘to-dos’ and feel that you are drowning in work as dry land disappears into the distance.

The build up of work is one of the biggest university stressors causing you to feel overwhelmed and exhausted as time runs out. Making sure you remain productive is essential to navigating university and work life, here are some tips.

Set concrete goals for yourself

Set achievable small goals that have continuous progression. Don’t just generalise otherwise it can be easy to get lost, make your goals defined. You will feel more accomplishment each time you reach a goal which will inspire you to continue.

Identify your productivity cycles

We are all different, some people are more productive in the morning while others need a jug of coffee to open their eyes. If you are a night owl and struggle to concentrate in a morning, don’t schedule to do early morning studies, be aware of when you are most likely to procrastinate and avoid them, otherwise you can demotivate yourself when you do not stick to task.

Start with the best or worst part first

Some students find that starting with the most enjoyable or easiest part of an assignment helps them get going, while others find that getting the worst part out of the way first helps them avoid procrastinating over time. Whichever works best for you, do it

Use the Pomodoro technique

This involves alternating between scheduled periods of study and rest. For example, you can study for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break in between, then once you have completed 4 sets take a well deserved longer break, it is easier to maintain concentration over short bursts with regular rest breaks especially away from screens, rest those eyes.

Make a list and prioritise

To-do lists are a good way to stay organised. Make a to do list for each day, even if half of yesterdays to do list gets written down again. The act of writing down your targets keeps them in mind and there is nothing more satisfying than inputting a line through a completed task, well done, now on to the next one. Divide your work into urgent and non-urgent tasks, and important and unimportant tasks to ensure you manage your time effectively

Backup your university work

The least productive thing you can do is by doing something that you already did! There is nothing worse than a technical failure wiping hours of work away. Backing up your work needs to be taken seriously, if its to an external hard drive or a cloud based program, back up and back up often! It can be the difference between sobs of despair and a sigh of relief.

Use software to help

Productivity software applications can really help you organise your time. There are many different ones to try, see what works for you, Asana and Trello have some good free tools that you can use to arrange tasks and create reminders and deadlines. Here are some of the best productivity apps available