Oh man, sometimes being at university sucks! Of course, you want to get good grades, but this is your time to get to know people! These are your university years, you’re supposed to have fun, drink and get to ‘know’ people. How can you do all that if all you’re doing all day is studying, writing essays and working on group projects with people whose idea of fun is sharpening a pencil?
That won’t do! And so, today we’re going to look at a bunch of ways to be more effective with your time so that you’ve got more time left over to do other, more fun things. In that way, you’ll get to have your cake and eat it too.
Have you heard of the Pomodoro method? It’s a fantastic way to beat procrastination and focus your attention on a project. The idea is very simple. The two main reasons we don’t like to start on projects are:
- The project seems far too large and we don’t want to spend hours slaving away at it.
- When we’ve actually started on a project, we keep getting distracted by social media, chatting with girls, television shows and the calls of friends.
The Pomodoro method tries to beat both of those problems by calling on you to focus on a task for only 25 minutes, but when you do so to do so completely. Yet set the TomatoTimer, which is really a tomato, and then focus on getting through the 25 minutes without allowing yourself to get distracted.
Then, when you do finish, you hear a big buzzer and you can relax. Or, if you find you’re really doing well, you can set it again and go for another 25 minutes. Even if you only work for the first 25 minutes you’ve assigned, you’ll often be surprised by how much work you can get done while not allowing yourself to get distracted.
Of course, sometimes we need a bit of help making certain we don’t get distracted, as it’s damned hard not to respond to the beeps, bings, and bongs of social media. When you can’t do it on your own, get help! Use something like the app self-control, which for a time switches off all of your social media, your Netflix and more. You decide what hours it does so. And then you try to work during the period you’ve assigned yourself.
You’ll find that you’re far more productive when you do this.
Perhaps you’ve heard that multitasking is a great way to get a great deal of work done. If that’s what people have been telling you, then they’ve been giving you really bad advice. We are terrible at multi-tasking and there are even studies that show that it destroys brain cells. Yes, you read that correctly. It destroys brain cells.
So don’t multitask. Instead, focus on one task until you’re done with it (or you can’t do it anymore) and then switch over to something else. The idea here is not that you don’t switch tasks – that is fine – it’s just that you don’t do so every few minutes. Instead, spend 30 minutes or so and only then switch over. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Get enough sleep
You might not think so, but if you’re regularly not getting enough sleep, that’s going to affect your productivity (as well as make you moody, make you more likely to dwell on things and a great deal more). Six hours is not enough for the vast majority of people, no matter what all those productivity books say. You need somewhere between seven and nine hours.
Basically, if you’re finding that you need an alarm clock to wake up, you immediately fall asleep when you go to bed and you are drowsy in warm rooms (like classrooms), you’re probably not getting enough sleep. IN that case, try sleeping more, it will add far more hours to your day then it takes away (and let you live longer beside, which is the ultimate productivity gain).
Have a regular schedule
Yeah, it sounds so boring, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. If you can get yourself to study and work during the same hours of the day, then you’re going to be far more productive to those hours as your body and your brain adapt.
If you do that, then soon you’ll find that you’re able to finish far more work during those hours then if you would try to work at some other time and that obviously leaves far more time for other things, like drinking, hanging out with girls and enjoying the parties!
Some people work hard. Other people work smart. I promise you the latter group gets the much better grades. And you can belong to that group if you just follow the advice that I’ve thrown your way. Sure, it might take a bit of adapting and changing the way you work, but in the long run, you’ll have more time, more fun and better grades.
Now that has to be worth a bit of life adjusting, right?