As a straight A university student on an intense course and a job, I often to struggle to stick to my packed schedule and then give up. Like many of you, I’ve scoured the internet for the countless articles that mostly repeat the same advice over and over again about increasing productivity which all fall in the line of :
a) Getting up early
b) Writing up a schedule for the day
c) Eating healthily
e) Giving yourself breaks
f) Don’t multitask
g) Sticking to the Spartan routine day after day
Don’t get me wrong, all the above points are true and they work. But is there an easier way around this? Is there any way to make this routine something we look forward to rather than gritting our teeth to complete it everyday of every week in every year?
From experience, I always find that my most productive days was starting the day off with the right mindset to work. And the key is in the morning (or whatever time you decide to roll out of bed for those of you who can afford to). That’s because as many have already pointed out that its the time when your thoughts are at their clearest and where there is supposed to be the least amount of distractions. Here are my top tips:
- Don’t turn your phone or any electronic device on until you have had breakfast. Phones are great but they are big distractions especially when you want to focus. Try and get as many tasks done without switching on your phone and laptop. You might find that you will come up with more ideas.
- Instead of setting yourself big tasks that would take up lots of time, i.e. write a 3000 word essay by today, break up these tasks into smaller more palatable tasks. Everybody tries to set high and often unrealistic goals whether its to lose weight or to New Year’s goals. But many of us give up on the way. Its better to start off with something more realistic and then building up as you become more efficient or on days when you want to work harder. Instead of writing that 3000 word essay, aim to write the introduction and do the background research.
- Try and meditate or write a short paragraph about your thoughts/ surroundings before breakfast. This will help you to clear your thoughts and relax you for the day ahead.
- Take a shower before breakfast. Again this is to refresh yourself and give yourself more me time to think and reflect or plan if you are already motivational.
- Don’t go on social media and if possible your emails until you are leaving for work/ uni/ school. No one wants to miss out on happened the night before and the morning after but there is still time to check on this when you commute. I find it personally impossible to concentrate whilst commuting; its always too loud and uncomfortable and I have to half concentrate on my surroundings so that I don’t miss my stop and its the perfect tine to do the things that are the least important. (If they had wifi in the London underground it would be perfect)
- Do the task that you are dreading the most straight after breakfast before going out i.e. to work After breakfast is the time when most people are the most awake and its the time when you are most likely to focus best on the task.
- Always leave at least one task to do after a long day at work. Having a day that’s evenly distributed with work and rest is better than a day where work is very skewed towards the day as it motivates you to extend your working hours. Personally, the task at the end of the day should be something more relaxing i.e. writing a blog post or doing some proofreading of work you have done earlier instead of starting an assignment or something you difficult to complete in the few hours before going to sleep.
- Plan for your day the night before. I find that this morivates me to go to bed early and therefore I can get up earlier in the morning at a time when there is less distractions.
- Don’t try and cram a lot of tasks in each day unless you have to; plan your day with plenty of breaks. There is only a limit to someone’s attention span. I would recommend taking 10 minute breaks after every 90 minutes of hard work. There is always too much to do in one day but you have to remember that a person’s productivity goes down with time.
- Leave your phone for an hour before going to sleep and read a good book. I would read something relaxing and inspirational so that you can get a pleasant night’s sleep