7/07/2016 05:59:00 pm


You probably should be doing something productive (ahem, studying) right now, but because of procrastination you're here. I am, too, that's why I'm typing away on my laptop instead of working on my geography revision. But good for you, you're using your procrastination time to read about something to try to curb your procrastination problem and try to be more productive. Here are a few tips:

| Problem: gets distracted, cannot focus |

↪︎ 1. Productivity Apps  /  Web Blockers

e.g. Forest, Self Control for Study [Android | OSX], FocusNow [Android | iOS] Productivity Challenge Timer (which looks interactive and interesting, I'm trying it out now after reading the review here) [Android]

↪︎ 2. Change Environment

If you realise that studying at home or in your room allows you to wander around, talk to your family members, play with your pets, walk to the kitchen to get food every five minutes or so, try changing your study location.

If you can't leave the house but can't work in silence either, you can try Coffitivity, an app that plays white noise to emulate sounds in the cafe [Android | iOS | Desktop]

e.g. library, cafe (that allows studying), school, park...

↪︎ 3. Get a Study Buddy

If you're lucky enough to have a friend who's willing to study with you, chances are, you can help each other study focused and productive. When you're with someone else, you tend to be more self-conscious about what you do and will think twice before picking up your phone to surf the net, while your buddy is focusing on their work. You may also be able to try to help each other when either of you have anything you need help with, e.g. a math question.

However, make sure that the time you spend together is mainly productive studying, and not chatting or phone-using.

↪︎ 4. Get Enough Sleep

Sufficient sleep is essential for the brain to work efficiently. 

Great masterposts on getting quality sleep: noteology| study-well | brbimstudying

Apps/websites to calculate sleeping hours: sleepyti.me | sleepcalculator | sleep-calculator | whentosleep | (essentially have the same functions except sleep-calculator which includes a power-nap option)

App that tracks your sleeping activity and wakes you up at your lightest sleep phase so it's easier to get up + more alert during the day and less groggy: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock | Android | iPhone |

↪︎ 5. Use Herbs/Oils/Scents to Make Your Body and Mind Focus

 ○ Mint has positive effects on reasoning, problem-solving, concept formation, judgment, attention span, and even memory [source]. You can chew peppermint/spearmint gum, pop in a mint, use peppermint oils (sprinkle some on your shirt or diffuser), even chew on a sprig of (clean) mint leaves.

 ○ Rosemary also enhances your focus and boosts your ability to concentrate [source]. Take a whiff of a rosemary sprig / plant / from rosemary oils before and during your study session. Only ingest/directly apply on your skin with good quality rosemary essential oil.

 ○ Lemon is a natural antidepressant and improves circulation, hence increasing your alertness [source].  A cup of unsweetened lemon juice or putting half a lemon in your jug of water helps, especially the tart lemony taste which wakes you up immediately. Lemon also has other benefits such as having anti-toxin purposes, boost the immune system and treat sore throats and colds [source].

 ○ Cinnamon also boosts brain activity and helps fight mental fatique [source].

↪︎ 6. Take a Shower

Preferably a cold one to stimulate your senses, but if it's cold over there, then warm would do. If you're not at home and can't have a shower (e.g. studying at library), go to the nearest washroom and splash water on your face. 

↪︎ 7. Excercise

Whether it's jogging on the spot for 3 minutes, jumping jacks, or simply moving around for at least 15 minutes, exercising keeps your blood flowing, including the ones carrying oxygen to your brain. It increases energy, sharpens focus, enhances mood, helps impulse control and improves your memory [source].

↪︎ 8. Drink Water

Plain water helps us stay focused [source]. Avoid coffee, even though it gives you a high, it has a low too and you'll feel lethargic and lose concentration [source]. Everyone's water intake varies depending on their age, weight and how much physical activity they do, but it is recommended 91 ounces (that's 11-plus cups/2l a day) for women and 125 ounces (15-plus cups/2.5l a day) for men. These guidelines are for total fluid intake, including fluid from all food and beverages.

| Problem: Where did my time go? |

↪︎ 9. To-Do List

List down everything you need to get done, from assignments to small tasks and errands. For assignments, break it down. You can either do it the bullet-journal style [where you have a box for every task which you either fill in fully (if completed), shade half (if still in progress), leave empty (if not attempted) or strike a line through (for moving to another date)] or the crossing out style [cross out the tasks you have done, ignore the ones you haven't]. The feeling of crossing out/colouring in the boxes of the tasks can be oddly satisfying.

This list can be started on the night before, once you wrap up your studying for the day. Any uncompleted assignment can be brought forward, and the next day you start your study session having a clear idea of what needs to be done.  Add any other task if necessary.

e.g. instead of 'maths homework', list down the specific questions/pages/worksheets you need to do, like page 5 questions 6, 7, 8.

↪︎ 10. Schedule Everything

On a piece of blank paper, draw a vertical line separating two halves. On the left half, write down your plan for the day with time slots, including breaks and meals. As you progress with the day, write down what you actually did. With that, I mean every single thing, from 10 minutes on youtube and 3 minutes snacking. From here you get a clear idea of where you spent/wasted your time.

↪︎ 11. Studying Periods

Some people like the (10+2)*5 technique, I myself prefer the 25 min + 5 routine as I feel that 10 minutes is too short for a focused session. Also, I like to use the Forest app, and the minimum time to plant a tree is 25 minutes, so...

Establish/find a studying routine that you're comfortable with.

| Problem: I am unmotivated and have no reason to study |

↪︎ 12. Motivate yourself

For every large assignment / a couple of hours work / time target you finish / reach, plan to reward yourself with something nice. Write the reward down, so you'll be encouraged to finish what you intended to do, with something nice waiting for you when you're done.

e.g. 10 hours of productive work ⇒ 45 mins of youtube + small bag of chips
small motivations/rewards: small muffin at 3.30, check social media for 10 mins, scroll through studyblr for 5 mins...
large rewards: a trip to Muji, buy __  from splurge list (see here for 'splurge list'), watch movie...

problem: procrastinate?

↪︎ 13. Know your 'procrastination weakness'

Is it a particular subject, a particular kind of assignment (eg essays) that you have a higher tendency to procrastinate on? Pinpoint what you dread more, state the reason if you know why, then you can look for ways to combat that issue.

e.g. geography (unmotivated) - combat: set motivations, English essays (because too much writing + no idea what to write) - set motivations + break writing process down into chunks + mindmap, 

↪︎ 14. Find ways to 'procrastinate productively'

What do I mean? List down things you can do and needs to be done, like chores. Make yourself to always be doing something, studying or chores.

e.g. vacuum room, play piano, draft studyblr masterpost, organise English folder, cut paper for scrap-pad.

↪︎ 15. Just Do It.

Face it head on.

↪︎ 16. Ask For help

Instead of putting aside the subject or assignment and procrastinating because you are unclear of how/what to do, pick up your phone and ask you classmate, a senior or a friend for help. You can also approach the studyblr community (if it's not super urgent) if you need some help.

↪︎ 17. Use Productivity-related Printables

I've designed one for my personal use and now yours too: available here. Use it with #100hoursofproductivity or #100 hours of productivity.

Or try the 100 days of productivity challenge.

As usual, a mindmap summary:

Hope you found them useful!


  1. These looks useful. I'm bookmarking it so that I can practice it later.
    I tried Forest, but then erased it from my phone later on. I guess these kind of apps don't work for me?

    1. Different tactics work for different people, I guess. Hope you find one that suits you!


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