5/20/2017 05:44:00 pm

how to get that productivity momentum going: a studyblr masterpost

background image from unsplash text by me

If you're
-feeling unproductive even though you dedicate your weekends/after school hours to studying
-not getting any work done and lying around in the house
-scrolling tumblr even though it's studying time
hey, high-five!

Productivity feels amazing. Trust me. That sense of satisfaction when you look back on your day's (completed) tasks, that full 5-page essay that you wrote, the stack of notes made and the pile of homework tackled is good enough to keep you going for the next task.

Here's some tips on getting that productivity momentum going, and how to maintain it.

-Do some exercise to get that blood flowing around your body and your brain.

-Work out the next day's game plan the night before (preferably) or if that's not possible, do it first thing in the morning when you're fresh and ambitious. It can be a to-do list, or have a blank table with the timings in half an hour slots, so you can pencil in the things you plan to do at that particular time. Leave some buffer time, and put in a break every 3 hours at least.

-Before you start work, tidy your desk/workspace so that there's ample space for your books, writing materials and your thoughts.

-Have a notepad nearby to jot down any thought that comes along while you're studying, so you don't deviate from your work and won't lose that thought or idea. If it's something you thought of that you need to do (i.e. do the laundry, reply xxx's email), get it done during your break.

-Start small, break down tasks. For me, I like to break down my study workload into very small chunks - listing them as very small tasks like by the question (of a worksheet), so when I finish I get to tick them off and it gives you gratification, rather than finishing a full worksheet to tick something off. If you feel overwhelmed, just convince yourself to do 10 mins of maths, or just 2 questions of biology. As you get along, you'll feel like continuing your productive streak.

If you know you're starting to get unproductive:

-take a timed break and work on those chores. The methodical nature of chores, like folding clothes, hanging the laundry, sweeping/mopping/vacuuming the floor, may jumpstart your productivity when you come back to your desk.

-take a shower. If that's not possible (you're out or something), just go to the sink and splash your face with water (if you can use a facewash, even better). Here's an article about it.

-change your environment. Maybe you're unproductive in the living room because you keep getting distracted by the TV your family is watching. In that case, find a quiet place in your house or consider going out to work.

have a list of productive things you can do when you feel unproductive, so you can refer to them and get some things done. Try to stay away from the screen. For mine, I have: tidying my clothes cupboard/desk/room, chores, filing worksheets, binding papers, a bunch of errands (for that day) I have to run, 

-change the subject you're studying. Maybe it's a temporary brain-barrier with the subject that you just cannot get, in that case, switch to something else and come back to this later.

-take a quick (less than 30min) nap. Set the timer function on your phone so you don't end up sleeping half of the day away.

-Switch off your wifi on your phone. Sometimes I can't help reaching for the phone when I'm studying. The action of absent-mindedly unlocking the phone and swiping has become scarily distracting, so to prevent myself from constantly opening WhatsApp and Instagram, I switched off my Wifi (on my phone) so I won't receive any notifications (for WhatsApp) and won't be able to see my feed on Instagram. Honestly, the best approach to cut down phone distractions for me is to switch off my phone completely, because when I click the power button (not long enough to switch it on) and see that it's not responding, I am reminded of the reason I switched off my phone - to minimise distractions. And so I don't turn it on. (However this is a bit difficult because I would then be totally uncontactable - especially by my family, so I only switch my phone off when I'm studying late into the night, or early in the morning.)

-Know your productive peak periods and make full use of that time. For example, I am most productive in early mornings and evenings. Maybe it's the afternoon heat that makes me drowsy and slow. So when I schedule my breaks or naps (if I didn't get enough sleep the night before), I put them in the afternoons. Breaks are still important and I'm not saying I won't take any in the mornings or evenings, just that the bulk of any non-studying things I plan to do (like chores or errands) will be done during my non-peak periods. Also, if there are content that you plan to study that are more difficult to understand or grasp, you might want to tackle them in the mornings when your energy is optimum (or in the evenings if you're a night owl.  But I won't recommend sleeping after 12pm because it's not good for your body in the long run).

-For snacks (because they're great motivation and great company while studying), I would suggest healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, plain crackers, rather than chips, chocolate, candy, sugar-coated bread and cookies. I've tried it before: yesterday for snacks I had some chocolate drink (Milo), a mini kitkat and 4 biscuits packed with peanut butter. My productivity level was 50% that afternoon. Meanwhile, today I had a pack of seaweed and chia seed soaked in water. My appitite for snacks decreased, I became more focused and wasn't thinking of getting chocolate from the kitchen, and my productivity level was 90% (despite taking a 1.5h nap in the afternoon).

Quality over quantity. It's much better to have 2 hours of productive studying and enjoying a full 1 hour break, than spending 3 hours sitting at the table but distracted by various things around you like your phone, the cat/dog, your snacks...

All the best! If you have anything you'd like me to write about, do comment below!

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