Some students might think that school had prepared them for college education well enough but actually, it isn’t always the case. The ability to perform well during college years depends on a student’s capacity to organize themselves and so, if you’ve experienced troubles with concentration and organization at school, college years can be even tougher for you.
Lucky for you, this can be changed. There are ways to become more productive, to learn how to concentrate better, and to make the most out of your college years. I’m gladly going to share these simple but valuable tips with you in this article.
1. Avoid digital distractions.
While the development of technologies definitely improves our lives, it also makes them a bit more complicated. Yes, I’m talking about social media, messengers, and various apps here: even if you try your hardest to concentrate, a simple phone notification can ruin all your efforts.
We all can become much more productive simply by limiting the time we spend on checking the social media or playing smartphone games. Moreover, we can make the studying process much easier and more effective if we set our phones to “do not disturb” mode instead of just turning the sound off (after all, we can still get distracted by vibration). Closing all the unnecessary tabs in your browser also can be very helpful.
2. Clean your room and organize your things.
Not all of us clean the mess right after it’s made: some prefer to leave it and do a proper cleaning once a week. However, this actually affects our lives more than we think: a messy room (or a workplace) makes it harder for us to concentrate. It isn’t surprising at all, after all, a messy room is full of distractions and so, it’s easy for us to accidently take a look at a book lying nearby and start reading it instead of doing what we have to do.
Moreover, a messy room makes it harder for us to find things we need, so a simple preparation for studying can take more time than it would if a room was clean.
The solution here is very simple: spend 20 minutes a day on cleaning. It’s a small amount of time but it could do wonders to your room and make you forget about an exhausting cleaning process that you used to spend half of your weekday on.
3. Use a system to organize your time.
Students receive plenty of home assignments and tasks, so it’s important to write them all down somewhere and to learn how to organize their time in order to meet all deadlines. There are various tips and time management systems that can help you with that. For example, a Pomodoro timer could help you focus on work for a certain period of time while Bullet Journal could help you organize your tasks well and set your priorities.
I’m not going to recommend a particular system to you: it’s up to you to decide. We all have different preferences and so, for some us to-do-lists can be the best option while for the others they can be meaningless or stressful. However, it’s important to find a way that will allow you to remember all the tasks that have to be done, so you can complete them successfully on time.
4. Plan your rest.
Some of us underestimate the impact a good rest has on our lives. It is very important to get enough sleep and to rest well in order to be productive and have enough energy to do everything that has to be done. However, some students confuse procrastination with rest, thinking that if they get distracted by a TV show, it will be enough.
A good rest has to be planned, especially when you have so many things to do. It’s impossible to focus on one thing for too long: you get tired and it affects the result making it worse. That’s why you have to plan your rest the same way you plan your studies: choose the intervals for work and rest and write them all down in your schedule.
Moreover, when you have to work a lot and rest a little, be sure that your rest actually differs from your work. For example, if you’re doing something on your computer, your planned rest has to get you away from the computer: you could try doing a simple workout or chat with a fellow student, etc. This way you’ll relax more.
5. Focus well.
Being productive is all about maximum focus. You could spend all day on writing your essay with your mind wandering and still need the help of a proofreading service after. Or you could spend an hour well focused on your essay – and yes, it will look much better even though you didn’t spend as much time on it as in the first case.
While our ability to focus might seem an abstract thing, it could be developed and improved. Doing so is easy: set a timer for a certain period of time and try to focus on only one thing during this period. It’s better to start with short intervals (for example, 10-15 minutes), slowly moving to the longer ones (up to 45 minutes). Various studies show that 45 minutes is the maximum amount of time during which a person is able to work without distractions. That’s why dividing your tasks into intervals of 45 minutes of work with 15 minutes of rest is a good option.
Our productivity depends on more things than most of us can imagine. It’s not only about turning our phones off and focusing hard – it’s also about the way we live, eat, organize our workplaces and our tasks. There are much more things you could do to increase your productivity, but even if you start with these 5 basic ones, it will already produce an amazing change. So why don’t you try them?
I wish you good luck with that and hope that you’ll be able to become a truly productive student!