3 Productivity-Boosting Tips You Need to Try

By Logan Bright Modified on January 31, 2020

Get into the groove, get oriented, and get stuff done!

A student boosts her productivity threefold by taking advantage of these time management tips.

Welcome back to the winter semester. You're more than halfway through the school year, and before you know it, finals will be right around the corner. Time's hard to hang onto, isn't it? To help you come to grips, here are some of our favourite time management and productivity tips.

Ease yourself into your workday

Develop a routine that tells yourself, "Hey, it's time to get to work!" This could be almost anything, from a morning shower followed by a walk around the block, or skimming insta while sipping tea. The key is to set up the expectation that work time is near. When your walk is finished, or your tea consumed, it's time to get to it. Soon, you'll find yourself slipping into work mode with ease, and you'll be less likely to procrastinate. (Bonus points for keeping to your habits on weekends, which will make Mondays much easier!)

MITs and the modern to-do list

Your Most Important Tasks (MITs) are the one or two items on your to-do list that are, well, most important — meaning that if you can accomplish them, you'll have made solid progress toward your goals. Decide what your MITs are each day, write them down, and then tackle them right away. The sooner you get to your MITs, the better. When you strike them from your list, you'll know you've made headway, and anything else you get done beyond that is a bonus.

Try a Pomodoro

The Pomodoro Technique is a simple way to focus your attention when you're studying, writing, or otherwise engaged. Here's the basic rundown:

  • Decide on your task and write it down: ideally, something achievable in the scope of a couple hours. Consider your MITs!
    • If you're working on a major project, try to break it up into chunks, and focus on one at a time.
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes.
    • The creator of the Pomodoro Technique, Francesco Cirillo, recommends a ticking kitchen timer, as the persistent sound helps keep you focused. You can also try one of many free apps.
  • Work! Don't stop until the timer dings. When it does, mark an ✗ next to your goal.
    • Note that your 25 minute work time must be uninterrupted to count! That means no texts, no quick snapchats, not even a bathroom break! Either work 25 minutes, or no ✗.
  • Once you've marked your ✗, set another timer for three to five minutes.
    • This is a short break, where you can stretch your legs, look away from the screen, and yes, run to the restroom.
  • Set another 25 minute timer and get back to it.
  • Once you've marked four ✗s, it's time for a long break!
    • Set a timer for 15 to 25 minutes, and take a break. Enjoy a walk or grab a coffee. Let your mind wander and form connections as you rest.
    • When the timer rings, go back to the top of the list. Repeat until you graduate!

Obviously, the Pomodoro Technique isn't the only way to structure your study sessions, but it's proven helpful for many over the years. Give it a try!

Find the right fit for you

One of the most important parts of time management — and one of the great lessons of post-secondary education — is finding a system and style that works for you. You may find success adopting some or all of these techniques, or they may not grab you right away. Still, give them an honest try, and your productivity may surprise you. Test out new techniques, iterate, experiment. Find the practice that fits you best! After all, wouldn't you rather work smarter, not harder?

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