If you have diligently clicked into this article while at the office, you probably fall under one of these three camps of people. First, you might be someone who is desperately looking to improve your work productivity because you are finding yourself drowning in waves of deadlines. Second, you might be someone that is currently procrastinating by looking up these productivity articles pretending to be doing something productive (Well, at least you are seeking some sort of help!). Lastly, you might be someone who is a geek for organizing and being productive, and while you are already on top of your game, you always look forward to learning more about increasing your productivity.
Frankly speaking, it’s possible to consider yourself to be a part of all three camps of people listed above — either at the same time or each one being present at different points in your life. Regardless of which camp that you’re in, this article will guide you to revolutionize your way to success. After actively aggregating information on the net and incorporating hands on experience, here is a compilation of traditional, effective, quirky, newly-discovered tips for being productive!
Being productive through actively reforming your habits
1. Finding your biological prime time
Efforts and time do not always produce the same result. After scouting out tons of videos, tips and practice, we have come to the conclusion that even though it takes time, tracking your biological prime time benefits you long-term since you can schedule your busiest or most complex tasks during that period of time. Everyone’s prime time is different and if your parents are somewhat old school and stick to the logic that you have to sleep at 10 pm and wake up at 7 am, you might not be working at your best time. People have often suggested to take 8 am classes because it will free up your day, however; if your biological prime time is from 10 am to 3 pm, it is harder for you to absorb material during the early morning. Thus, if you want to be truly productive, you shouldn’t be following some “how to plan your perfect day” schedule established by someone else. If you are determined to give it a shot, here is a YouTube video explaining how to track your biological prime time (this channel contains great content regarding productivity as well): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl1RApVpIpU
2. Don’t get way too ahead, it’s bad
This is a rookie mistake made often during the first year of college or at the beginning of the quarter/semester. Even though this is a major step up from terrible procrastination in high school or previous quarters/semesters in college, studying or doing your work way too advanced, may not be ideal. For example, sometimes you might finish readings and assignments up to two weeks before it is actually due. In essence, this sounds great but, the end result? Well, it’s not like you forget about everything, but you have most likely forgotten enough that you now need to re-read or re-study the material once again, which ends up wasting more time and the absorbance of the material did not match up with the time you had initially put in. Plus, giving yourself unnecessary, tight deadlines is only going to increase your stress and perpetuate the attitude of just getting the task done instead of putting in efforts to learn or improving the work. It is completely encouraged to stay ahead at a reasonable pace, but, as a beginner, to maximize your productivity be mindful of this rookie mistake made by many.
3. Switch it up
Your environment matters. That is why you will see people everywhere, including laid out on the grass or in hammocks, whenever they are doing their work. Not saying that you cannot have a favorite spot for work, but be open to working in different environments. A lot of students rarely work in their bedroom because of the evil bed behind their workstation, and some people need a certain type of social pressure to drive them into focus. Regardless, research has shown that studying in different settings can help to refresh your brain and better retain information, thus, increasing productivity. Constantly working in the same place is frankly boring and can be unmotivating at times, it is always fun to seek out new places (close enough to not waste your time of course) and let the new environment be your company!
4. The good ol’ ten minutes rule
It is either a lazy afternoon on Saturday watching Netflix, or a chilly winter in the morning that you have absolutely zero motivation to get any work done. Let us reassure you, we are in the exact same boat. It is just hard to get started on something and that’s why you should use this little mind trick: assign yourself a task and work for ten minutes. Yes, ten minutes. Doesn’t sound daunting at all right? However, once you get yourself in your chair, it is very likely that you will keep on working and possibly complete a great deal of work rather than only the “ten minutes” you give yourself. Trust us, it works.
5. Working during breaks
If the amount of work hits you hard, and you feel guilty to even take a 5-minute break, do it anyway. Your brain is in dire need of a muscle rest so take away that feeling of guilt and complete some simple daily tasks. Sometimes it’s good to let your brain breathe a little bit by rocking out to a playlist while replying to some emails, or even setting a schedule for the week. If you have little side projects or assignments that are comparably a lot easier than your current task, working on those will actually help to soothe your stress and at the same time you are not letting yourself drown in the world of social media leading to a double-win situation.
Being productive through health
1. The magic cup of lemon water
This should be one of the easier things to do on the list: drinking a cup of warm lemon water every morning before you intake anything. Most of you are probably addicted to that one cup of morning coffee to kick you out of your state of sleepiness, but if you could only afford taking one piece of advice in this entire article just get up now, head to the nearest supermarket, and pick up three to four lemons. That should be good for a full week if every morning you squeeze out half of the lemon into your warm water and let the lemon-water naturally energize you. Not only does lemon water help to reduce your stress and clear your mind, the peaceful smell of the lemon will keep you away from the signifying stress and sleepiness; just like coffee would do. There has been much research done and articles published online that further highlight the other health benefits that a simple cup of lemon water does (definitely something to look into if you want to lose weight!). However, if you are in a huge rush because of your terrible decision of sleeping late the night before, prepare your cup of lemon water the night before and heat it up before you leave, or just pour yourself a cup of water before you head to school or work, and your body will be in a much better state in terms of thinking and focusing.
2. Walking in the greens
This will be ideal for those who live in a suburban area and have easy access to mother nature. It still works too, though, if you are living in an overcrowded city like Los Angeles (cue the cliche concrete jungle quote). After trapping yourself in a breathless room for three hours, it’s best for you to let mother nature re-energize you. Try to squeeze in time for a thirty to forty-five minute walk out in the residential area with just you and your music or an audiobook, and a snack/lunch and let the scenery soothe you. Letting your brain breathe in the jungle of tranquility is a much better substitute than heading onto social media. Although this might sound like another way to procrastinate, walking in the greens does actually help to refresh your mind and body and increase your productivity. Most importantly, that thirty-minute break is going to be, more or less, just around thirty minutes unlike with social media or app games where it is easy to get off track and be dragged into the dark hole of unproductive procrastination.
3. Sometimes you really can blame it on your poorly constructed desk and/or chair
Cheap, shaky plastic desks and dorm chairs are productivity enemies, and should really only be used when eating or watching movies or TV shows on Netflix. Splurging on nice quality desks and chairs is almost necessary to create an active workspace, especially if you are someone who prefers to work in your office or bedroom. This goes especially for chairs, ones that don‘t have any lumbar support will give you the annoying back pain and neck pain all the time making you constantly have to get up and move around. In bad quality chairs, you will be constantly switching your sitting gesture in order to avoid any major discomfort, which serves as another external distraction. Not only that, but getting a nice office chair with quality back support comes with obvious health benefits in the long term, which is worth every penny to purchase “productivity”. For discounted productivity master chairs check out Beverly Hills Chairs where they have the widest, most affordable selection of Herman Miller chairs (the top rated office chair).
4. Brainfood: Blueberry, chocolate, nuts
The subtitle says it all. Eating any of this while you’re working will make your brain happy, which makes you happy.
Apps/Quirky and non-traditional approach to being productive
1. Water bottle is the new iPhone
We all agree that smartphones are major time-killers, and the most wanted criminal in distracting humans in our current generation. But, according to this little trick, you can reduce the evil call of the notification popping up on your screen. Whenever you have an impulse to grab your phone, a very natural thing we all are guilty of, grab the water bottle on the table instead and hydrate yourself. This trick can minimize the use of your cellphone caused by the unwanted urges, but you do need to put in some self-control for this trick to work. To start, put your phone behind your water bottle and, when the urge comes, grab the water bottle instead. Or, if your self-control is really bad, don’t have your phone out at all for the first few days you attempt this new trick. Still doesn’t work? Then try the next option.
2. No self-control? Use “SelfControl”, or “Write or Die”
Turning over a new leaf can be hard for beginners because it requires motivation to actively apply the newly learned techniques. One of the passive yet slightly painful ways to force yourself into doing your work will be using these two apps– SelfControl, and Write or Die. The way that SelfControl works is that you can create your own list of websites that often distract you from your work. Then, go ahead and set your timer and the app will block you from browsing the list of websites for however long you set. On the more extreme end, you can use Write or Die, which consist of three modes. The gentle mode gives you subtle reminders if you have not been writing for a while; the normal mode plays an unpleasant sound and will only stop when you decide to go back and write; and the devilish kamikaze mode begins to delete your writing and have your previous efforts go to waste if you have stopped writing for a while. These harsh consequences will help to force you to keep on writing if you have a serious deadline coming up. However, I do not recommend relying too much on these passive methods, because one can only keep on improving if they actively motivate themselves to increase their productivity skills and develop a decent tolerance of distraction.