It can be easy to get into the habit of putting things off until the last minute. You know, procrastination! It often seems easier to wait until things are due, but finishing work early and making time to study are important to productivity. Procrastinating can leave you with just too little time to do a good job. Getting into a routine and finishing things early also gives you time to review and revise. Finally, it’s just a good habit to have for times when delay simply is not an option. Below are some tips to help you stay on task and make the most of your day.
· Keep track of ongoing tasks and monitor your progress. Divide these large tasks into smaller sections and create self-imposed deadlines. Dividing tasks up will make them more manageable and the deadlines will inspire you to finish things early and maintain momentum.
· Wake up earlier. This one seems unattractive, but early in the morning is a great time to work distraction-free. Even if you are not a morning person, some of your most productive energy is likely in the morning. Take advantage of that energy and get your day started an hour earlier.
· Remove clutter. Keep your backpack, desk, and inbox free of distractions. Efficient use of time is a key to productivity and searching for an important document is not an efficient use of time.
· Focus on one single thing at a time. This isn't to say you can't have multiple projects ongoing simultaneously, but that you should only focus your energy on a single project at any given moment. Multitasking is acceptable in circumstances with time constraints, but it is best to give all of your attention to a singular task when possible.
· Find a system. Everyone will have their own system for organizing and accomplishing tasks. Experiment with different things until you find what is best for you; and never be afraid to augment and improve it.
· Here’s a single, situational recommendation. For group projects, use Basecamp. It's free, it's online and it's simple. Almost everyone who had to do a group project in college has a bad group project story. Basecamp makes it simple to organize tasks and create specific to-dos within those tasks. It keeps track of deadlines and supports attachments and comments. It is just a really great system for managing a project with a lot of moving parts.
· Invest yourself. Productivity isn't really something you can do in half measures. Sometimes it is less fun than procrastination, but it is an important skillset to have. You'll get out what you put in, so truly make an effort to be a more productive person.
One final tip: it's OK to cheat. Once in a while you can put off a low priority task until the last minute, or skip a night of work to go out. Just be sure to schedule makeup time the next day! M. K.
Marathon Books Blogger