Let’s face it: we all could use some extra time in our day. This is true whether you are studying, interning, or working a full-time job. But regardless of what you do or don’t do, we each have the same 24 hours and so it is important to make the most out of them.
We’ve compiled these productivity tips based on our own experiences. If you have a personal favorite that is not on the list, please share it in the comment section below.
Create “To Do” Lists
Writing out a list of what you need to get done is one of the simplest ways to increase your productivity. The benefits are twofold. First, it helps you remember. We have so much to think about in life and so many distractions. Why further complicate things by trying to remember your tasks? By jotting down what you need to accomplish, you will never forget. The second benefit is that it holds you accountable. If you start the day or week by writing down what you need to get done, you’ve committed yourself. You can’t make up stories in your head and tell yourself you were productive if the tasks haven’t been crossed out. They’ll still be there the next day. It is much easier to fabricate how productive you were if it’s not on paper.
A few additional tips:
- Make multiple lists that vary by involvement. You can have a “daily” list (finish your paper, email John Doe, meet with your boss, etc.). Likewise, you can have a “big goals” list that includes things you’d like to completed over the next year or so (go skydiving, write a screenplay, get a promotion, etc.). Departmentalizing your lists will help you stay focused and productive.
- Don’t be over ambitious. There’s nothing worse than having a to do list staring at you on your desk for weeks on end. Keep things manageable, but don’t be afraid to throw in a few stretch goals once in awhile.
Work Out and Eat Healthy
This one is not very innovative. But it is important. It is counterintuitive to spend 60-90 minutes working out in order to be more productive. However, working out really helps you stay on top of your game. Feel free to read the How To Gain Muscle Mass article for more details. Healthy eating goes hand-in-hand with exercise. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid simple carbs and sugary foods. If you’re really interested in cleaning up your diet, read this.
Stepping back from your work prevents tunnel vision. By taking frequent breathers, you’ll be more productive with your time. We recommend working for 30 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break (go get water, stretch, watch that funny YouTube video your brother sent you, etc.). This gives you a constant “ticking clock” that helps you zone in on your work. If you are not careful, those 5 minute breaks can turn into much longer breaks and can harm your productivity. So be disciplined when using this tip. You’ve been warned.
This drug can be a slippery slope. You don’t want to overdo it. But a nice cup of coffee or tea in the morning or an energy drink here and there can really help you buckle down and get your work done. For energy drinks, we recommend the most premium brand on the market, Red Bull.
Wake Up Early
You know what they say about the early bird…well, it’s true. If you wake up early, you feel less stressed throughout the day, have a higher GPA (if you’re still in school) and tend to be more proactive. It should be noted that not getting enough sleep is detrimental to your productivity. We recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
A few additional tips:
- Don’t hit the snooze button. Keep your alarm/phone out of reach. That way, you’ll force yourself to get out of bed when it’s time to get up.
- If you are a night owl, don’t try and wake up 2 hours earlier than you normally do right away. Take baby steps. One night, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. The next night, 15 minutes earlier than the previous night. Keep up with those small increments until you are waking up at your desired time.
- Melatonin can be a Godsend sometimes. But don’t overdo it.
If you have a favorite productivity tip that we didn’t list, please leave it in the comment section below.
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