Do you ever go to sleep each night wishing you had been able to get more done that day? That’s not an uncommon feeling, but there’s a lot you can do to change the way you feel about your accomplishments at the end of the day. Here are the top six ways to increase your productivity at school, at home, and in life.
5. Learn to say “no”
If you have trouble saying “no” to requests from family, friends, or classmates, this might be a large part of the reason you’re not as productive as you’d like to be. If you don’t have classes on Fridays, people might assume you have time to do favors for them or drive them places. You might want to help and feel guilty if you say “no,” but if you’re asked for favors too often, this will cut into your productivity. If someone regularly asks you for favors, but you have a full plate of your own, it’s important to say “no.” Others won’t respect your time if you don’t respect it yourself.
4. Stop trying to multitask
You might be able to multitask, but it will still take you longer to accomplish things than if you don’t. If you are cooking dinner and texting your friend the entire time, it might take you an extra 15 or 20 minutes to finish. If you try to write a paper while watching TV, it’s going to take you longer than it would if you weren’t constantly looking up at the screen to follow the action. We have known about the negative side-effects of multitasking for years, as documented in this article from Forbes. You are tricking yourself into thinking you’re getting more done, but you aren’t. Start focusing on the task at hand without anything else to distract you, and your brain will thank you.
3. Set Time Limits
When you’re working on an assignment, it can help to set a time limit. If you are a procrastinator, this will be especially helpful. Estimate how long it should take you to finish a specific project, then set a timer and get started. If it’s something that will take a few hours, break it down into 30- or 45-minute chunks of time and give yourself short breaks in between work sessions. By setting time limits, you will stop wasting time and get more accomplished.
2. Make A To-Do List
If you find yourself losing focus throughout your day, you’re probably not as productive as you’d like to be. By making a to-do list each night, you’ll wake up knowing exactly what you need to get done during the day. You won’t sit at your desk trying to decide which assignment to tackle next because it will be laid out in front of you. Check off your tasks as you finish them to get a quick visual indication of how much of your list you still have to go. A recent study by Baylor University indicates that it might even help you get to sleep faster!
1. Limit Your Screen Time
There are screens everywhere. They have become ubiquitous, and they are affecting our brains. Apple has developed an app to track how much time people use on their phones, and the results are staggering, as you can read in this article from CNN. The World Health Organization has added Gaming Disorder to its 11th Revision International Classification of Diseases. Netflix reported that in 2017, people watched a billion hours a week on their service. To be sure, these screens are sapping our productivity. While you work or study, you should make sure the television is off, your phone is out of reach, and your computer is used only as needed. These tips sound obvious, but they might be harder to accomplish than you would think at first. Nevertheless, limiting your screen time is the most important way to increase your productivity in a world where there are TVs in elevators and computers in our pockets.