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How to increase productivity in college


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For many new college students, managing a full course load while holding down a part-time job and engaging in extracurricular activities can be challenging. Once you find time to address your schoolwork, you may have difficulty focusing so you procrastinate or produce slipshod work. Try these strategies for effectively managing your work.

Pick up on your own habits
If you sense that you're procrastinating, identify the reason for it. Are you putting off a task because it requires the help of another person? Is it not getting done because you're not sure where to begin? Understanding why you're putting off an important assignment is the first step to overcoming your resistance. Also, if you notice that you get less done at a certain point during day, set an alarm for 15 minutes before and go for a walk, get a glass of water or stretch your legs. Sometimes if you stay ahead of that daily lag, you can re-energize and get more done.

Look to technology
Certain mobile apps, like RescueTime, encourage users to stay focused. Since the computer is often a main source of distraction for students, but you need it to do your work, it can be challenging to focus on your assignments. This service tracks where you're directing your attention and reports back on how much time you spend on each activity, whether it's replying to emails, studying or using social media. It also has the ability to block certain Web sites, which is useful for those who need more than willpower to keep them focused on their work.

Make a to-do list
You probably already keep some sort of to-do list, but Forbes noted that there are certain strategies that can transform you into a productive machine. For starters, limit your daily assignments to three major items. Only select those that are crucial to your day. By selecting just a few things, your list is more manageable and you can focus more on the quality of those tasks. From there, it's also important to accomplish the most pressing task first thing in the morning. That way, come noon, the dreadful task that was looming over your head is complete, and you can put your remaining energy into the simpler assignments.

Set goals
Much like creating a to-do list, setting goals can be a great help for those who struggle with staying productive. Forbes recommends using the evening to identify tasks for the next day. If you make it your goal to accomplish those specific tasks in the morning, you're more likely to actually follow through. It may also be helpful to time yourself. For example, if you notice yourself continuously zoning out while you try to finish a homework assignment, aim to complete it in the next 30 minutes. Having an end in sight is sometimes all it takes to get you moving and keep you on track.

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