Here are some tips to increase productivity in college.
The student at Bangalore’s premier law college is polite, but frenetic. “I'm rushing off to the library. Can we talk while we walk?” she asks. Cannot blame her. Her essay on an obscure aspect of law is due tomorrow, she has a hostel party to attend this evening, and she needs to wash her hair. And all those missed calls... “Study? That takes a beating,” said Suhas, an engineering student. “I have to squeeze that in, between Facebook, Twitter, texting, biking, hanging out, video games, who has the time? Wish the day could be stretched to 48 hours.” You have to learn to cope with what initially appears to be strange timetables of operation, wrote Pranati, Humanities student at IIT-Madras. “I had to get accustomed to the practice of staying awake to ungodly hours with cups of Tifany's coffee.”
So your assignments are piling up alarmingly. You have arrears that never seem to go away. Studies feel like they are robbing you of life. You can't open your FB page without a pang of guilt. Assignment deadlines loom, but you want to stretch, drink water, yawn, and put it off a “little bit” - will start at 6, maybe an hour later? It'll take just a couple of hours, so after the match...
Don't panic. Here are tips to raise output, stay productive.
Write It Down: Once you know what to do, put it on paper and stick it on the wall. It’s a reminder – “get down to work and complete the tasks.” Too much? Break down tasks into “to-do” lists, paste them above the computer, or on the cellphone. Get an app that will remind you of must-do work. Cross out those you finish. Crossed-out lists are big morale boosters.
Schedule Facebook/Email time: The slide into time-wasting begins when you convince yourself, “I'll log on, check mail/wall for new stuff and get back in 2 minutes.” Aaah, “two minutes” goes in cosmic time, my friend. A major chunk of your assignment time is gone staring at the Facebook wall, the clock ticks away. So schedule your time on Facebook, twitter or email. Stick to the schedule. Time lost is lost!
Focus: Most people want total quiet for laboratory assignments. If you are the no-noise type, choose a quiet spot, be unavailable for a couple of hours. Make quiet-time allotment a habit to retain what you study. Also, studying in the same location (room, library, a secluded place in the campus, local bookstore) helps focus and retain information.
Say “No” To Distractions: Turn off your phone, TV, iPod, Video game. Focus on the academic work in hand, take hourly breaks to relax your brain and maintain level of productivity when you get back to work.
Set Goals : Be clear about what you want to accomplish in college. What you will do armed with degrees. Further studies? Another university? Go abroad? Take a gap year? Summer classes in between? Internship? Once you have a set goal, assignments and studies will look like necessary pin pricks.
Just-do-it!: The biggest secret to stay productive is to “do it”. Procrastination and productivity are rivals, you need to let go of one to get the other. Start work asap, instead of waiting for a “better time”.
Fill Your Room With Music: “Singing helps me to stay focused. When the bowler is running in to bowl, I start to sing but as soon as he gets to his delivery stride, I focus on the ball. Singing when the bowler is running in, empties my mind of unwanted thoughts,” said M.S. Dhoni. Set off your favourite CDs or grab your iPod. Psychology Today, in “Music and Productivity: 5 Ideas for Using Music to Boost Performance” says listening to music improves ability to complete repetitive tasks efficiently. Listening to music without words is sure to improve your mood. When mood improves, energy levels increase. Is slow, soft music your thing? Well, it's great for completing the toughest of assignments.
Reward Yourself: Psychologists recommend this as a foolproof system to increase productivity. Rejoice every time you reach an academic goal. Why do you think assignment papers are graded as A, A+? Go for a burger, movie, a gift to yourself, new sneakers, shades - make your choice. Reward-system is what you need when trying to motivate yourself to put in regular hours of work.
Get Enough Sleep: Research into sleep disorders and brain function clearly shows the importance of sleep in memory and consolidating information. Without sleep, the brain struggles to absorb and retain ideas. “There is a growing interest in the associations between adequate sleep and academic performance,” said Derk-Jan Dijk, Professor of Sleep and Physiology, Surrey Sleep Research Centre.