Managing Your Time
I've talked about wanting to use time more wisely. In the past few months, I managed to develop some tips and tricks that helps me stay on track.
Get Rid Of Distractions
→ The first and foremost thing you have to do in order to get any of your work done, you need to take care of anything that can distract you. This can either be your phone, any notifications, . I usually put my phone in another room with the sound turned off so I won't get the urge to flip my phone over and 'check my notifications' (which just leads down to a horrible rabbit hole with endless YouTube videos and chats).
If you don't trust yourself or isn't lazy enough to not bother going to the other room, you can try apps! HelpMeFocus or StayFocused are great apps that you can use to block distracting apps. If you want something more minimalist, try Flipd.
Write Down Lists
→ If you have no idea where to start because you're drowning in a sea of assignments and other activities, I've got you covered. Make a list! It's the best way to keep track of what you need to do. But I wouldn't recommend a classic, vertical list, because then you might feel demotivated when the list gets too long.
Also, your brain is wired to think about other tasks related to your activity, so you might go off trail. Instead, group them into similar tasks. This will help you link them together and seamlessly work through your assignment. Also, write down your estimated time for each task and calculate the total time needed. This will allow you to stick to the time you want to spend and not over-do things or get preoccupied with something else. Also, it feels great when you finish just before your time limit!
Don't forget to prioritise your tasks! You might feel like you want to do the easy ones first because they require less energy. But then, you may not get around to the one that's really important. Although I prefer hand-written lists for my assignments and work, as you feel more accomplished when physically ticking off or striking through the ones that are done, I do use digital lists for short to-dos. Google Keep is a great one, or you could use Wunderlist.
Take Breaks In Between
→ Don't try to cram every bit of work into one tiny portion of your schedule to get it out of your way. Take your time; and most importantly, take breaks. Some people think that you'll lose the focus if you stop to relax for a bit during your work. Although it's great that you have that fire going, you'll soon tire yourself out.
To avoid that energy descent, you need to take five between your work. Test yourself with your optimum concentration time -- it might be 20 minutes or an hour -- but this will be the time that you can focus on your work without any other thoughts or distractions. When you find yourself thinking about what to eat for dinner or the game you wanted to play, it's time to stop. This break can only last 15 minutes at maximum and 5 minutes at minimum (of course, it's not the hard and fast rule, but it's recommended) so that you can get enough rest, but not too much so that it disrupts your work flow.
You'll see that there's a different pattern for everyone. For me, I started out with a 45 minute, 15 minute break at the start. When I tested this routine, I found out that my optimum concentration was about and hour and fifteen minutes. So I changed my routine to adapt to my working style. Find out how long your optimum concentration time is and add a little break in between. I'm sure your work rate will skyrocket!
Just Dive Into It
→ I hear so many people telling themselves that they'll 'get to it tomorrow' or that they're 'too busy to do it now'. I've even seen the sloppiest people clean their room in and out just to avoid doing their work. So what's the solution? Well.... just get on with it!
Even if you might not feel like it, you just have to start doing it to take on the flow. You'll never learn how to swim if you never get into the water; and it's the same for finishing tasks. If you don't take the initiative to start your work, how will you ever finish it? You may be thinking that there's no way that you can start doing work right away. But believe me, as soon as you actually sit down and start on your task, it'll only be a matter of time for you to finish it.
Imagine Work Being Something Else
→ There are times when your work... is just work. Nothing fun about that. But here's a tip for you. It takes a little bit of imagining, but it's worth it. Solving maths problems? Think of it as calibrating your spaceship for another journey through the galaxy. Writing an essay for English? Imagine that you're a famous writer, critiquing your enemy's work. Doing a report in History? Just imagine that you're recounting your findings as a explorer in the vast sea. Editing that last piece of work that's due tomorrow morning? Think of it as an assignment given to you by the King/Queen of your kingdom and they'll execute you if you don't finish it on time.
This method really helps when you're all out of motivation and just can't seem to get on with any of the work that needs to be done. It makes doing work much more interesting than it actually is (and you get to use your creative side as well!).
Use Spare Time Wisely
→ With all your work out of the way, there's probably another problem for you. "How do I make use of that spare time?" you might ask. Well, I've got good news; I have the answer!
Use your spare time to develop yourself further. I don't necessarily mean academic improvements, but you can work on your hobby, practice playing your instrument, or read for pleasure. Of course, you definitely need time to cool down and completely relax, but don't just mindlessly play games and click through videos every single down-time you have.
Think about the areas that you want to improve on, but don't have time to because of work. It really doesn't have to be anything related to your actual school work. During my spare time, I tend to work on writing stories, create small paintings/drawings, sing, or read books. It helps me relax and still help me
I've used these methods to help me with my productivity, and it really helps! Try it and see how it goes :)