As the semester is beginning to wrap up, I thought it would be a great idea to provide some tips about productivity and staying organized. This is particularly relevant as most of us are working from home! For the most part, I would say that I am quite productive. Sometimes there are certainly days when procrastination gets in the way, and that’s okay! The same can be said for organization. I stay organized with my school work and with my living space around me, yet occasionally things can pile up. These small instances are inevitable, but I do have a few methods to keep me or get me back on track. While there are many helpful tips out there, here are some of my methods that help me stay organized and productive in school and in life:
There are a few things that I do to stay organized. In my work space, which is in my office at home (or occasionally in my bedroom), I ensure that everything has its place. As I mentioned, there are times where things are put elsewhere or my space becomes untidy. However, at the end of the day I make sure that things are put back in their intended spot. By doing this each day, organization becomes manageable. If I were to leave things miss-placed for many days, things would begin to pile up and I would become less likely to tidy up (I’m sure this has happened to all of us before!). Therefore, I ensure to keep a desk drawer organizer inside my desk, and use other containers and holders on my desk/around the room to keep all of my things organized. I also try to go through my things once every few months, so that I can re-organize and get rid of (i.e. donate or throw away) things that I do not need or do not use.
A look inside my desk drawer
I also have various methods to keep me organized and on top of all of my school work. I have a whiteboard calendar hanging above my desk, where I am able to fill in up to two months at a time. By doing this, I am able to see all of my assignments for the current and next month right in front of me, and can cross the days off as they happen. I also add different events onto my calendar, so that I can keep those in mind when looking at the week ahead. Similarly, I also use an agenda planner were I write in all of my deadlines as well. In my opinion, using an agenda is more useful when I am working in-person, as I am able to bring it around with me. However, it can also be utilized at-home, too. Another method that I use is having a weekly schedule notepad, which has each day of the week on it. Every Sunday, I am able to plan out the week ahead and write out a list of what I need to do each day. I fill out the time of my lectures, tutorials, and work, and then allocate where I will complete each assignment around that. I also fill in various appointments, errands I need to run, or other life “events”/things that I have during the week. My weekly schedule keeps me quite organized and able to tackle the week ahead.
All of the above methods that I use for organization help in my productivity. For example, with my weekly scheduler where I keep lists for each day, I check things off as I complete each task. This helps in keeping me motivated and feeling accomplished. At the end of the day, when I look at my list, I am satisfied to see that I have multiple things checked off. This is a motivator for me to continue being productive day after day. I also allot time at the end of the day for me to do something that I enjoy doing. Essentially, this is like a reward for myself, for being productive and getting everything done. Whether that is doing some self-care, watching a show, or going for a walk, I always ensure to “repay” myself with some relaxation or enjoyment for my productivity. Along with this, setting a time at the end of the day to stop working can be useful as well. I don’t think that this necessarily has to be a strict time every single day, but if you set a goal in your head to stop at 9:30 pm for example, you will likely be motivated to finish everything before then. If you don’t finish by that time that is okay, too! You can always push through a little bit later, or leave it for the next day (which is even better). Part of productivity is making adjustments to your schedule and accepting that things may not go as planned. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
My weekly schedule notepad
Another method that I use to maintain my productivity is that I ensure to limit distractions. A main distractor for me is my phone (which I am sure many of us can relate to!). Due to this, I put my phone away in another room or hide it in my desk. Then, once I am done my task, I allow myself to check it again. Another great method is setting timers. If you keep looking at your phone, use the method of setting a timer for a specific amount of time (ex. 45 mins) and do not look at your phone until that timer is up! When I really need to focus this is a useful approach for me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t encounter procrastination, which is perfectly natural! (I actually also mentally leave myself a bit of space for it in my daily schedule). To limit procrastination, it is always important to remember to take breaks and get some fresh air, as a small brain break will also help in productivity! Prioritizing yourself and your mental health is helpful in being productive. Never forget that!
There are a few distinct things that I do to stay organized and be productive. However, each of these things are quite simple and manageable! If you are struggling with these things, I recommend that you try out some of the methods that I have mentioned. It is really important to find routines that work the best for you!
Good luck with everything,
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