Hello! Lately I’ve had to learn to manage my time and be productive as exams are drawing nearer and my workload just keeps growing. Since we had two snow days the week before last, I’ve spent more time at home than at college, so I’ve been trying to maximise my time and be as productive as possible. I thought I’d share a few tips with you to help you be productive too. 🙂
The first thing I do after I’ve woken up, had breakfast and got ready is to write a to-do list. With A-Levels there tends to always be hundreds of things you need to get done and deadlines all over the place, so I find writing down what I need to get done that day/over the weekend a good way to structure my day.
If I’ve got loads of work and the thought of tackling it is stressing me out, I’ll make my to-do list into a table with four boxes to help me prioritise what needs to be done now and what could be done another day if I run out of time. Otherwise I just take a sticky note or piece of paper and make a standard list.
It’s so satisfying to cross thing off of a to-do list when you’ve completed them, and it also makes sure you don’t forget to do something you need to do.
Something I’ve been starting to do recently is set a timer when I’m doing revision/homework. My lessons at college last for 1 hour 30 minutes with 15 minute breaks in between so I’ve started adopting the same structure for my studying at home. I’ll set a timer for 1 hour 30 minutes using this website, take a 15 minute break then set another timer. I aim to get through 2-3 lesson-length chunks of work each day, because I don’t want to exhaust myself. It really does help to give some structure to your revision and stop you from procrastinating as you know you’ll have a 15 minute break at some point.
Taking breaks from studying helps your brain to stay focused and ensure you don’t burn yourself out, so it’s really important if you want to have a productive day. I’m writing this post in one of my 15 minute breaks, for example, just to give my brain a break from the French revision I was doing! Breaks are also a good time to get a drink and a snack, take a walk around the room and stretch out.
Let’s face it, we all get fed up of our parents and teachers nagging us to put our phones away and work, but we all know that it’s for the best. For many of us phone = procrastination so if we want to be productive, we need to put our phones and other technology out of sight.
If you can, study in your room and make sure you’re away from TVs and computers (unless you really need your computer to do your work), switch your phone off and put it in another room. Even better, try studying in your local public or school/college library – the atmosphere will motivate you to work as everyone around you is doing so.
You’ll find you can be so much more productive when you’re not checking Twitter every five minutes.
I could go on about the benefits of studying whilst listening to music forever – it is honestly so helpful for motivating you to study and giving a “rythym” (I have no idea if I spelt that right) to your work. Of course sometimes it can be a distraction if you find yourself singing and dancing along, that’s why you have to be selective about what music you listen to and when.
If I’m doing work that doesn’t taken much concentration like writing up notes I’ll have BBC Radio 1 on in the background as it doesn’t matter so much if I lose focus a bit. Also listening to music you enjoy can help motivate you to tackle tedious tasks.
However if I’m answering exam questions or doing difficult homework, I need something a bit less distracting so I’ll listen to French radio stations such as Radio Nostalgie or Radio NRJ because I can’t understand what they’re saying unless I make a conscious effort so they tend to be less distracting.
I don’t know about you but I feel like a lot of my time is wasted during the day by things such as travelling to and from college (Google maps gladly informed me I spent over 40 hours travelling on buses last month!) or waiting for meals. For example, often I won’t bother doing any work between 5pm and 6pm, because I know I’ll have dinner sometime during that space so it’s not worth starting any work. However, I have recently made a list of “short” activities I could do to fill that time instead of just surfing the internet – things such as practising French vocab on Quizlet, planning exam questions and essays for Geography and History and testing myself on flashcards. These things only take around 5-10 minutes and they are really useful to make sure you are constantly refreshing and testing yourself on things you are revising to input them into your long-term memory. If you commute to school or college like me, you could make a list of things you could do on public transport – Quizlet for example has a mobile app so you can take your flashcard apps anywhere and study on the go. Or if you do languages like me, you could listen to a foreign radio station on your phone whilst travelling to practice listening skills. Being productive is all about using your time wisely!
So that concludes my tips on how to spend each day productively. I hope you’ve found some of these tips useful, and as always share any tips of your own in the comments!