Between WhatsApp notifications, new Netflix shows and Instagram scrolling, it’s easy to feel like your attention is being pulled a million different ways. That’s why finding ways to settle down to focus and increase your productivity at university is really important. We’ve rounded up five simple ways to free up some headspace and, ultimately, get stuff done.
Break it down
It’s totally understandable to feel overwhelmed by large amounts of work, so it’s best to break it down into manageable chunks. Prioritise your tasks and deadlines in order of importance – maybe try these productivity apps for university students. Having a good plan is the best place to start, and tasks like building a revision timetable or calendar planning can even be quite mindful once you get into them. Finally, be sure to take regular breaks. Set a timer if you need to, and try to focus on one task at a time.
There’s a fine line between planning and simply putting off the work that needs to be done. But it can definitely help if you give yourself the best possible start; focus on getting quality sleep, exercising regularly and eating well in the long term. On the day where you need to get stuff done, make sure you’ve had a decent breakfast, got some fresh air and you have the right reading materials and equipment ready to go. These seem like little things but when you’re in the mood to procrastinate it’s easy to lose hours searching for the ‘right’ things.
No social media
Of course, the best anti-procrastination tip will always be keeping your phone out of sight when you need to focus. It’s far too easy to have a ‘quick check’ of your notifications. However, there’s always the wide world of the internet to contend with too. While it’s likely to be an essential tool when you’re doing your university work, dedicated apps that limit time spent on your commonly-used websites can be really useful in helping you focus. Try to remember how much more enjoyable going on social media or catching up on events will be when you don’t have looming deadlines hanging over your head.
Wherever you like to study, it can be easy to forget that it’s always better to be comfortable. If you’re venturing out to a cafe or the library, little things like layers in case it’s too hot or cold, or headphones when you need to drown out the noise can be really helpful. If you’re staying at your Collegiate residence, you can enjoy a large desk and comfortable chair in your own room or why not try a study space for a change of scenery? Make sure you have plenty of water and maybe a snack to hand too, so you don’t get distracted by hunger. And always be mindful of your posture, set reminders to check in with yourself to relax, drop your shoulders and make sure you aren’t hunched over your laptop.
Take a breather
Some days, you will struggle to be productive and that’s ok. Of course it’s important to stay on top of your deadlines but powering through won’t always be the solution, and could result in sub-par work. If you can feel you’re simply staring at the screen and not actually doing anything, it’s a surefire sign you need to take a breather. It’s important not to neglect your mental wellbeing in order to get work done. Go for a walk, do some exercise or get coffee with a friend and when you return, you’ll likely find that you’ve got a fresh perspective and can work a little smarter.
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