How To Be More Productive in College: 10 Tips

Classrooms Team

Dec 10, 2020
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Every college student wants to make the most out of their education. You signed up for the classes that count towards your degree, but there are so many responsibilities to juggle. It’s easy to get behind on your work and not know how to keep up with assignments and tests. The secret is to focus on your productivity.

These ten tips will show you how to be more productive in college so your classes become less stressful. You’ll easily handle anything that comes your way and still have time left over for your friends and hobbies.

1. Create a Task List

Stress and procrastination take over when you don’t see a path forward. You won’t know what to tackle first and what has the closest deadline. A task list is the first step towards becoming more productive, so sit down with a planner or your favorite calendar app.

List all of your current and upcoming assignments. Next, organize them by their deadlines. Once you have everything laid out, you can get to work on whatever has the closest due dates.

2. Consider Your Environment

Your study environment plays a significant role in your productivity. If you’re distracted by loud roommates or buzzing fluorescent lights, you won’t engage in your reading material or flashcards.

Think about where you study or do your homework. How can you change that environment to improve your focus? A recent study found that when people work in natural lighting, they experience a 56% reduction in drowsiness, so do your work outside or by a window. You could also go to a different location, like the library, a coffee shop, or a reserved study room.

Your environment could be the only thing holding you back, so try different locations to see which place works best for you.

3. Adapt Your Schedule

You can’t change the length of your classes or how often you go to your part-time job, but there are other ways to adapt your schedule and get more time to study. Instead of walking across campus between classes to relax in your dorm, stay close to your classrooms between lectures. Use that time you would have spent trekking across campus to get more homework done.

4. Notice Your Preferences

Consider what time you usually complete assignments or study. What time do you have the most energy or desire to focus? Figuring out if you’re a night owl or a morning person boosts your productivity because you’ll align with your biological clock. Instead of competing against your energy levels and suffering from symptoms of burnout, you’ll work alongside your preferences and take advantage of when you’re more likely to do your best work.

5. Swallow Your Frog

Procrastination might tank your productivity because you’re dreading one particular task. Productivity experts refer to that task as your frog. If you don’t tackle it, your frog will consume your entire day. It’s time to learn how to swallow your frog and get your irritating task out of the way. Get your most dreaded assignment or study session over with and you’ll power through everything else because it all seems like no big deal in comparison.

6. Break Down Your Tasks

Your to-do list might have three or four large assignments. They’re all going to require tons of time and focus, which makes procrastination more appealing. Part of learning how to be more productive in college is figuring out how to break down your tasks.

Instead of deciding to complete a project, create a to-do list just for that project. Start with your research, then organize your notes. Draft an outline and take breaks after accomplishing each small part of your project. You’ll speed through your task list because you’ve nailed your productivity skills.

7. Turn Off Notifications

Pausing your work to check your phone or email could be what’s stopping you from finishing your daily work. Silence your phone and turn off desktop notifications. You could even hide your phone in another room so it’s not tempting you from your pocket. When notifications aren’t constantly going off, you’ll get in the zone and be more productive.

8. Clean Your Room

Plenty of college students study in their rooms, but that could be your main problem. A messy environment full of dirty dishes and half-eaten snacks will make you uncomfortable. Researchers found that employees became more productive at work after a cleaning crew tidied up the office.

If you still want to study in your room, take five minutes to clean. Make your bed, do your dishes, and take out your trash. You’ll feel more in control and ready to dive into your work.

9. Eat a Better Diet

Your diet could be what’s sabotaging your ability to keep up with your classes. Unhealthy food contributes to tiredness and fatigue because it’s improper fuel. Make sure you get whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in every meal. Avoid saturated fats and food high in carbs so you don’t experience a blood sugar crash when you sit down to study.

10. Get More Sleep

Becoming more productive means taking care of your body, which includes getting more sleep. Don’t fall for the temptation to pull an all-nighter or only get a few hours of rest. On average, college students need seven hours of sleep each night at a minimum. Without completing your full sleep cycle, your brain won’t be ready to focus on studying or assignments.

Make Simple Changes

Anyone can learn how to be more productive in college if they make a few simple changes. Start small, like eating healthier or making a to-do list. With time, you can add more changes to ramp up your focus and accomplish more during your time at school.

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