As a college student, I had to develop strategies to become highly productive in order to achieve my goals.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.
— Paul J. Meyer
Step 1 - Intelligent Planning Goes a Long Way
Imagine right now that you are studying for an important exam of yours. You know you need to focus for five hours a day to feel confident and perform well at the examination. What do you think will make you better prepared; to study straight for five hours or to study for one hour five times a day instead? If the second choice is your answer then you are right. The fact is you can do even shorter sessions than that, but more about that later.
Our preferences differ and many of us may prefer to get things done straight away, being then able to fully switch off and relax during those nice fun things. However, as described in the example above, five hours is plenty of time to fully focus on, and believe me when I state that you most likely will not remain focused enough during that session no matter how hard you try to convince yourself you will. There is a high risk of procrastinating if you decide to do longer sessions as it will become much harder to get through them. Be smart when you plan your sessions, less is sometimes more.
We all get easily distracted in today's world. Nowadays, almost everyone is constantly connected to the internet. Most of us have social media like Facebook and Instagram, most of us watch YouTube videos several times a day and most of us also read articles like for example this one. There is a lot going on that keeps our mind occupied and away from things we really should do instead.
Try to plan your working sessions as precisely as possible and remain fully focused during these. Can you only achieve to fully concentrate for twenty, thirty minutes straight? That is completely fine if that is your case. The fact is most of us cannot achieve sustained attention for a longer period than twenty minutes. Regarding children, it's even less time than that.
See where I am trying to go with this? Of course, there are occasions when you really need to focus on longer periods of time no matter what and it is great to be able to achieve that if needed. However, if you do it too often though, chances are you will find yourself struggling a lot and procrastination will take place. To summarize; use your intelligence when you plan your studies, work, or any other activity and it will eventually go a long way.
Step 2 - Be Committed But Remember To Relax
Dedication is a hugely important factor for success. However, relaxation is almost exactly as important as being committed. Maybe you are an energy machine and can work hours and hours without being tired but I highly doubt that. We all need to recover and load up our batteries.
The following mistake is one I have made way too many times. You take your break sitting in the same position and surf the internet. Unfortunately, that is not the right way to execute on your breaks and recover, not even the slightest. There is a huge risk involved that you start to experience procrastination instead and maybe even forget to do your next session at the scheduled time of yours. As a result of that, your rhythm says goodbye to you and you start struggling even more to make it through your assessments before the deadline, which will make you even more stressed and therefore decrease your productivity.
Nowadays, we do most things online but that does not mean you need to have the same experience over and over again. Get up and get fresh - grab a snack, drink something, put on your favorite music, and simply try to relax for a bit. You can for example play a game or watch your favorite show. You can stand up and do some exercises so that your body feels good and recharged again. Open your window and get in some fresh air as that may also help you significantly when you need to concentrate.
All the mentioned above gives your brain valuable tools to refocus itself and grab some extra energy to then be able to deploy it on full concentration when needed. Remember, as you always should try to maximize your productivity, you as well should maximize your relaxation time and do something else for a while. If you go wrong about this, it can totally destroy your productivity pace.
Keep in mind that if you manage to make your breaks funny and exciting, you will gain much more energy from them and be able to do those things you really need to do.
Step 3 - Focus On the Goal and Try To Be Positive
Maybe you are currently struggling with a difficult task at your college. The risks are you feel very stressed about it and generally feel bad and worried over it. Maybe you even consider quitting if your results have not been as good as you yourself expected them to be.
Even though you may feel very disappointed at this point, there are many people out there who probably would dream of being in your place and live your life. There are a lot of people in our world without education possibilities because they lack either skills or resources to perceive their goals. Many of these are unhealthy individuals who cannot afford things that many of us takes for granted, like food and clean water.
No matter how difficult things appear to be during this particular moment, if you have what you need to progress and move on, then keep aiming high and try to get on with it. In the end, you are doing it for a reason, am I right? Remember why you may struggle in your life. The actual reason may be because you want to achieve something extraordinary and develop yourself further in life.
Naturally, you will face obstacles on your path as everyone does. To move forward, you need to tackle these first. Try to visualize your ideal vision in the process where you have managed to make it through all those challenges and achieved your goals. Does it feel good or at least slightly better? If it does, then try to utilize it in your favor to become even more productive.
This is just an example of mine, maybe it is a work task you currently struggle with, or maybe your hobby you so much want to excel in is what troubles you at this time. Remember that no matter what life throws at you, always try to see the bigger picture if possible. It is super easy to start thinking how unlucky you are; however, seeing things from a wider perspective can help you stay positive and be grateful for things you already have in your life.
One last thought of mine; If you think you can't do something, at least give it a try. Even by trying, you learn and gain valuable experience. Try enough, and success will sooner or later knock on your door.
© 2021 Jan Stepan