When in college, you need productivity tips more than ever. Let’s be honest: Lack of productivity is a common issue, and even the brightest minds struggle to organize their day strategically enough to make the most of it, meet all their targets for the day, and maximize their productivity.
The idea of student productivity is not only about completing homework assignments and studying for exams, but it’s also about a healthy balance between academics, social life, extra-curricular activities, and personal relationship.
In this post, you’ll find the top seven most detailed productivity tips for students, with practical hacks on how to master them once and for all.
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We bet you’ll agree with us on this one:
The year 2020 has been challenging for students around the world. Stricken by the pandemic, students were out of classrooms globally, and online classes became the only viable and safe mode of education.
Already struggling with ways on how to keep a good flow of productivity, the concept of distant learning worsened this ongoing issue at an alarmingly high rate. Before we get into productivity tips themselves, let’s reveal three main reasons for students’ productivity lack.
Top 3 Reasons Why Students Lack Productivity
1) Distractions. Spending hours on social media like TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram has become common among teenagers. On average, teens spend at least on social media, which leads to a lack of productivity in their academic life.
Distractions don’t necessarily stem from the excessive use of smartphones and social media. Peers, friends, and family could also cause the student to be distracted and lack productivity.
2) Lack of Enthusiasm. It’s another major cause for the productivity absence amongst students, and the reasons why some of them lack enthusiasm in college life may be as follows:
- No taking time to understand what works for them
- Believing that their efforts won’t make any difference
- Wrong prioritization
- Mental health issues like anxiety or depression
3) No Proper Organization. Some students don’t take time to create a schedule, write a to-do list, and stick to it. They pretty much wing it and don’t have a sense of organization, which ends up spending more time on other activities and lazing around.
7 Productivity Tips for Students to Maximize Their Workflow
Now that we have a brief idea of why student productivity may fall, let’s get into simple yet straightforward and practical productivity tips to improve it.
By following these simple tips on becoming more productive in school, you’ll perform better and make school more accessible and fun. So, here we go!
1) Figure Out What Works for You
We all are different, which naturally means that while one thing may work for some students — the situation may be precisely the opposite for others.
Tons of options are available for students to figure out what works for them and what doesn’t. That’s what you can try:
When it comes to creating a plan or a schedule students need to follow to keep track of their schoolwork and academics, there are two routes to choose from.
- Paper and pencil agenda: For some students, it’s more comfortable to use a piece of paper or diary for writing down all the plans and to-do lists. Feel free to incorporate your class schedule, time to study, breaks, extra-curricular activities, social activity, and family life there. Don’t hesitate to “steal” on Pinterest or other websites to design your plan so that it would stand out and look engaging.
- Online software: Another fun and straightforward way to create a plan is through online software. A wide array such as Adobe Spark, Canva, or Setmore can help you custom your agendas or choose from their existing agenda templates. You can print a plan and put it up somewhere in your room, or you can have it on a laptop for easy access.
Choosing a Home Study Mode
Another factor to consider when figuring out what works for you: Try to discover the most helpful mode of home study. In today’s post-pandemic world, when most of us continue working and studying remotely, it means a lot.
- Self-study: To be successful in self-studying, students need to ensure they create a designated and secluded study area, keep a computer at hand, and make sure they have tools necessary for note-taking.
Self-study requires organization skills, responsibility, and patience. No teacher will supervise you at home, help you with writing assignments, or control your . So consider self-study only if you’re responsible and punctual enough to support your productivity.
- Private tuitions: As well as self-study, this mode can be added to your school classes. Consider it when you struggle with a subject, need extra help with some tasks, or want to stay ahead of your classmates. Feel free to find tutors online on platforms like or . Professionals can help you with essay writing, SATs, or even college counseling.
If you believe you’d be more comfortable with taking help from a fellow student or someone of your age, you could always ask a teacher’s assistant for it.
Choosing a Learning Technique
Another aspect to consider when thinking of what works for you in productivity boost is understanding which learning technique you perform best.
Each student has different learning preferences, being most productive when they learn through those methods. Here are different :
- Visual: These students learn through observation. For them, taking in the graphic of things is the best way to absorb information. Diagrams, boards, infographics, and pictures are what works for them.
- Auditory: These students perform best when learning through listening. They prefer to hear lectures, speeches, or even their voice as it helps them absorb the maximum information through that process. They also like watching videos and courses on platforms like YouTube as they boost their productivity and performance.
- Reading/Writing: These students prefer words to visuals and hearing; they absorb information by constantly reading and writing. So-called verbal learners, they have an excellent vocabulary and .
- Kinesthetic: These students boost productivity and performance when taking a physically active role in the learning process. They are social learners, work best in groups, and have fantastic communication skills.
Picking a Note-Taking Method
One of the core ways to do well and have significant productivity as a student is to make sure that you are taking notes along the way. Created by you, such messages are the easiest to understand and decipher when you refer to them later. Choose the note-taking technique that works best for you:
- The Sentence Method: It requires you to write down every statement or fact in a new sentence, numbering them. This method is perfect for those who hate clusters and prefer a properly arranged system.
- The Charting Method: This one will work for those in love with visuals. Here you’ll create columns throughout the notes and categorize them accordingly through labels. It’s perfect for those willing to avoid unnecessary writing.
- The Mapping Method: If done incorrectly, this method can be pretty messy and clustered, but it’s precisely what some students want. The mapping method requires you to create graphic representations and keep track of your notes visually.
2) Use a Calendar Rigorously
It seems pretty ancient and ordinary, but you’d be surprised with how handy calendars can be, especially during the digital era. Don’t get us wrong:
If you’re old-school, prefer to use a physical calendar, and think that manually entering all of your classes in it will be more helpful to your productivity as opposed to a virtual one, please go for it. However, there are many more advanced ways to use your calendar to boost productivity.
Besides using the calendar on your phone or laptop, why not consider more advanced software to keep a better track of your classes and eliminate the chances of missing them entirely. You can set reminders, change dates, set time and event frequency there, saving you tons of time compared to entering everything manually.
Your calendar doesn’t specifically have to revolve around your class schedule but other things that will further improve your productivity as a student and help you perform well.
So, consider your calendar for the following:
- On-campus events: By making a small reminder of all the critical events taking place on campus, you reduce the chances of missing them and become even more compelled to attend and get involved in them.
- Extra-curricular activities: Along with on-campus events, extra-curricular activities play an essential role in your social life. Choose those of your interest (sports, , drama clubs, board games, , etc.) and schedule them on your calendar for better planning and organizing your time.
- Exam schedule: Easy to forget and miss when under stress, test and exam dates are must-haves in your calendar. Reminders will help you manage time on preparation and organize the process strategically for better results.
- Due dates: By writing down all the deadlines for homework and writing assignments, you won’t miss any submissions and can complete everything on time.
- Physical exercise: Ensure you plan some time for fitness, and remember to write it down to your calendar. College life can be pretty overwhelming, and that is why you need to freshen up and stay healthy. Exercise can be of any sort: working out at the gym, going for a jog, cycling, etc. Physical activity serves for your better productivity.
- Other: If you are a student who wants to be super organized and in control of your time, you can schedule and set reminders for everything: your meals, walks, and any other activities you have in mind.
3) Master the Work with Your Emails
Yes, ignorance may seem bliss at first. Yes, avoiding stressful emails from your teachers and college administrations may seem like the easy way. But you will have to check them sooner or later, and that could result in rather serious consequences.
The best productivity tip you can get for working with emails: Check your inbox every single day. Therefore you’ll stay updated with what happens on the campus and won’t miss any essential assignments, plans, deadlines, or events.
“What does it have to do with my productivity as a student?” you may ask.
Can you imagine going through over a pile-on of 10,000 emails and how stressful it can be in addition to coursework, exams, and other assignments? Why not check your email regularly to learn all the college news on time and organize your workflow accordingly for better performance?
Here’s how you can have better control over your emails:
- Use archive tools: They’ll help you filter out unnecessary and spam emails and make your email tracking a lot easier.
- Flag emails: Flagging messages that require you to take some action, you’ll organize your inbox for better productivity. Once the task is complete, feel free to unflag the message to mark it as “done.”
- Use labels or subfolders: This feature will help organize and group email chains in different categories according to their importance, saving time and allowing you to spend it on critical issues only.
- Unsubscribe from unnecessary: Nothing causes more cluster than loads of emails from the countless subscriptions you have made. Not only do they distract you from important emails, but they also demotivate you to check your inbox regularly. The best decision would be to unsubscribe from mailing lists that don’t serve any particular purpose for you.
- Create templates to save time: Emails you send in school or college (to teachers or school administration) often look the same and have a monotonous and standard layout. So, instead of typing out the same email every time, you can create a standard template and use it whenever necessary. Plus, it decreases your chances of , etc.
- Set a timeout to check emails: An alarm or reminder on your device will help you avoid “forgetting” about this task. Ensure to stick to the time blocks and don’t ignore them.
4) Always Have and Follow Your To-Do List
Let us guess:
You’ve heard about this productivity tip from your teachers, parents, or online communities at least once. Create to-do lists to be more organized, ensure you complete all daily tasks, and become more productive as a student, right?
And now, be honest:
How many times did you ignore this tip, considering such a productivity hack nothing but a waste of time?
You were wrong.
Along with boosting productivity, manual or digital to-do lists have many benefits that could do wonders to your college life:
- Create a sense of responsibility. A to-do list helps begin your day strong. It enables you to kick start, brings structure, and eliminates the chances of procrastination. You don’t go about your day aimlessly and always know your next target.
- Reduce anxiety. A to-do list creates a sense of accomplishment and direction, . Once you see all the incomplete tasks in the form of a list, they seem easier to accomplish than the tasks that are just floating around your head and haunting you.
- Help you prioritize. A to-do list gives you a as to how to prioritize and do your tasks. Once you know what you have on the plate, you can decide what to do first and what in the end. A to-do list will also allow you to allot time, and you won’t have to rush or do anything haphazardly.
Feel free to create manual to-do lists or use for your laptop or smartphone. Ensure your to-do list is detailed and easy to go through: Be realistic and avoid setting unachievable goals. Remember that you have only 24 hours, eight of which go for sleep, so organize and prioritize tasks accordingly.
Here’s that works:
- Set goals to determine your daily priorities.
- Keep it to a manageable size: Never have more than five items on your list at a time.
- Be specific and extremely clear with your every task.
- Add structure to your to-do list: Place the three most important tasks at the top and resolve them first.
- Sync it with your calendar: It will enable you to work with no interruptions.
5) Get Rid of Your Smartphone. No, Seriously!
Don’t get us wrong, smartphones are beneficial and pretty much a necessity for students in today’s digital age. From emails, classes, calendars, contact with peers and teachers, research and assignments are all managed via your mobile device.
Plus, social media can be highly educational by keeping you aware of what is going on globally. But as we all know, anything can be damaging when in excess.
Social media can also be distracting and a significant hindrance to your productivity. Let’s face it: How many hours do you spend on Instagram or TikTok every day? How often did you have to with assignments because of your procrastination on Facebook or Snapchat?
Excessive use of social media affects your productivity and increases distractedness. It could also result in the inability to build emotional connections and face-to-face communication skills, make drugs and alcohol look appealing, and lead to cyberbullying.
The ideal variant would be to move your phone into another room when you are doing your schoolwork. It will help avoid any interference and distractions and complete your tasks on time. You could set a particular time for a study and reward yourself with extra phone time afterward.
This way, you motivate yourself to perform quicker, increase productivity, and manage the use of your mobile devices like a boss.
6) Create Weekly Timetables and Stick to Them
A weekly timetable is a chart that gives an overview of all your commitments and essential tasks for the week.
Much like a to-do list and reminders on calendars, weekly timetables help you keep better track of your tasks and goals and make you more productive as a student.
In a weekly timetable, you can add classes for the week, any important on-campus events, schedule for extra-curricular activities, meetings, and commitments or plans you have with your friends and family.
You can either make your weekly timetables manually or use ready-made planners. Tons of corresponding online software like WeekPlan or Todoist are at your service.
Besides boosting your productivity, weekly timetables have many other benefits, such as making you more successful as a student. Don’t organization, responsibility, and proper planning make you more successful and productive?
Most of our admit that the habit of making weekly timetables is peculiar to successful and well-performing students. They make it a point to stick and don’t reschedule or cancel unless necessary.
Another significant benefit of weekly schedules is that you have a constant reminder of all your essential responsibilities. Thus, your chances of missing out on them are minimum to none.
7) Prioritize Your Health. We Mean It!
Even though college life can be challenging and somewhat demanding, it’s a must to put your health, both mental and physical, at the maximal priority.
Make sure that you get enough sleep, a proper diet, and regular exercise.
Please don’t take up too much burden or anxiety if you don’t do so well or have happened to miss an important deadline. Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and it isn’t the end of the world.
If at any time you think that your busy schedule or excessive work is getting overwhelming and is starting to take a toll on you, take a break and do something that will help you freshen up your mind: meet with friends, watch a movie, or even take a small nap.
In a Word
By committing to these seven simple yet effective productivity tips, you’d be surprised how drastically you can improve your performance as a student. But if you tried and noticed that some of the above hacks didn’t work, please ask for advice from parents, teachers, or peers. They might provide you with the extra means and motivation you need to maximize your productivity.
And now, over to you:
Which of the above productivity tips works best for you? Or, maybe you have some alternative productivity hacks to share with us? Welcome to the comments!
P.S. A big thank goes to Mohammad Asif for his help with gathering the tips and writing this draft!