3 Easy Strategies To Help You Be More Productive

Content provided by:
Brittney Vigna, MPH, CHES, CPH, PAPHS
Assistant Director of Health Promotion and Wellness

Going to a major university provides students with tons of opportunities to learn, grow, and excel. However, all of these opportunities can start to pile up very quickly if students are not careful to manage their time in an effective way that works for them. There is not one “cookie-cutter” recipe for the best way to manage time, however, finding a few good strategies that work for you and running with them is a great start.

1. Use your resources to your advantage.

Many students are fortunate to have access to smart phones, which can be a huge strategy to organization. Change how you use your phone from a weapon of mass distraction to an asset. Turn on notifications for calendar alerts and turn off notifications for social media and text messages (if you’re worried that you’ll miss an emergency, turn on alerts for specific people!). Also, utilize the options to only use social media during certain times. Choose the times of the day when you feel the most productive, and opt to turn off social media to give yourself total focus.

Additionally, Project Health, the Career Center and the Counseling Center all have great resources for students who are trying to learn how to manage time and reduce stress.

2. Take scheduled breaks.

The tech company Draugiem Group conducted a study to figure out the best relationship between work time/break time at work. The study found that those who work for 52 minutes and then break for 17 minutes were the most productive. When studying or trying to accomplish a to-do list, give yourself mental breaks from the task at home. That way, when heading back on “the work clock”, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to sprint onto the next task. Set your timer for 52 minutes and get ready to knock some tasks out!

Note: Make sure the breaks are not going to be something TOO distracting! If you know you’ll get sucked into Instagram for too long, try a different activity, such as listening to an audiobook or taking a walk.

3. Write things down.

The easiest way to not forget something is to write it down or make some documentation of a task. A study conducted at The University of California, Los Angeles attempted to find if typing notes or writing notes helped students retain and learn information better. Two groups of students were used, with one group writing notes and another typing notes. The findings showed that the students who typed notes had more notes, however, they did far worse than students who wrote their notes down did when tested. Why? Students who typed notes generally type lectures/content verbatim, leading to a ‘mindless transcription’, while students who write notes down have to quickly consolidate information, leading to a better understanding of information. Moral of the story: write things down. Understand more information earlier. Save all the time studying later.

Try these three strategies to help boost your productivity and reduce some stress!