Chances are you're reading this article for one of two reasons:
A. You’re procrastinating.
B. You’re genuinely interested in becoming more productive.
Whatever your reason, you probably feel as if there's never enough time for everything. Instead, you are left feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious.
So when we see those students that always seem to “just get it done,” we can’t help but be envious. Even under tremendous pressure, they remain efficient, motivated and productive. What's their secret?
Part mindset, part strategy — habits that you, too, can develop to finish what you need to every day. Here's how you can "just get it done," even when working is the last thing on your mind.
1. They push themselves to work.
Don’t think, just do. Productive students have a knack for pushing themselves to get started, whether they feel like it or not. All of their attention is focused on the task at hand. You can cultivate that same self-motivation by developing a routine and designating a proper study space to focus entirely on your assignments. This way, you can combat procrastination by associating your “study zone” with action.
2. They break each task down to small chunks.
Focusing on a single task for too long will hinder your ability to concentrate. Instead, the most productive students practice a study technique commonly referred to as “chunking.” The theory is that complex assignments are broken down into smaller tasks or amounts of time so you can remain refreshed and focused. These larger projects then seem much more manageable and less daunting.
3. They turn assignments into a game.
‘Work’ by nature may not seem ‘fun,’ but there are study strategies that may help make it be more enjoyable. These motivation techniques will help you power through and finish before you know it. For example, love sweets? Try scattering gummy bears across your textbook pages to reward yourself with a delicious treat after reading each paragraph.
4. They only work when they are most productive.
Think about the time of day you are most productive. If you aren’t sure, you can figure out your “productivity peak” by paying close attention to your everyday habits and energy levels. Are you full of ideas when you first get in the office, but hit a slump by 2 p.m.? If so, you may do your best work in the morning. Or, are you groggy in the morning, but send insightful emails all night long? Then you may be the most effective in the evenings. Whatever your work style, focus on your most important tasks during your peak productivity time to really get the most done.
5. They turn failure into success.
Numerous people throughout history have encountered tremendous obstacles, but it’s the ones that rose above that offer the most valuable of lessons. Take, for example, big names like Thomas Edison, who was told as a child he was “too dumb to amount to much” or Walt Disney, who was fired from his first job at a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” And then there are the stories you may not know, like that of Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, two men who were fired from their jobs as officers at a home improvement chain in the 1970s. They used the experience to launch a store you probably do know - Home Depot. The lesson? Don’t be devastated by an insurmountable challenge, but learn from it and use it. How you persevere each and every day will get you to where you want to be in your education and your career.
Written by Thomas Edison State University