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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Top three Tips to ensure you're working productively


The more work I take on at University and in the extra-curricular spectrum, the more I realise how important productivity is. The busier you become, the truer the old adage "Time = money" becomes.
These are the top three tips I use when working to maximise productivity in my work schedule, and I hope they are helpful.

1) Don't procrastinate -

Don't allow yourself to procrastinate. I will have 'King Procrastinator' carved into my tombstone when I die, and it's one of the most destructive habits there is, because it becomes very easy to think about work but not do the work. I find the internet to be an awful thing for this; I log onto reddit or Facebook and the next time I look up, 3 hours have gone and I am hungry and cold. I am essentially a Sim.

One of the most helpful websites I have found for ending endless internet procrastination is:

http://tomato-timer.com/#

It works on a process of revision/work in 25 minute chunks, with 5 minute breaks in between work.

2) Turn off mobile devices/Turn off WiFi/Turn off notifications

Another thing the internet generation will always struggle with is notification work. That is, I work until I get an email, or a notification, then I will check that email/notification, then work some more, until the next distraction. If you are wanting to work in a productive manner, replying to an email or text every 5 minutes is of no benefit to anyone. Put your phone on silent and exit your gmail account. Every hour or so, in your short break, flick on to them and check for important messages, reply to them, then sign off again. Other than your Mum, no-one needs an instant reply.

A really useful app for this is:

http://www.forestapp.cc/

The app has an interesting concept; you plant a tree at the start of your revision session, when you use apps on the blacklist (Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat etc) your tree withers. After the time you have set is up, the tree has grown as much as you have not checked your phone. You can eventually grow forests of your revision trees. Very hippy, but strangely useful.

My final tip

3) Organise what you need to do into a grid, similar to the one on the link below. Judge what work you should do immediately, and do it. Place future work in a separate area, and make plans for how to tackle those items. And just as importantly, discern what you do that is unproductive, and cut it out from your work life, or at least minimalise the effect it can have. Prevent the cause of your unproductivity, and your work will improve.

Do your easiest tasks after lunch, or at the end of the day, when your energy is lowest, and put your hardest or most strenuous tasks in times when you know you will have more drive. And reward yourself for achieving these tasks.

This is the link to one of the most personally helpful tables I've used:

http://www.businessballs.com/timemanagement.htm#urgent_important_grid_time_management

So these are my top three tips for a productive work schedule, I hope they are as useful to you as they were to me, when I was told them by various people, or when I worked them out for myself.


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