Do all the perfect pictures on Instagram make you jealous? Does the new trend of bullet journaling make you realise what a hot mess you are? Do the words ‘productivity’ and ‘waking up early’ give you nightmares? If you answered YES to all three of these questions, all I can say is, same… Also, you can join me on this mission to become more organised and productive.
As much as we all hate waking up early in the morning, it is actually proven that it makes you more productive. To be honest, when I have an appointment or a meeting quite early in the morning, I just have an irresistible urge to get things done afterwards; I might as well, I’m up. Of course, no one expects you to become a morning person overnight. The best way to get into the habit is, firstly, go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day (or at least Monday to Friday), and secondly, to prevent shock, move your alarm 15 minutes earlier every night. Except for increased productivity, there are multiple other benefits to waking up early:
- You get extra time before everyone else gets up when it’s quiet and you get this nice sense of ‘time to myself’
- The first hour of the day sets the tone for the whole day, you get to ‘wake up slow’ and not rush
- Sunrise and the crisp morning air, need I say more?
- You get more done in the morning = a head start before everyone
- You can brag about it
Personally, I am one of the people who, simply, can’t get out of bed but what I’ve noticed lately is that just having the alarm on vibrate instead of the classic shock tone, actually wakes me up more gently, if that makes sense. On the topic of waking up,
- Get an alarm clock app for your phone which gives you maths or logical tasks, before it actually stops ringing
- Put your phone/alarm as far away from your bed as possible, then you HAVE to get up
- Have a glass of water ASAP, it gets your digestive system working and wakes you up better than coffee
- Don’t overthink getting out of bed, just do it
- Always eat breakfast, it starts up your metabolism
- If you wake up a reasonable amount of time before your alarm goes off, just get up. It’s your body’s internal clock saying one sleep cycle has ended
- You’re better off reading or writing before bed rather than looking at your phone or laptop. If you are watching something though, get an app to reduce the blue light produced, the light activates the production of melatonin, making you more awake
Now that you’re up and ready to get cracking with everything you have to get done, you should summarise what it actually is that you have to do. Being at uni and having to ‘adult’ can and will get quite overwhelming, so what I, personally, like to do is write it all down, check all the deadlines and see what needs to be done first. To-Do lists are generally the most efficient way to organise your priorities, but simply writing down To-Do: Clean room isn’t really going to help you. The better way to approach this is breaking the task down, e.g. To-Do: wipe desk, make bed etc.
Having a list of tasks, it’s now time to get them done!
- Don’t study/work in bed! That’s supposed to be your relax zone and later on, you won’t be able to relax.
- Study somewhere where there are fewer distractions, e.g. the library, a café. Generally, that’s where most people do their work, the atmosphere there is more concentrated and you’d feel guilty just cracking open Youtube or Netflix; so that pushes you to work.
- Turn off all your notifications, so that nothing distracts you. Again, there’s an app for that, for example, Forest, you plant a tree and it grows for a certain amount of time. If you use your phone during that time, the tree dies.
- Some people like to listen to music whilst studying, the best way for the music to not be distracting is if there are no lyrics. There are loads of playlists on Spotify, generally, piano, classical or ambient music does the job.
- Have enough water handy so that you don’t have to get up all the time.
- Do the worst and/or hardest task first
Hopefully, you’ve done everything that needed to be done by now. Generally, having a clean and tidy surroundings helps to decrease your distractions as well, so tidy that desk and put everything you don’t need away.
Something that could motivate you is pretty stationary. Honestly, just walking into WHSmith or Paperchase immediately makes me want to plan out every second of my day.
Image source: paperchase.co.uk
Whenever you feel really unproductive; you’ve been lying on your bed, staring at the ceiling and you can’t get up, just roll out on the floor, do a couple of sit-ups or squats, just something to get your heart rate up, that should make you feel more active. Also, try doing a tiny task, make your bed, open your window to air the room out, email your lecturer, that should get you started. And don’t think about it too much, overthinking only causes harm. Now that’s some life advice right there.
Speaking of life advice, a couple of good habits you should take up to start being more productive and organised,
- Get some sunlight and fresh air
- Surround yourself with inspirational people and avoid the toxic ones (this relates to who you follow on social media as well)
- Organise your priorities. What do you want to do and where do you want to be this time next year? What’s your current goal? Would you rather spend two days binge watching Netflix or spend two days reading a book in a language you’re trying to learn?
- Have a set routine, e.g. clean your room every Sunday, wash all your dishes before going to bed etc.
- Make some time for yourself, relax
And one useful tip at the end: the power nap. Trying to nap in the afternoon can be a tricky task. You want to nap for twenty minutes, but suddenly it’s two hours and you have no idea what century it is and what planet you’re on. There’s a solution for that. Make a strong coffee and let it cool down to a drinkable temperature. Drink it all at once, set an alarm for 15 – 20 minutes on and nap. When you wake up twenty minutes later, that’s when the caffeine actually kicks in, et voilá – zero grogginess.