7 Productive Habits You Should Adapt Right Now

Back to school is always a time of year filled with high hopes of staying productive all semester and earning top grades. However, many students become distracted once they’re back on campus. Whether it’s attending a tailgating event, late nights out with friends or smaller distractions like texts and social media notifications, staying productive is hard. These are 7 productive habits you should adapt right now to make sure you’re making the most out of your semester.

Identify and eliminate distractions

The first step to improving productivity is identifying constant distractions that pull divert your attention. Things like cellphones, social media, email, conversations with friends and the internet can be extremely distracting when it comes to getting things done. Once you’ve identified what your biggest distractions are then you can work to eliminate them and adapt productive habits.

For example, I become distracted by social media and text alerts. Two ways I try to eliminate this distraction is my turning my phone upside down on my desk or disabling noise/vibration notifications from my devices. Due to the nature of my work being online, I also disabled iMessaging on my MacBook Pro to eliminate my distractions from distracting me during my work time.

organization, productive habits

Keep your workspace organized

Working in a cluttered environment means negative energy and more distractions. Organizing your workspace and keeping things tidy is an easy way to fuel productivity by making you feel in control and redirects your focus by eliminating distractions of a messy workspace.

Taking time to organize your workspace is an opportunity to get rid of unnecessary items and add items that’ll motivate you or spark creativity. You can add things like plants, brighter lights, magazines and inspirational posters around your space for a quick pick-me-up.

Make a [realistic] to-do list

Creating a to-do list each day is a great way to put things you need to do into perspective. Identify things tasks each day and list them in order of importance. Check off tasks as you accomplish them but remember not to confuse quantity with quality. Many people think that because they accomplished a to-do list of 12 tasks that it means they’ve been productive. However, productivity is not defined by how many things you accomplished, but the quality of the completed task.

Remember to make your to-do lists realistic so that you don’t become discouraged at the end of the day when you’ve only completed 4 out of 10 tasks on your list. Some tasks require more time and effort than others so keep that in mind when creating your to-do list each day.

reward yourself, productive habits

Use a reward system to stay motivated

Remember being a kid and being bribed with candy or ice cream by your parents? The same kind of reward system can work to improve your productivity. Identify small to big rewards you’d enjoy. Use them to motivate yourself to keep focus and hone your productive habits.

For example, as someone who loves to travel, I’ve found that I’m easily motivated by planning a weekend getaway. I typically plan these getaways after midterms for a mid-semester break. Doing so allows me to get away, explore a different city and come back feeling motivated.

Sometimes that mid-semester break seems too far away to keep me motivated. Smaller rewards leading up until that point are necessary. These smaller rewards are usually things like tickets to a concert, a shopping trip, or a new pair of shoes.

Whether it’s a mid-semester trip or a weekend spent binge watching Netflix, the reward system works.

Take breaks between tasks

After setting out to accomplish a long list of tasks, you might notice that you start to feel burnt out. This is because your brain becomes immune to the constant stimulation of the task at hand. This will cause you to lose interest.

Those feelings of unimportance, lacking motivation and inspiration can be resolved by simply taking more breaks between tasks. Researchers have found that people who take a break every hour often return to their work inspired, motivated and with a renewed sense of energy to help you get the job done.

multitasking, productive habits

Exercise regularly

Doctors recommend exercising daily which can result in a number of benefits. Benefits include losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle and reducing stress. Did you know that it can also improve your productivity, spark creativity and reduce feelings of fatigue?

University of Georgia researchers found that exercise decreases feelings of fatigue. It is dependent on the level of intensity of an individual’s exercise. Researchers also found that energy levels improve about the same for low to moderate levels of intensity while exercising, meaning exercising can improve your productivity by making you feel reenergized.

Maintain a consistent sleep schedule

When getting things done, many of us find there simply isn’t enough working hours. One of the most important productive habits you can adapt is learning to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

Though working later sounds like it would directly translate to increased productivity, it doesn’t. Researchers at Harvard estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity which means maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is crucial for improving productivity and overall performance.

student content creators

Final Thoughts on Productive Habits

Adapting new habits can be tough, but the more you practice them the easier they become. If you’re looking for more ways beyond productive habits to make your semester a successful one, check out these study habits. 


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