Semester of self-care

By on January 22, 2019

Feeling the pressure to start the new year strong? With the semester ahead, assignments and responsibilities are going to pile up before you know it. Here are some tools and tips to give you a jump start on making this year the best one yet.

Tips for staying productive

Set attainable goals

Setting goals, no matter how big or small can help you move past the initial apprehension of starting a daunting task. With successfully completing small tasks, you’ll give yourself a sense of accomplishment and motivation to move forward with harder assignments. 

Stay healthy

With the winter weather only getting colder, it seems as though everyone’s getting sick. Try to take vitamins, exercise and eat well so you have the ability to fight any illnesses. Most importantly, be sure to get enough sleep so you’ll have the be able to concentrate on tasks the following day.  

Schedule smart

When planning out your day, try to prioritize the most high-energy tasks when you’re the most productive, whether it be in the morning or late afternoon. If you plan these tasks when you’re fatigued, it’ll only waste time. Instead, plan to complete smaller or easier tasks when you’re low on energy. On the contrary, don’t burn yourself out. Take a break from your work so you can come back to it with a clear head. 

Find your own space 

Whether it’s creating a desk space in your dorm that you love or finding a spot on campus that meets your needs, customizing your workspace is vital when getting things d one efficiently. If you’re not sure what works for you, experiment by completing tasks in different environments until you find what fits your preferences. 

Focus on one thing at a time 

Trying to focus on multiple tasks at hand may not be as efficient as you think. Your brain needs time to refocus after shifting back and forth between tasks. Multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40 percent, according to a study by the American Psychological Association. Instead, give the assignment you’re working on your full attention and determination. 

Turn up the music

It’s no secret that music boosts productivity, according to a study at the University of Miami. The study also suggests that the best type of music to work to is one without lyrics so it won’t become a distraction. Classical music or even video game soundtracks work great when hustling through an assignment.

Write about it

Every meeting, idea or important date should be written down. This can help ease the stress of needing to remember all of your commitments and to keep track of what you’ve already done and will soon accomplish. Have some fun with it by purchasing a planner or notebook that you can customize.

Apps that help productivity

Evernote

Gone are the days of needing to bring a notebook and pen to class. This app makes notetaking so simple. You can have separate notebooks for each class on your laptop and can access them from just about any device. This app also allows users to implement their own videos, pictures and to-do lists in each notebook free of charge. 

Headspace

After completing a big task, it’s important to reward yourself with a break and to take care of your mental health. With Headspace, users can complete a guided meditation straight from their phone. It’s also affordable with their subscription package being $10 per year for students. Some sessions include helping ease stress and anxiety or help users fall asleep. Once you’ve completed a meditation session, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to conquer the rest of your day. 

Toggl

We’ve all been there – You’re in the middle of a dreaded assignment and then next thing you know you’re on social media or looking at something completely unrelated to your work. Toggl can help track your internet and app usage during the time you should be doing work. This information can give you a helpful insight into how you’re spending your time and help you use it more efficiently. This app is available both online and on your phone. 

Taskful

This app will transform the way you keep a to-do list. With a colorful and simple interface, Taskful can help you complete everything you need to get done. It allows users to add subtasks to each entry and can keep track of your progress with a particular task. Like the app’s website says, “Whether you are trying to track your steps, drink more water or read that book you haven’t picked up in a while, Taskful is designed to help you get stuff done.”

Focus Keeper

Focus Keeper uses the Pomodoro Technique to keep you concentrated at the task at hand. The technique uses a timer to break up the time you use to work into intervals of 25 minutes that are then separated by short breaks. With this phone app, you can practice this method for just about any task by using the app’s customizable timer.  

Forest

Having trouble keeping off your phone while getting work done? By using Forest, you can kick the habit. The app rewards users who don’t pick up their phone with a virtual tree. The longer they leave their phone alone, the more each tree grows. The app has also teamed up with nonprofit organization Trees for the Future in Maryland that plants real trees in exchange for the virtual ones that the app users grow.

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About Alexis Guerra

Managing Editor