A Guide to Being Productive in Your Own Way

Edited by: Nishtha Jaiswal (ASP 2019)

All photographs have been retrieved from Unsplash.com

Productivity is about making the most of your time. While academics and career-oriented goals are extremely essential in our lives, productivity can be aimed for in other aspects of life as well. We have seen tons of ways to increase productivity by perfectionists on the internet which seem spectacular, yet almost impossible to achieve. Being a slightly (if not a very) lazy person myself, I admit these have never worked for me. However, as I transitioned from high school to college, I realised I really needed to work on ways to increase my productivity. The honest truth is this did not happen in one day where a sudden epiphany just came to me. It took me a long while to realise this and even longer to come up with solutions. Having lived through these experiences as a not-so-perfect person myself, I can confidently say these tips have worked and still continue working for me.

 

The first thing to do is recognize the root of your unproductiveness. Is it because you are not interested in what you are doing? Is it because the workload seems too much for you? Is it because you have too much on your plate? The next thing to do is figure out previously tested productivity solutions which have not worked for you in the past. Tweak them to see if they do work for you. Or just accept this is not meant for you and move along. For example, I have seen my friends being very productive with music playing in the background or in a room with a bunch of people talking and doing their own stuff. I tried this and failed multiple times. This is when I realised I needed complete silence to concentrate.

 

Another useful tip for me was to realise how much time I had been wasting doing things I did not value for productivity. I was spending way too much time looking at my phone and watching shows. I then made time slots to finish a certain amount of work and only then allowed myself to check my phone. I also came up with a system where I would reward myself with one episode after working for a certain amount of time. I also figured out the things I truly cherished. This was more in a non-academic sense. I really like reading books and writing. But ever since I came to college, I was falling short on reading and writing for non-academic purposes. Even if I completed my coursework, I spent my free time scrolling through social media. I enjoyed reading and writing and I realised I was sacrificing this enjoyment of mine for something which was not productive nor really enjoyable to me. I am now trying to do things I enjoy more often.

There are a lot of other straightforward tips one may find from listicles online that have been useful to many, such as time management, avoiding  social media, taking small breaks. But the most important thing that I have realised is that you must first define what productivity means to you. Only then can you think of what will work for you. This article is not so much a list of tips that are guaranteed to work but more like a guide to discovering what works best for you and to applying that to your life.