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How to Get Out of a Winter Productivity Slump

As students, it’s no surprise we all lead very busy lives. Often it seems like time itself speeds up before we have a chance to catch our breath. We are now young adults with responsibilities, believe it or not, and stopping to re-assess our lives and productive habits can seem like an unnecessary and tedious task. However, while we're on this bullet train to graduation and hopefully fulfilling careers it’s important to reflect and consider changes you can bring into your daily life to boost your productivity and motivation. In this article, I will lay out some steps you can take to feel less overwhelmed while at the same time boosting your work habits to lead more of a successful academic life.

1. Take a breath

Often we feel overwhelmed with classes, money, and our social lives. Personally, it makes me want to shut down completely and wake up the day after I graduate. This is why it’s important to pause, breath, and relax. Yes, that’s right, the first step to being productive is to do nothing. Give in to your urges, take a nap, eat something yummy because you deserve it. It’s so important to give yourself a break even if you have a lot to do. If you rush into an assignment or project the work that will be done won’t be your best work.

Image Courtesy of Atul Vinayak

2. Reflect

Ask yourself, why are you feeling this way? Did you burn yourself out? Is there something going on in your personal life that you need to address? If not, consider going over your goals and re-affirming your commitment to them. For me, that means making a dream-board on my Pinterest account. Make sure you understand where your drive to succeed comes from. Is it money? Is it freedom? If you identify your values and how they tie into your goals, you will have an easier time staying motivated.

Image Courtesy of Cathryn Lavery

3. Re-Prioritize

If you find that despite re-centering on your goals you still can't find the motivation to work, consider re-prioritizing what your goals are. I learned from one of my favorite books The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson that instead of positioning your goals towards a certain outcome, plan them around a process that you are willing to go through to get to a certain goal. The goal itself is not worth it if you can't see the value of the struggle to achieve it. With that said, if you're struggling to stay motivated through the “process” you're currently in, you should take a hard look at your priorities. Ask yourself: what am I willing to put myself through in order to achieve something? If you can narrow that down, your focus and motivation will stay on track.

Image Courtesy of Kendall Lane

4. Don’t Cram Just Plan

Personally, I have a tendency to try to get everything on my to do list done as soon as possible, even if the deadlines for those tasks are not immediate. That mindset is a good way to burn yourself out. Cramming not only decreases the quality of our work but it also stresses us out. Creating a productivity plan is essential to the avoidance of this. Use Google calendar, a planner, or Trello to help you plan your day to day work schedule. As students, our lives are crammed full of deadlines and inward pressure to succeed. Trello is a program that can help you to designate tasks for certain days and the same thing goes for written planners. Google calendar will keep you on track and on time to meet deadlines and not miss important events. I prefer to use Trello and Google calendar because I tend to change up my to-do list quite often and consistently writing and crossing things out can be tedious.

Image Courtesy of STIL

5. Dress Up

We all have those days when we feel awkward, unlike ourselves, and unmotivated. Usually, when I have those days I’ve decided to stay in a giant sweatshirt and wear sweatpants. Not a great look, and while it’s totally okay to embrace your inner couch potato (sometimes),  it’s incredibly annoying and unproductive as a busy student. So, before attempting any kind of productive work, do yourself up first. You can interpret that any way you want to. For me, it means putting on a little makeup, some of my favorite lipstick, and a comfy but cute outfit. Believe it or not, this can do wonders to your mindset. Your outward appearance should reflect how you want your day to go, even if that means just putting on a little moisturizer on your face.

Image Courtesy of Amanda Dalbjörn

6. Re-Locate

The beginning of my fall quarter here at Drexel University I was able to be pretty productive in my dorm room from the comfort of my own bed or desk. Now I simply can't focus in that space. In fact, I decided to come to Starbucks to type out this article because I knew I would get it done faster here than in my dorm. Often times when we get stuck in a productivity rut it’s because we continuously drone through the same boring routines. Switch up your routine and move! Go to the library, a Starbucks, a Saxby’s, absolutely anything other than your dorm room. Not only will it do wonders to your productivity but it will also refresh your daily routines.

Image Courtesy of Christin Hume

I hope that these steps for leading a more productive life will help you just as much as they’ve helped me. Make sure to comment below any other tips you can think of that might help out other readers. Happy studying and remember that you are capable of achieving anything that you put your mind to.

I hope to create the best content I can through the mediums of writing and photography. I like writing about my travels and giving my opinions on the social issues that are relevant today. I'm wholeheartedly a feminist and I respect and admire the likes of Michelle Obama and Diane Von Furstenberg. My style inspiration comes from the places I travel to and the people around me. For me, style is not only a visual platform of creative expression, but it's a choice to make a statement about who I am and what I represent. Read my personal blog at https://www.wilderskies.blog/
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