How to Get Your Life Together: 12 Steps to Productivity

Gone are the days of your mom reminding you to submit your college essay and teachers handing out study guides weeks before a test. Suddenly you’re being thrown into independence and plagued with the never-ending feeling that there’s something you forgot to do, like sleep or eat dinner. First of all, know that you’re not alone in feeling like your life is constantly in shambles—that’s pretty much how you’ll feel for the next four years, so get used to it. Second, there are steps you can take to be more organized and productive, so you won’t feel like you’re drowning all the time.

1. Figure out an organization system that works for you. Whether it’s keeping a giant white-board calendar above your desk, creating an elaborate, bullet journal-style planner, or simply keeping a to-do list with you at all times, figure out what is most effective in helping you keep track of your every day tasks and goals.  

2. Get a planner. Although they may not be for everybody, planners are an incredible way to jot down important due dates or meeting times so you can visualize what the week will hold for you.

3. Try bullet journaling. After starting my bullet journal this summer, I cannot say enough positive things about this system. It allows you to completely invent whatever your perfect planner involves from the bottom up. Personally, I love the artistic element of it, as it allows me to doodle, write, and be creative with my format each week, while keeping all of my thoughts and plans in one space. Check out the official website to learn more!

Courtesy: Greta Schledorn

4. Use your phone. It’s 2016, I know you have your phone with you at all times, so why not put it to good use? There are so many apps available to help with productivity. Planner Pro is a free app that combines tasks, events, and notes in one place so users can consolidate. Likewise, try setting reminders on your phone a few hours before an assignment is due so you won’t forget to submit it.

5. Invest in a backpack that you love. By finding a backpack with components that work for you and your needs, all of your supplies will be readily accessible to you throughout the day. Having a specified place for everything will save you time in the long run, and you won’t be stressed while searching for that homework you misplaced.

Courtesy: Greta Schledorn

6. Take time every morning to create realistic to-do lists. Try focusing on three important items in order to make your day feel more manageable. At the end of your day, look over this list and see what you’ve accomplished, and what you still need to get done throughout the week.  

7. Set earlier deadlines for yourself. This will reduce stress and allow you plenty of time to check your work and make necessary changes. If a paper is due Monday, try completing most of it by Friday afternoon, so you can enjoy your weekend and only spend a few hours perfecting your work.

8. Take regular breaks. When studying or working on an assignment, be sure to take regular breaks to rest your brain and refuel your body. Grab a snack, stand up and do some stretches, or listen to music to keep yourself energized and sane.

9. Get enough sleep. It’s hard, but going to bed and waking up at the same time (even when you don’t need to) improves performance significantly. Aim for getting 7-9 hours of sleep each day and you’ll experience a variety of benefits, like improved memory and creativity.

10. Take advantage of your down time. Even if you only have a 15 minute break between classes, that’s plenty of time to write an email or look over your notes for an upcoming class.

11. Find or create an enjoyable study environment (that isn’t your bed). Florida State’s libraries, Dirac and Strozier, are great places to go in between classes to grab some coffee and buckle down and study. Other great places include the many coffee shops of Tallahassee, like Catalina, Black Dog, or The Sweet Shop. If you prefer studying at home, make sure you rid your desk of any clutter or distractions so you can focus more easily. Avoid studying in bed at all costs, as this can negatively influence both your productivity and your sleeping habits.

Courtesy: Greta Schledorn

 12. Leave time for doing what you love, and reward yourself.  Whether it’s playing an instrument, going to a yoga class or going out with friends, make sure you leave time for yourself. At the end of the day, your experiences and the people you surround yourself with shape you. Prioritize your mental health and remember that a balanced lifestyle is key in succeeding in college.