Make This Your Most Productive Semester Yet

The start of a new semester is a great time to get organized and improve your time management skills.  As a creative person, productivity and organizational skills are not exactly my strong suit. Balancing growing responsibilities like work, classes, internships and assignments/projects can sometimes be a struggle. Here are some tips to help you have a productive semester and meet your different goals.

  1. Use a planner instead of random scraps of paper or blank spots in a notebook. This may seem obvious but a planner can be helpful and keep you organized. Previously, I used pieces of paper and then would lose track of assignments and due dates. It is much easier to have everything in one place. You could try to color coordinate with pens or highlighters or organize your tasks into different categories to find what works for you.

  2. Dedicate specific times when you are going to respond to emails and messages a few times a day rather than continuously checking and getting sidetracked.

  3. Jump into the tasks you dislike the most. Procrastination becomes a mind game when you want to avoid certain tasks. You're better off just getting it done.

  4. Put all your easier tasks together and do them while setting a timer to keep yourself on track.

  5. Be realistic in how long some assignments will take. Don’t get discouraged if it takes longer than you thought.

  6. A lot of people tend to get tired on the middle of the day, including myself. Exercise is a good way to wake yourself up so that you have more energy to complete your tasks.

  7. Do work outside of your dorm or apartment. Whether you do work at school or at a café, doing your work out somewhere helps a lot with many people’s assignments because you are planning specifically to finish a task. At home it is easy to get distracted and procrastinate even if you just say it’s only for twenty minutes, in reality you usually procrastinate longer.

  8. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep. When you have more energy and a clear mind you will be more efficient.

  9. Figure out if you are a night or a morning person and what hours you are most productive. Depending on your class schedule, if it is right when you wake up, then plan to do some work before class or if it is sometime in the middle of the day then plan time to work in between classes

  10. As a creative person, having structure in my life is important and helpful. Creating a routine and planning your schedule will keep you on track.

  11. Take 20 minutes at the end of the day to do something you love because doing that will help you feel good and remember the day in a positive light.

  12. Work, but make sure to give yourself time to play, take a break and de-stress during the day.

  13. Don’t run in circles, be smart and efficient. Short assignments will take less time to complete, while longer assignments or projects will require more planning and may need to be accomplished over the course of a few days.

  14. Think about your design projects for a few days before doing them. Let your ideas marinate, make a plan and then complete your projects. The idea stage is very important, while allowing time to figure out how to complete your projects. Part of learning is also having to make changes or adjustments while completing projects. Have your design projects a few days to think about before executing them. Let your ideas marinate and then do it and make a plan.

  15. Keep track of bad habits that are time suckers. Recognize the patterns and avoid them.

  16. Journal to get your thoughts out and clear your head.

  17. Set a timer on projects to make yourself have a set time to complete tasks. Sometimes working with a time limit is better for some people making them think better or work more efficiently. Sometimes you may need more time, that’s ok, but it gives you an idea of how much time you should spent on some tasks.

Hopefully these tips help this semester be your most productive yet!