10 Ways to Feel Productive, Even if You're Wasting Time


Senioritis is 100% real. I used to joke about having it as a freshman—talk about karma… Honestly, I’m currently writing this rather than translating Old English… whoops. Procrastination is just so easy to do, especially when due dates are piling up.  Today, I made two separate to-do lists, neither of which were completed—and, this leads to my first suggestion:


  1. Make to-do lists! Why? They make you feel productive, especially when you get to cross a satisfying X in the box. Plus, when you become overwhelmed, it’s often difficult to focus, but when you list out everything you need to do, it can be a lot easier to manage. It’s a reward system for your motivation, even if the only boxes you’ve checked off include “eating” and “20 minute nap”.
  2. “It’s Friday, you ain’t got no job…” so start filling out those dreaded applications! At this point, summer employment is equally as necessary as me writing a paper that will be arbitrarily graded. They can be tedious, but they’re definitely worth the $$. Also if you haven’t seen the movie Friday…
  3. So yeah, while you’re filling out those job applications, you should give this movie a watch if you’ve never seen it. Young Ice Cube and Chris Tucker partaking in illegal activities on a Friday afternoon. Just watch it, I’m sure its better than what you have to do anyway, and the soundtrack is awesome.
  4. To go to the library or to stay home? We all know that if you have to ask yourself that, the chances of making moves to PBJ are as slim as finding a parking spot on campus. I say stay home! It may take you 3 extra hours to read that article, but at least you can do your laundry, clean your place, or if you’re really invested you can deep clean your whole house (warning: this happens every time I stay home now).
  5. Buy toilet paper and beer at the same time. Okay, I know it sounds weird… but I have to thank my ingenious friends for this trick. It’s the weekend, you’re definitely not going to Kroger because you’ll order in, but you’re out of toilet paper—Oh no! No fear, kill 2 birds with one stone at mini-mart and buy both! Cuts down on time, and potentially saves you money if you walk—seems productive to me.
  6. Exercise! Not only is it proven that working out and exercising improves brain function, but its good for YOU! When I’m not being productive with my work, it can feel even more frustrating the harder it becomes to think. I’m not saying you should go lift weights, but even 20 minutes of walking or jogging can help clear your brain and actually improve your productivity where you need it most.
  7. I get it—sometimes we’re actually too busy to go to the gym. I mean, you gotta change, get over there (hopefully when it’s not packed with football players), and scout out a machine… oh and actually workout. Just get a quick sesh in all at home—check out the NY Times Scientific 7 Minute workout: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/the-scientific-7-minute-workout/?_r=0 If working out gives you the energy you need to get your work done, but you’re pinched for time, you can do this all in your bedroom—and honestly, it got my heart rate up, and allowed me to tell myself the rest of the day “I worked out”. 
  8. Delete… Facebook! Okay, so probably not completely… but, this past summer I had no storage on my phone, so I chose to delete the FB app. I like to think I don’t spend a lot of time on FB, but its really inevitable. It’s so easy to open up and scroll mindlessly through for minutes… or hours. I guess out of sight out of mind truly works, because I find myself forgetting about FB for days at a time if I haven’t used my computer. It doesn’t have to be FB, but giving yourself a break from social media actually helps you be more productive, and I feel it instills a little bit of adult self control in me.
  9. Since we’re deleting stuff, how about the 50 emails I get everyday from online shopping? If I’m doing nothing productive at all, I like to go through and make myself unsubscribe to a few sites. It’s on everyone’s mind, but the idea of unsubscribing from the masses is super overwhelming. Take it a few annoying subscriptions at a time! It’s a nice feeling to know you’re slowly chipping away at something, even though you know your inbox will never be clutter free.
  10. Tackle those syllabi! Every Sunday night (when I’m avoiding doing all of my work for Monday) I feel super productive if I take out my planner and write down all my assignments for the week. It’s a nice way to step back and see that its not that awful, and you can do it, one day at a time. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but at least you’ve written down something.