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How to feel productive without doing school work

With final exams approaching, the collective productivity of college students across the country is at an all time high. If you’re like me, you enjoy the increase in productive study sessions because they leave you feeling accomplished. However, what are productivity enjoyers supposed to do when the semester ends, or when they need a break from academics but still want to be productive? 

There’s a common misconception that productivity is only associated with school and work, yet there are plenty of ways to be productive that don’t require opening a textbook: 

Take a self care day

Yes, self care can be productive! Set a day (or portion of a day) aside to focus on your well-being and complete any activities that will refresh your mind and body. Self care varies from person to person, so don’t resort to bath bombs and face masks if those aren’t your thing. Did you notice a part of campus you haven’t seen before? Go explore it! Did you find a book you want to read but haven’t had time? Read a few chapters! Taking some much-needed time to yourself is a productive task that will leave you feeling rejuvenated mentally and physically.

Explore a topic you find intriguing

While college provides room for academic exploration, sometimes there are interesting topics that don’t fit into our degrees. For example, I recently discovered my interest in paleontology, so every now and then I’ll head to the nearby Natural History Museum to learn about fossils. Take advantage of available resources- such as free online courses, local museums, and online research databases- to expand your knowledge on a topic you find interesting. Learning about something unrelated to your school work is a great way to stay productive and keep your brain active.

Change your setup

Academic productivity is hard to manage if you aren’t in an environment that supports your needs. To combat struggles tied to your environment, identify what changes you can make to the area you work or study in. Perhaps you can rearrange your room so that your desk is in front of the window, or change the notification settings on your electronics so you don’t grow distracted. If it works for your budget, consider buying accessories that will encourage you to be productive, such as a matching mouse and keyboard or a stand for your laptop. As we’ve established, it’s productive to take action that preserves your best interests!

Declutter your electronics

Feelings of disorganization can arise from using our electronics without us even realizing it. Delete unnecessary pictures, files, and apps. Unfollow accounts on social media that you don’t benefit from. Complete any other tasks that would make you feel at peace when on your phone or laptop. This can be a lengthy process, but you’ll feel productive by the time you’re done. 

Isabella is a junior at the University of Michigan majoring in neuroscience on a pre-med track. In addition to writing, her hobbies include bullet journalling, playing video games, and befriending the squirrels on campus.
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