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Setting Yourself Up For Success: 10 Tips For A Productive Fall Quarter

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

After a long and lazy summer, getting back into the swing of schoolwork and the academic year is always a daunting task. Combatting procrastination poses a formidable challenge, especially following the idleness of summer’s conclusion. I always find fall quarter to be the most difficult to get back on track for a successful academic year, as I am constantly relearning study habits, getting back into a studious mindset and perfecting the delicate balancing act of school, work, social life and self-care.

To set yourself up for a productive fall quarter, I have compiled a list of strategies that help me to stay successful:

Set up google calendar (my saving grace)

I use Google Calendar for everything: my class schedule, meetings, clubs and even dinners with friends. Google Calendar keeps my life totally organized and keeps me from forgetting things that I have to do. On top of that, I also include important deadlines in my calendar to keep on top of my schoolwork.

Aside from Google Calendar, I also have a to-do list (I use Todoist) in the toolbar of my laptop that I use to keep track of individual assignments. A planner also works if you’re someone who prefers to physically write things out; however, I personally would recommend Google Calendar because it’s easy to add and edit on the go.

Organize your time

Organizing my time is another way that I keep myself productive during study sessions. To use my time most efficiently, I take 10-15 minutes at the beginning of each work session to plan out my agenda. I look at the assignments that I need to complete as well as due dates for larger projects in order to quickly list and organize the most pertinent things that I need to get done. This helps me to not waste study time and to keep me on task instead of constantly switching between assignments.

Study somewhere pretty

A pretty study spot is essential for me to be productive. I’m not someone who can successfully get much done doing work in my room; instead, I need to go somewhere to study. I love studying in pretty places on campus such as by the windows in Kerckhoff, outside or even at a coffee shop in Westwood.

Designating a certain place to study allows me to stay on task when I’m there and not get as distracted. A place with a picturesque view makes studying much less of a strain!

Put down your phone

Okay, I hate to be a hypocrite with this one, but putting your phone on Do Not Disturb, turning it off and putting it away is extremely helpful to being productive. Whether it be in class, doing homework or studying, putting my phone away allows me to be way more productive and take significantly less time to complete my assignments. This is something that I constantly have to remind myself of as someone who is easily distracted by my phone, but I urge you to put the phone away while you’re studying to keep yourself focused and on task.

Have a group study session

This one might be controversial, but I love studying with my friends. Although your friends can sometimes be a distraction, they can also encourage you to be productive and spend your time wisely.

Group study sessions designate a particular time to get work done and motivate me to be as productive as I can during that time. Friends also push me to focus and finish my work faster so I have time to talk with them after.

Listen while you work

This might not work for everyone, but listening to something while studying helps me to tune out other possible distractions. Not everyone can listen to music while studying, but I often play instrumental versions of songs. I even listen to white or pink noise to tune out the background noise of my surroundings.

take breaks

Taking breaks is essential for my productivity. It’s extremely difficult to stay on task for long periods of time without any breaks and I find that studying for too long without breaks often fatigues me more quickly. Building small breaks into your study sessions helps to give your brain a rest and refocus your attention.


Sleep is so important to staying productive. Trust me, it is not worth it to stay up all night studying for a midterm or final just to take it the next day on two hours of sleep. Sleeping gives both your body and your brain a much-needed break and it provides you with the energy that you need to stay productive.

stay consistent

I struggle with burnout every quarter no matter how productively I begin it. Consistency is key for these study tips to last you throughout this fall quarter. It will help you stay on top of your work instead of falling behind!

take time for yourself

Lastly, I must note that academic success is not the only way that you can be productive. A productive fall quarter for me includes time with friends, time for myself and time doing things that I love. So, I urge you not to delegate all of your time to studying and to factor in spending time outdoors, with friends and family, reading, doing yoga and allocating time for any and all other hobbies you have.

These were my best tips to having a productive fall quarter. It’s key to develop good study habits now so that you can carry this productive momentum throughout the rest of the year. I wish you all the best of luck for the school year ahead!

Nicole is a third-year student at UCLA from Plymouth, Massachusetts pursuing an International Development Studies major and Global Health minor. She loves the beach, hiking, traveling, and coffee.