Ways to Maximize Your Productivity During Dead Week

After the chaos that was the end of Fall quarter, I was wrong in thinking that losing a week for this quarter would not make a difference. It’s crazy because we’re almost at the end and I’m sure we’re all ready for a fun and relaxing Spring break (without having any finals to study for this time). But don’t let daydreaming about tanning on the beach distract you too much just yet. Even when it matters the most, people struggle to be productive and get done what they need to do. But don’t get discouraged. Even with a busy schedule, it’s possible to have a productive dead week to help finish the quarter strong.

Eat Healthy Foods

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Sometimes we focus so much on going to class, making sports practice, and hanging out with our friends that we forget to take care of ourselves. Getting enough food throughout the day, especially nutritious fruits and veggies, are crucial if you want to have the energy you need to tackle your busy schedule. Prior research also suggests that snacking on brain food as you study like blueberries or walnuts helps boost memory and focus.

Drink water

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Just as important if not more important than eating is to make sure you drink enough water. Drinking water helps us stay energized, relieve headaches, and helps boost our immune system so we don’t get sick. Nothing is worse than getting sick right before an exam, so do yourself a favor and drink some water right now!

Set Study Goals

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To be as productive as we can, it’s important to set specific goals ahead of time for what we want to accomplish. For instance, you can plant to read at least one a night chapter for your Theories of Communication class and write at least half a page a day for your English paper. Having specific smaller goals instead of focusing on the larger overarching tasks will not only make life easier for you but put way less stress on yourself to get things done in the time you want.

Reward Yourself

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Our own health and mental well-being should be prioritized over anything we do. As we push ourselves to study hard and get our work done during dead week, it’s important to treat ourselves for accomplishing our tasks. By giving ourselves little rewards every day for the achievements we’ve made, it’s easier to stay motivated and positive. On the other hand, not rewarding yourself can make you more irritable and unable to concrete as well. So take a break from studying every once and a while to enjoy some me-time - whether that’s soaking in a nice warm bath, eating a yummy snack, or watching an episode of your favorite show.

Delete Social Media Apps

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A helpful tip that I learned from a friend was to delete my social media apps if I really wanted to focus. My first thoughts on hearing this were that it sounded a bit excessive. However, as time went on, I realized how much I was actually checking my phone while studying. I’ve wasted so much time opening my apps and I just couldn’t control it with them being right at my fingertips. Deleting my apps was extremely effective for me because whenever I was tempted to check it as I studied, I couldn’t. Instead of going through the effort of re-downloading the app, I just went back to studying like I was supposed to.

Find Study Habits That Work Best For You

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There is no right or wrong way to study, as long as it’s the best method for you. Everyone has their own preferences and different things work best for different people. If you’re finding that studying with your friends is too distracting, try studying on your own instead. If you can’t focus in a super noisy environment like a coffee shop, try moving to a quieter area. Personally, I found the Art and Architecture room in Davidson Library to be an awesome place to study because of all the space, large tables, and comfy chairs. It also was not too noisy or too quiet there either.

To be the most prepared we can be after dead week, it’s important to not only find the balance between studying and extra-curricular activities but to avoid wasting time with doing unproductive things. Having a positive attitude and being open to trying different things can make all the difference in the world for how successful you'll be in preparing for finals.