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6 Ways to Be Productive Without Actually Doing Work

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

We’ve all been there — it’s a dreary late afternoon, you’re tired from a long day of working (or not working, totally valid), and you just can’t bring yourself to do more. As the end-of-quarter-burnout looms, it can be hard to find the motivation to always stay on top of your assignments. Luckily for us, there are ways to remain productive even without doing schoolwork. 

  1. Clean your space

Whenever I want to feel productive without doing my homework, I do my laundry and tidy up my desk area. Tidying and simple house chores keep your hands rather than your brain busy, and provides a welcome change of pace from the mentally taxing grind of essays, problem sets, and other schoolwork. Along with freshening up your environment, cleaning up also helps to reduce stress, improve focus, and provide a sense of accomplishment. Plus, you can use this as an excuse to put up some cute new decorations in your space.

  1. Plan out your schedules

Whether this involves updating your Google calendar with next quarter’s classes or finalizing that doctor’s appointment you have coming up soon, planning out your upcoming tasks and events is a great way to get your life together. That way, you’ll be able to plan out how you’ll study for that final or be prepared for that big deadline. Think of it as an investment in your future productivity. 

  1. Read

Whether this be War and Peace or a juicy fanfiction on Ao3, reading has countless benefits, including providing relaxation and stress relief while still allowing you to stay mentally present. Plus, if you’re someone who hasn’t been able to read properly for months, it’s worth it to devote some time to getting back into reading. Check out our page if you’d like some book recommendations!

  1. Develop a skill or hobby

Whatever it might be, keeping up with a skill or hobby is undoubtedly motivating, rewarding and mentally stimulating. Even if it’s something deemed obscure or “impractical” like underwater basket-weaving or collecting bottle caps, it’s still productive because you’re putting in time and effort in order to get good at something. So, take this time to continue your Duolingo streak, practice your brush lettering, or keep on knitting that scarf you haven’t touched since Week 1. 

  1. Expand your knowledge base

Always wanted to learn more about fashion subcultures? Pre-Columbian fertility rituals? How the JonBenét Ramsey murder case became a national obsession? The attitudes of classical societies towards homosexuality? Now’s the perfect time to take a dive down a Wikipedia rabbit hole and learn about something new. While it doesn’t relate to the work that you technically should be doing, you’re still learning, and that’s what matters.

  1. Catch up with your loved ones

Your relationships with your friends and family are some of the most productive things you can maintain over the course of your life. So, take a few minutes to call your grandma or send a life update to an old friend — it’ll be a wonderful surprise for them, and a definite mood lifter for you. 

Good luck with finals and the rest of your quarter!

Alison Sun (she/her/hers) is a second-year Computer Science major (for now) at UCSC who tries her best to be a bright and sunny presence to those around her every day. When she's not toiling over Python, you can find her bullet journaling, rereading her favorite romance novels, or dancing to Twice's "Fancy" at her desk. If you're reading this, she would like to remind you to go drink some water.