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So, the end of the semester has you feeling unmotivated and aching for a much-needed break? Fear not, for you are not alone! University has taught me a lot about time management and staying productive, but Zoom University threw me a massive curve-ball last semester. Here are some time management and productivity tips that I have learned from my experience with online courses and finals that may help you!

Create a designated study space

Although this may sound obvious, there is a massive temptation for all of us to do classes, do our homework and basically live from our bed. By creating a separate study space, even if it is just a designated end of your dining room table, your body and mind will be much more keen to work effectively when it is meant to work and sleep well when it is meant to sleep!

Set a timer for breaks

Many studies have shown that most people are unable to stay continuously productive in an effective manner without taking a break. To prevent yourself from taking too many or too few breaks, opt to set a time for 45-50 minutes of “on-time” where you are working non-stop, then take a 10-15 minute break. This will not only increase your productivity, but it also gives your body some regularity and a routine.

Plan your daily tasks

Some people swear by planning their day down to 10-minute increments; while for some this may be highly effective, for others it is simply not feasible. Instead, either at the end of the previous workday or the beginning of each day, write out specifically what tasks you need to complete and approximately how much time you will need for each task. When doing this, also include any non-academic or work activities. By doing this, you will be able to see how your day could be blocked out so that a lunch break will not fall in the middle of a task, but instead between two tasks, and so on.

Incentivize

My favorite thing to do is incentivize myself with fun activities throughout the day so that if I complete all of my tasks by a certain time, I get to do something fun. My favorite COVID-friendly incentive activities are watching a movie, baking and FaceTiming friends. However, it is important to remember, do not incentivize yourself with essential things like a meal or fluids. You deserve to eat a good amount of food every day regardless of how “productive” or not you are.

Sleep!

This is no joke, your body needs sleep more than anything else. Although your day may seem overwhelming, an adequate quantity of sleep, 7-9 hours, will help you be more productive during the day and produce better work.

I hope that you have learned a tip or two for how to improve your finals week this semester! Although this one is not the in-person, communal hoorah we are craving, you have got this. You are going to do great on your finals and we will get through this!

MaryCate (she/her/hers) is a Senior International Studies major with a concentration in the Environment & Development and minors in African Studies and French Studies at the University of San Francisco. MaryCate is Campus Correspondent of HC at USFCA. She loves traveling, baking and all things related to coffee. While in San Francisco, you can find MaryCate getting brunch with her friends or indoor rock climbing in the Presidio. While not in San Francisco, MaryCate is frequently passing time at home with her parents in France or traveling anywhere, when safe.
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