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One of the biggest things I’ve been struggling with lately has been my productivity as a student. Although I have been making progress and working hard, it’s been feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to accomplish everything I want to do for that day.

With online learning, difficult coursework and graduate school applications coming up, I’ve been looking for ways and trying different tactics to be more productive with my time! The following are my top five that have helped me:

Figure Out When You Are Most Productive

One of the most important things I did when entering college was take the time to learn and see at what time(s) I’m at my peak productivity. Through trial and error, I found that I personally am at my most productive earlier in the morning (before lunch).

This is why whenever I have bigger and more challenging tasks to get done, I always make sure to wake up early in the morning in order to get as much work done as possible.

Furthermore, I realized that I am not able to be productive past midnight, so even when I’m working on busy work for classes, I try not to do anything past that time because I know I won’t be able to be as efficient with my work. 

Limit Multitasking

Although it’s hard not to multitask, it is known to be an inefficient way to accomplish tasks. I really try not to multitask unless I’m doing something that isn’t that important or isn’t due for a while. But essentially, if your goal is to be super productive and efficient with your time, you should really consider decreasing how much you multitask. Given that we have a finite amount of focus, it is rather inefficient to split it between tasks, especially if you want to get more done in that same amount of time.

Find a Way to be Active Every Day

Before the pandemic, I never really had to think much about this. But ever since everything became distanced and virtual, I haven’t been going out as much (with good reason). One thing that really helped me boost productivity and energy levels is by making sure to take a walk outside (with a mask, of course!) for at least half an hour. When I was at home, I always went walking with my dog, Robin, but now that I’m on campus, I make it a point to go on daily walks with my roommates so that we can take a meaningful break from our hectic lives.  

Plan Things Out the Night Before

Ever since I was in high school, I’ve made it a habit to spend time thinking about what I need to get done the next day. I always organize a checklist, which helps me almost map out what I want to accomplish that next day.

This way I also go to bed with the feeling that I’m ready to take on the tasks of the next day, which in turn makes me more productive the next day because I don’t have to spend time thinking about all the things I have to do that day. Instead, I can immediately get to work. 

Get 7-9 Hours of Sleep Per Night
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As a pre-medical student, I’ve learned the biology and psychology behind why it’s important to get a good night’s rest. Furthermore, I feel the effects of being sleep-deprived myself when I am feeling especially stressed or anxious. I always wake up the next morning with a splitting headache and am very unproductive for the remainder of the day unless I am able to compensate for that lack of sleep with a nap.

We are in the part of the semester where things start to get rough from here on out. Hopefully, though, with these tips, we can all be more productive with our time!

Rishitha is a senior at VCU majoring in Bioinformatics, while on the pre-medical track. When she isn't in classes, she loves to binge-watch sitcoms, cook, bake, and spend time with her friends and family! In her future, she hopes to become a physician and make meaningful impacts on patients' lives!
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