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7 Tips for Staying Productive – Even When the Sun is Out

Spring is finally upon us! The sun is shining through the clouds, and temperatures are rising—but our tolerance for late study nights and hours of paper writing is dwindling. Staying focused on school during the springtime can be extremely hard for many of us, especially after this brutal winter. The outdoors and Memorial Union Terrace are calling! BUT, keep those grades solid and your mood soaring with these tips and tricks on how to stay productive during these warmer months

Study somewhere with lots of windows

Struggling to get through that problem set or paper because you’d rather be outside? Head to a study spot with lots of windows! Though you’re not exactly outside, you’ll feel the sunshine on your face and see the greenery through the glass to keep you motivated. Some of my favorites include Memorial Union, the Student Activity Center, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Education Building on Bascom.

Get active and get outside!

Even with piles of homework, getting active is a great way to take a break and recharge, and though it can be hard to get motivated to do, it’s usually worth it. Plus, what better way to get outside than burning a few calories and generating some endorphins! I promise you’ll feel refreshed and ready to get to work after.

Wake up early & do the thing you’re dreading the most first

Use the sun to your advantage and let it wake you up! Waking up with the sun is one of the best feelings; plus, it’ll help you make the most of your day. If you have something you’re dreading to do, it might be a good idea to get started on it early in the day – that way you’re not dreading it the entire day and you can do your easier assignments in a more relaxed state of mind.

Pack lots of snacks

Gearing up for a day at the library? Don’t forget your snacks! Having satisfying, delicious and healthy snacks are essential to getting through a day full of schoolwork. Grab a few pieces of string cheese, an apple, some crackers or any of these suggestions– they’ll keep you happy and satisfied throughout your entire day of studying.

Make to-do lists & set daily goals

One of the best ways to make the most of your time is by making lists and setting goals! Grab the best notebook you have and your favorite pen, and jot down what you need to get done for the day. Personally, I make sure to be realistic about my to-do lists – it’s important to set feasible goals so that your list isn’t overwhelming but keeps you on task & busy for the day.

Take breaks!

Taking a quick study break is so important but can be hard to convince ourselves to do when schoolwork feels so pressing. But, taking a quick breather that’ll allow your mind to recharge is crucial to being as productive as possible. Plus, it gives you a chance to get outside and enjoy the sun!  Check out 63 ways to take a study break here!

Walk to your classes instead of taking the bus

Finally, my favorite way to make the most of sunny days when I’m incredibly busy is making a conscious effort to walk almost everywhere. Though it’s easy to hop on the bus to get across campus, if you have the extra 10 minutes, consider putting some headphones in and walking to your next class or meeting! You’ll get some extra vitamin D and a relaxing, built-in study break.

If you’re struggling to stay focused during the last few weeks of the spring semester, try some of these tips & tricks to stay productive! With any of these ideas, you’re sure to find a good balance of sunshine time, you time, and study time. You got this!

Cate Wilkinson

Wisconsin '20

Cate graduated from UW - Madison in May 2020 with a degree in Microbiology with a certificate in French. She is very passionate about health, wellness, sustainability and communication about these topics!