By DeVry University
Today’s fast-paced world allows us to have a wide variety of goals along with many unique ways to work toward them. And while all of these great opportunities are undoubtedly a positive aspect of our modern lives, having this many options and responsibilities can also leave you feeling very busy.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time employees work an average of 8.5 hours on weekdays and 5.4 hours on weekend days. Add school, leisure activities and household responsibilities to those days and you can see how your time can quickly be in short supply.
We know today’s college students have big goals – along with big plans for achieving them. That’s why we put together this quick list of productivity tips to help you overcome procrastination, become more efficient and balance your week so you can get on track toward accomplishing your many personal and professional goals.
1. Master the Art of Meal Planning
One of the most effective strategies for balancing your home, work and school life is to prepare your meals ahead of time. The concept of “decision fatigue” refers to our limited abilities to make multiple important decisions throughout the day. So, why not slash one item off your decision-making list by planning out what to eat? This gives you one less thing to worry about when you’re working or studying and clears brain space for new concepts.
Meal planning for beginners starts with choosing healthy foods that you enjoy and preparing five servings over the weekend. Put these servings in containers for each weekday so that you can quickly access and enjoy your meals without spending more time on food prep.
2. Give Yourself a Bedtime
When we set a regular bedtime for ourselves, we usually get to bed earlier than we otherwise would and accumulate more hours of sleep on average per night. The better rested you are the next day, the better you will be able to make critical decisions and multitask.
3. Learn to Delegate Tasks
If there is too much on your plate, don’t be afraid to assign tasks to others. One of the key distinctions that can set apart leaders is their ability to confidently delegate tasks and responsibilities to other members of the team. Consider passing off some tasks to an intern at your workplace or even delegating household chores to other members of your family.
4. Cut Back on Your Meetings
Meetings can do wonders for a team’s productivity, but many of them are unnecessary. Often, a team meeting can be replaced with a group email debriefing an assignment or providing an update. For the best of both worlds, short video calls or status updates can be another quick way to eliminate multiple meetings.
5. Don’t Dwell on Tasks
If you’re a chronic procrastinator, don’t let yourself dwell on tasks where you aren’t making progress. There’s no use in staring aimlessly at an empty page or a blank computer screen—instead, move on to another task and return to the prior task with a fresh set of eyes and a renewed drive.
6. Schedule Your Email Checks
It’s important that we check our email inbox throughout the day. However, obsessively checking our inboxes can become a serious time sink that can interrupt our productivity. One of the best productivity tips we can give is to schedule recurring email checks every hour or two. This way, you won’t be tempted to stray from your task every 10 minutes.
7. Master Your Mornings
It’s often said that if you win the morning, you will win the day. Taking small steps toward developing good morning routines will allow you to feel satisfied throughout your workday and the momentum will likely carry forward into your afternoons and evenings. Within the first hour of your day, consider incorporating some of the following healthy, productive habits:
- Gratitude journaling.
- Making your bed.
- Writing down 3 daily goals.
- Cooking a healthy breakfast.
- Light exercise or meditation.
- Leverage proven productivity techniques.
8. Become a More Efficient Student, Family Member and Employee
Students lead busy and exciting lives. Feeling busy can often drive you to put off important tasks or to become overly stressed. Making small changes in your day to day life – from cutting back on unnecessary tasks to creating good morning routines – can help you stay on top of your goals while maximizing your free time.