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How to Turn Around an Unproductive Day in Five Steps

unproductive day

Studying, working or doing both whiles in college demands top-notch time management skills. It’s not every day that you can efficiently tackle what’s on your plate, especially when the lines have been blurred in a WFH situation. If staying focused on your schoolwork and other concerns have become an uphill struggle of late, check out the possible cures to an unproductive day.

Make a Top 3 Priority List

Cut down your to-do list to three items. The rule of three can be effective in setting your priorities and putting your energy where it’s most needed. The goal is to make your day less overwhelming and more workable.

Prioritizing also avoids multitasking. You need to shift gears when you move to another task and back, and doing so often results in being distracted and committing more mistakes.

Even when you spend the day doing the same thing, e.g., writing essays, you still expend the same attention and focus on each piece.

Do 20 Minutes Work Then 5-Minute Break

Instead of thinking that you have the whole day to finish a project, which can encourage procrastination, think that you only have a few hours to do it. Under that timeframe, work for 20 minutes and pause for five minutes, repeat until completion.

The core concepts behind working under a timer such as this are: (a) you are compelled to make the most of the allotted minutes and (b) you have to take breaks to rest your mind and body.

Standing or stretching helps prevent injuries that could occur when doing repetitive tasks. Try closing your eyes for a few minutes or gaze at the scenery outside.

Create the Right Atmosphere

Your workspace can be anywhere in the house, including your bed where you can type away in your pyjamas. Whatever this space may look or feel like, the most important thing is it where you can optimally and comfortably work.

  • Podcast or music. Putting on your favourite podcast or study playlist can block out background noise or serve as your white noise when it’s too quiet.
  • Physical environment. If you plan to create a home office, furnish it according to ergonomics and aesthetics.
  • Plants. Introduce indoor plants into your workspace to help improve your mood. Put them where they can thrive and not be distracting to the eyes.

Deal With Distractions

Distractions come in any form and size at any given time. Here are tips to combat the most common time sinks:

  • Social media: Try not to save your logins on your computer or keep your phone out of sight and only take it out when on a break.
  • Video games: Use them as a motivation to work faster, so you can play harder.
  • Emails: Designate time to check your emails, together with your social media for important messages, and respond to them in bulk.
  • Pets: Find them a corner to play in and be occupied while you’re doing your stuff.

Change Your Scenery

Take your books and laptop to a nearby park or coffee shop. The new environment breaks the monotony and excites the brain, which overall can help you be more productive.

Also prepare a survival kit to ward off distractions. This starter pack includes headphones, charging cables and battery pack, and snacks. Don’t forget your baby wipes and hand sanitiser

Final Thoughts

Be kind to yourself and take some time off when your workload becomes too much. Doing so helps you think and maintain your laser focus so that you can accomplish your goals and overcome a supposedly unproductive day.

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Aubrey i​s a writer and a regular contributor. She writes on topics on job searching and career development in hopes to provide better tips on job hunting and career development.

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