Top 6 Productivity Hacks for College Students

Top 6 Productivity Hacks for College Students

  • Distractions can put a major strain on your ability to get essential tasks done.
  • Exhaustion and burnout keep students off task, and the pandemic has made things worse.
  • To stay focused, use time-management techniques and work at your peak performance time.

College students have always faced major demands and distractions, from work and social lives, to sports and extracurricular activities. But the COVID-19 pandemic has increased these strains — and added more — when it comes to students’ abilities to focus and be productive.

According to the American Psychological Association, 80-95% of college students put off work. Other factors contributing to decreased productivity among college students are burnout and exhaustion and financial strain (such as pandemic-related job loss, limited resources, and trying to balance schoolwork with making enough money to cover expenses).

The coronavirus outbreak has made matters worse, with the sudden switch to remote learning posing challenges for many students. In a recent survey, around three-fourths of students said online learning was harder than in-person learning, citing an inability to stay motivated as a key issue.

Some college students have returned home to their families, increasing the likelihood of distractions from younger siblings and parents who might be schooling and working from home.

Despite these hurdles, college students can make use of an array of productivity hacks to keep them focused, positive, and motivated in school.

The 6 Best Productivity Tips for College Students

Use the Pomodoro Technique

This popular technique can work for anyone who wants to maximize their productivity by turning tasks into a sort of game with short spurts of focused time. The strategy is named after the kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (pomodoro in Italian) that its developer, Francesco Cirillo, used to help him complete his work.

The time-management tool includes these steps:

If any tasks require more than four 25-minute chunks of time, they should be divided into smaller, actionable steps. Any tasks that can be completed in less than 25 minutes — such as paying rent or making a doctor’s appointment — should be grouped together.

With this method, it’s also important to track your distractions and interruptions and come up with ways to avoid them in the future.

Switch Up Your Study Environment

It’s easy to become a creature of habit as a college student, with scheduled classes keeping you tied to a set routine. While this can feel comfortable, sometimes our brains and bodies need a change of scenery.

Some people enjoy studying in quiet spaces without a lot of noise and distractions, while others thrive off constant sound and interaction. It’s critical that you find a study environment that helps you stay on task.

While at school or home, you can try switching up your location, such as trying the living room or patio. Other campus spots, such as a quiet space outdoors or the library, can work as well. If you’re in a metropolitan area, you likely have access to various coffee shops with Wi-Fi.

And remember: No matter your surroundings, the right lighting is critical to sustaining productivity.

Stop Browsing Websites as You Study

For many students, the biggest time distraction and productivity killer is casual website browsing. We’ve all been there — in the midst of studying, we spot a news article or a tweet that leads to another. Before long, an hour has been wasted away from the task at hand.

Research shows that the average person spends over two hours on social media each day.

One tip is to try to use social media as a reward for completing tasks. Another strategy you can use to help you avoid wasting time online is to install website blockers like StayFocusd.

Productivity Hacks Can Improve the College Experience

Staying on task and motivated to improve your productivity isn’t easy in a world full of demands and distractions, especially when you’re in college. The stresses of everyday life and increased worries during the COVID-19 pandemic have made productivity all the more challenging.

But with the tips above and a little effort, you can tailor your needs, personality, and habits to start living a more productive life.

Feature Image: Marc Romanelli / Getty Images

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