We’re halfway through the first quarter, and work is piling up fast. On top of the tests, worksheets, and readings, extracurriculars are underway. It’s no wonder IMSA students burn the late night oil finishing up assignments, but this can change. Have you ever wanted to finish all of your work, study for tests, and participate in multiple clubs while going to sleep at a reasonable time? Then this is the article for you. Here are 5 tips to help you be an assignment-killing (I mean, completing) machine.
- Before doing work, get in the zone
Create an environment that will get you energized and motivated to finish stuff, whether it is sitting in the library or turning the temperature of your room down. Find the time of the day when you are most productive, and take advantage of it. Allocate specific times for studying. Turn off that phone, and block those social media websites. Set a timer for breaks, and prepare brain food for snacks.
- Trick your mind
We all procrastinate on that one task we’re supposed to be doing by doing something else. For example, instead of writing your essay rough draft for English, you surf Youtube. Instead of practicing that speech, you scroll through Facebook. You push these big priorities away to be done at a later time by working on something else.
Instead of avoiding that one big task by doing a mindless activity, finish some easier homework first. This is called positive procrastination. So when you are too lazy to start that project, complete that math worksheet first. This will, to some extent, convince your mind to start working.
- Use the 80/20 rule
Using the 80/20 rule means 80 percent of your total output will come from 20 percent of what you do. Certain key assignments will constitute most of your output. For example, if you have ten assignments you have to do and only complete 2 of those by the time you go to bed, those two assignments will constitute as 80% of your output. Use this rule to prioritize your work. Focus on the activities that will produce greater results.
For more information of the 80/20 rule, read this article: http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/397/80-20-rule-pareto-principle/
- Don’t succumb to distractions
You can never escape distractions. The distraction monster may be in the form of notifications or games. When you are in the middle of your work, and you feel the urge to veer off task, do not outright stop yourself. Instead, let that emotion wash over you, and mentally tell yourself that you want to continue your work in order to change your mood. Pick up your pencil, or open up a Word document to start feeling productive.
- Create goals and interrogate yourself when you find yourself averting them
This is similar to number 4. Remind yourself of what you want to achieve, and when you feel burnt out, or just not motivated, ask yourself, “Why am I [insert activity here] when I should be doing [insert work here]?” This question will get your mind back on track.
Do not forget that being productive is a habit, and habits take time to build. It might be frustrating to see no change in results at first, but be patient and keep persevering.