Friday, September 9, 2011

Tips on Productivity.

I'm a very social person. I love being around people, listening to people, talking to people and meeting new people. So what happens when, instead of having a "study session" (sitting around, watching Glozell on youtube, and listening to music with my friends, while my lonely history book lies open 5 feet away) like I want to, I actually have to get down and do some serious work?

My friends and I procrastinating...

During these first two weeks I've been able to toe the line between being social and being productive, and I've worked out a few things that help me to concentrate and get my work done. First of all, though, I'll point out that I really enjoy all the classes I'm taking. I even like Calc! That may be mostly because I'm impressed with my new-found abiliy in the subject, or because there are cool people in my class, but what's important is that I look forward to going; and as a result, the homework isn't so bad. So I'll make that my first tip:

1. Find a way to look forward to class

Like I said, I'm lucky enough to like all my classes, but from what I hear, it would be pretty rare to go through 4 years of college and not have at least one bad class. So how to be productive in a class you don't like? The way I do it may be kind of lame, but I'll think that class as the weak link. And since you're only as strong as your weakest point, work your butt off in that crappy class so that it doesn't affect the rest of your awesome college education!

Too lame? ...nah.

2. Use the library

The library is an awesome place to get stuff done. A; because it's an environment designed specifically for the purpose of learning (unlike your dorm room, where there is facebook and a mini fridge and friends 2 doors down). B; because it's so quiet, and there are fewer distractions (most cell phones don't get service in the basement of Durick Library, and your floormates aren't bumping dubstep while you're trying to do derivatives). Finally, C; because at Saint Mikes, there are confining study cabins in the library basement that will hold you until you're done with every assignment you've ever been given. No I'm totally kidding, you can enter and leave the study cabins as you please, but can we address for a second my awesome ability at run-on sentences?!

Watch a video about Durick Library here!

And I can honestly attest to the awesome power of the study cabin, my friend Tarah and I use them all the time! We've even unofficially claimed the two most hidden study cabins we could find... in the farthest corner of the basement... hidden by moving bookshelves. We like our concentration.

3. Don't be afraid to be productive and social... at the same time

Yes, this might be strange, since I just said that friends and dorm rooms are terrible distractions, but here's how this works. Some things (for me; History and Anthropology), require a lot of reading and writing and take loads of time to finish because it's all thought, little practice. Others (like French and Calc), require some thought, and more practice. In the case of the latter, I've found that it's actually possible to do this type of "practice" homework in a low-key social setting. For example, last night, a bunch of my friends and I were sitting in a room, "studying". Some of us actually were, but there was definitely a lot of youtube and talk going on. So, knowing that I had to study French, I started making flash-cards. It's easy to stop and go while making flash cards; all you're doing is copying words. Also, I could ask my french-speaking friends (again, Tarah) how best to say something. And when I finished the cards, my mind was in study-French mode, so it was easy for me to transition into my small amount of assigned reading and questions which were due the next day. See, productive and social at the same time!

(The thing about this tip is that homework takes longer, but it's not as bad cause you're with friends!)

4. Drink a lot of water

My 4th and final tip; when studying, drink water, and lots of it. I'm definitely a coffee-lover, but when I study, I always drink tons of water. Why? Because it hydrates you, makes your brain work better, it's good for you, and because bathroom breaks are a natural and excusable way to get a 2-minute breather during long study-cabin sessions. It's simple, but it works.

So there you have it, this is how I get stuff done! Feedback is always welcome, and anyone can comment below!

Happy learning!


  1. If I ever go to college ( Asia is laughing that my mother might send me to Japan or Australia because I didn't go there yet) I'll def use those tips;)


  2. haha she's got a point, you're never in Poland! ;)

    za Tobą też tęsknię!!!