What is involved in Productivity?

Most accomplished and productive people usually have one thing in common which is obsession with completion. When they are faced with projects, it is almost their compulsion to finish the task. If they are faced with a project, they would usually break it into manageable chunks especially when they are organized and systematic.

Some of them usually go for all-nighters especially when the project is too big to finish in a few sittings. But no matter how big or small the project is they usually get it done on time and in a consistent manner. If you want to be like them, it takes self discipline and hard work but you’ll get there.

However, if you focus on completion, you can finish tasks and projects in due time.

•Create your project list

If you have around 10 projects to complete, number them from 1 to 10 with 1 being the most important and 10 the least important. For example, you can put the project with the nearest deadline as the first priority. You should also label each project basing on their completion criteria. The first five on the list should be the go-list while the second half as the hold-list.

•Check your list daily

Make sure that you are making progress by completing small outlined tasks for the day. Your primary goal should be completing the project even if it means giving it a big push.

•Finish and start

Once you have finished one task, you can now start on a new project. Do not repopulate the list without doing the rest of the projects on the list. You can reload once all 10 have been finished.

You might be wondering whether this works and it does. Doing this kind of system teaches you to develop a trait that will help you become an accomplished student.

How to Do More and Work Less?

Doing more and working less is simply hard to implement. How then will you make things work out for you without wasting too much of your time? Below are some tips you can use to start working less and be more productive.

    • Always keep track of how much you are actually getting done in a single day. It is common to feel guilty if you have things you need to do and yet you chose to have a lot of fun. Your current and future output when compared should show some increase. If you keep track of the things you actually did, it is easier for you to be more productive and spare time for some leisure.
    • Avoid doing the same thing in one setting. Put some new experiences in between or discover some new methods of doing things so that you wouldn’t fuel the lazy person in you. You can join organizations, start new hobbies or find new challenges that would fuel your imagination and your mind.
  • Know your motivation and keep it. If there are one or two things that can motivate or inspire you to do more, go for it. Not knowing what motivates you in doing something is an easy way to let the boredom creep in. Find a higher purpose why you should attend classes or finish assignments or projects.
  • Sit down and focus on one task in one hour and you’ll realize you have done more than you can when you try to do all things at once in an eight our day.

How to Be Effective in Taking Down Notes

Focus is the key to taking down notes effectively. Only take down notes that are new to you. What’s the point of writing down the things you already know? Furthermore, take down key points that are relevant and can be used later on. That being said, there are two major things you need to understand when taking down notes namely –

  • New
  • Relevance

Taking down notes effectively means you have actually done the reading yourself. The information you need to take note includes –

  • Dates for your notes to be in chronology and understand the entire event
  • Names for you to associate the events or ideas better
  • Theories which essentially are the main key points
  • Definition of things that is new to you
  • Points of arguments and debates such as pros and cons, criticisms of an idea and both sides of the coin.
  • Illustrations and exercises

There are still things you need to take down. If your professor hardly writes on board then everything he writes in there should be written down unless the information is deemed self-evident or known. Also, listen to what your professor is saying. Anything relevant to the subject or topic that is not found in any printed document, text or books should be written down.

Your classmates may give information that is relevant as well. Try to capture their comments or questions. This will help you understand the entire topic later on.

Lastly, write down all your questions as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor and get you the answers you need.

Time Management Tips for College Students

Time management is one of the things that are not taught inside the four corners of a classroom. It is a skill you need to develop so that you become more productive and do many things all at once.

•Always read your emails and don’t leave anything sitting in your inbox. Sort out the emails into categories or folders. If the message needs more time before replying, leave it on the to-do folder and so forth. The point is you need to clear your inbox from clutter.

•Multitasking isn’t always good especially for college students who didn’t grow up in the technology invaded world. Multitasking is deadly if you don’t know how to juggle watching TV, replying to instant messages and doing homework all at once. Try to limit this practice.

•Prioritize the most important thing in your list. The first thing you need to do in the morning before you do anything is to list down the things you need to do whether you do this on your phone, notebook or paper is completely up to you.

•Read your emails daily but do it on schedule. It wouldn’t do you any good if you read emails as soon as it arrives. Even though someone contacted you, this doesn’t mean you have to respond immediately. If you want to be more productive at what you do, focus on the task that you specified on schedule and stick with it.

•Instead of making random notes just about anywhere, take advantage of bookmarking services. This will help you get rid of the clutter.

The best thing about time management is you get to achieve many things in a day without compromising on anything.

How to Make the Best Out of Your Semester

Most students worry about making the best out of their semester which is usually gauge by the lessons you have learned throughout. But a more important thing is – how?

Organization This is usually self-explanatory for college students who have a hard time coping with time management and even studying. But here are some practical things you can follow –

•Take notes – “A dull pencil is better than a sharp mind.” This is usually one of the greatest adages that you can follow about studying and learning. There are things that your sharp mind tends to miss later on but when you write everything down on your notebook or post-it papers you enhance your chance at remember it later on.

•Agenda list – It is important that you make a regular weekly list of itinerary. Your agenda should give you sense of direction and purpose making everything better every day.

•Real time inbox – This is a figurative term which simply refers to a permanent place in your room or apartment where you study. This is where you will place all your notes, books and assignment papers.

•Get to know your professors – Search engines usually give you short biography on your teachers. Alternatively and more accurately, you can search about them in your school library. Learn about their research interests and knowledge.

•Study partner/mentor – The secret to success is not about being alone but being able to find someone who can understand your habits and study style.

Being Productive While Commuting

Generally, it is not good for the eyes to read while on the road. Well, I beg to differ – most of the time we spend at least 30 minutes walking to get to our classes.

Thirty minutes can make a big difference in your learning experience. Here’s how to be productive while commuting –

  1. Listen to audio books, podcasts and class recordings – It has been proven that listening can significantly improve your knowledge base. It helps you discover the things you might have missed before.
  2. Always keep flash cards with you all the time – Flash cards are easy to read and it doesn’t even take 30 minutes to cover everything.
  3. List your priorities for the day – You can list on a piece of paper your itineraries for the day so that it is easier for you to stay on track.
  4. Proofread your papers – You can scan your papers and check for grammatical, spelling and sentence construction errors.
  5. Scan class notes – Reading while you are on the move is a big no-no thus it is better to scan your notes or probably take a peek on highlighted texts.
  6. Return calls and text messages – If you missed some calls and messages, the great time to respond or take a call is during your commute.

Finally, learning how to relax through breathing techniques while you are commuting is a great way to become productive.

I just registered for college…now what?

College is the turning point in the life of most students. But, achieving academic success in college is also a struggle for most. How do other students manage to achieve their goals?

Selecting the Best Place to Study

The most convenient way to study is the dorm room if you are living in one but it is usually a very poor place to learn anything. It is a haven of temptations and distractions from television to friends going about the hall to your bed. Studying in your dorm room is bad enough and lying down on your bed while studying is even worst. Before long, you will realize it’s already morning and you still have not gone further than page 1 paragraph 1 of the book you were holding.

Therefore, the first thing that you need to do is to find yourself a study place. It should be a place that will promote learning, productivity, efficiency and concentration. It should be the place where you spend your time working on your academics.

You can try to experiment on what works for you. Make a set of criteria like the level of noise, availability, cleanliness and accessibility.

Developing Study Skills

Once you have found the perfect place to study, you need to get started on developing your study skills.

  • Break subject matters into manageable chunks
  • Use your free time during daytime to study
  • Spend more time on difficult classes
  • Review notes, ask questions and discuss things with peers

All of these are the basic skills you need to work on. You will achieve academic success in no time if you follow them religiously.

Tips to improve your study habits

If you polled 1000 college students asking their reasons for studying, none of them would say because it’s fun. Studying is one of those things like cleaning the gutters; you do it because you benefit even though you’d rather be doing anything else. Here are some ways to improve your study skills.

When studying, the easiest way that you can hurdle formulas, definitions and other concepts that need to be memorized is through mnemonics. It is the most common study skill among college students.

It is stressful to read out one whole chapter from a book. Making an outline of what you are supposed to study will help you study quickly. The main advantage of reading and writing is you will memorize the key concepts quicker.

There are test exercises or mock quiz from books or better yet you could make one for yourself. The idea here is so that you can gauge how much you have already studied.

Some people say too much and too little of something is bad. This is the importance of taking breaks in order to allow your body to recuperate and your brain to digest the information you have studied. Have you heard of saturation? This happens when no matter how hard you try to retain the information you are studying you can’t. You need to take a short break in between study period to allow memory retention.

Improving your time management skills

The most common problem among college students when it comes to studying is time management. Instead of leaving studying for the last minute and cramming for exams, if you set out time goals and develop management skills, your life and academic career will be much easier.

Steps to improving your time management

  1. Make an outline of how you make use of your time. This will help you recognize the pattern such as time spent in activities not related to school and the time spent on your normal activities.
  2. When you have accurately recognized the pattern of how you are spending your time, it is time to find out how many hours you need to study weekly. Take into consideration how many classes you are attending, class difficulty and how many hours the classes usually take. Basically, you need to spend more time on difficult classes followed by the moderately difficult and lastly the easy classes.
  3. Make a time table. It should fit the kind of personality you have. You need the time of your classes, work (if you have), time for meal and meal preparation, etc. Create your schedule based on what works for you.
  4. Prioritize. Socializing is important, but studying is even more important. If you turn down 1 in 5 social activities, you can use the gained time to drastically improve your academic skills. Remember college is only supposed to be four years so if you get through it quicker you have more time for life.
  5. Relax. Placing too much stress on yourself sets you up for failure in dealing with difficult tasks. Nobody said achieving goals is easy.

It can be quite challenging to gain skills in time management but if you hang in there you will definitely achieve it. If other students have done it, so can you.

Old fashioned flashcards with a technical twist

Flashcards can be a very helpful tool, especially in classes where you need to memorize. Vocabulary, dates, number, formulas. It’s all easier to remember with flashcards. Here are some alternatives to regular paper flashcards.

Web Apps

Flashcard Exchange is the world’s largest library of printable flashcards, according to their slogan. A free membership will allow you to create unlimited flashcards and share them if you choose. Without an account, you can study with the millions of flashcards available the public. A one-time membership of $19.95 allows you to use images in your flashcards, print them out and use the Leitner card files as well as export cards to Word or Excel. The free membership is fully functional and unless you want to print, is a great way to study.

Flashcard Machine is a great way to create, study and share flashcards online. With free registration, you have the ability to create unlimited flashcards and share them with others (even non-registered users). You can separate flashcards into multiple subjects and groups and include images and audio. The website isn’t as polished as Flashcard Exchange, but it does offer a few more options and is free.


iFlash is a Mac shareware program designed to help you study with virtual flashcards. There is a free trial and for $14.95, you can purchase the program. It allows you to print, edit and share your flashcards easily. You can create multiple card faces (word, definition, example, etc.) and export flashcards to your ipod.

Genius is another memorization software for Mac that I’ve already posted about here. It organizes info using the “Leitner “learning cardfile” system, and it quizzes you using a spaced repetition method.” It’s also free and my favorite way to study.

Memory Lifter is a free Windows flashcard software. It’s a pretty basic flashcard software and since it’s PC only, I haven’t been able to test it, but the features seem nice from the website

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