There are a lot of factors that play into my productivity and level of performance on a given day. Of course, as I’ve grown older and experienced the pain of many all-nighters, I’ve come to better understand the importance of sleep. It was always something that my parents and the internet told me was vital to productivity, but I mostly brushed that off because I knew that when push comes to shove I could pull off marathon grinds to finish my work. But as my schoolwork requires more consistent diligence, I increasingly realize just how much better I feel and how much more productive I am when I am well-rested.
Having better nutrition habits is one of the bigger changes I’ve made this year, and after eating much more consciously this semester, I believe it has paid dividends. This is especially true when I have to write papers, which is frequently, and usually occurs in longer sittings where the heavy feeling I get after eating unhealthy food often makes me tired. Staying hydrated is crucial to preventing headaches, and the wonderful drug that is coffee helps keep energy levels up.
Also, I find that when I take care of even smaller things that might seem trivial, like making my bed, remembering to shave, and making time to get at least some sort of exercise in, especially in the middle of a hellacious grind, these little acts make me feel much better than I used to think. And as Deion Sanders so eloquently said, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.”
Furthermore, the more I am interested in the work I am doing, the more likely I am to become fully invested in it, and the less I will lose focus on the task at hand. In truth, though, nothing quite gets me going like a deadline. My fear of failure is substantial, and it accelerates the work process. However, I would add a caveat to this, as sometimes having the freedom to fail allows me to be more creative and attempt new things, which makes me much more likely to produce my best work.
In short, a healthy combination of all of the above create conditions in which I have found allow me to be most productive, efficient, and effective.