The first condition to my productivity is the place. Being productive in my bedroom is extremely hard, actually… almost impossible. When I’m there, I hear my bed calling me for a cozy night with my weighted blanket and a book. So my bedroom is not an option. I tried the living room many times, but I always ended up taking a nap on the couch. So as much as I would like to stay at home in these cold Michigan days, I need to get out of my house if I ever want to get something done.
I’m not a big fun of studying in coffee shops because there’s too much going on – people coming in, going out, talking out loud etc. So I usually end up going to the library – I love studying at the Hatcher Library – or in the common area of the DANA building (probably my favorite spot on campus). I also learned in one of my psych classes that choosing places where there are physical cues such as books stimulates thoughts of schoolwork so you’re more likely to be productive.
The second condition to my productivity is putting my phone away. This should actually be the first condition because these smartphones are the most distracting thing ever. This requires a lot of self-control, or situation modification as they call it in psych, and it is so important. I usually need to turn off my phone and put it out of sight. If I don’t turn it off at the first notification I’ll check it and lose focus and if I have it in sight I’ll end up taking it in my hands and that’s the end of it.
There’s another productivity hack that I use sometimes, which is studying for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. This is because it is estimated that we have an attention span of approximately 20 minutes, so this really helps stay focused and maximize productivity. I have an app on my laptop that tracks the time and notifies me at the end of the 25 min period and at the end of the break.
Being interested in the stuff I’m working on is a plus to my productivity. If I’m working on something that I’m interested in, I’ll usually get it done faster, but if I follow the conditions above mentioned, I can be very productive working on something that I’m not really interested about as well. I’d be curious to know what makes other people productive!