Productivity 6 minutes read

7 Productivity Tips for College Students

Staying productive in the shedload of projects, presentations, and other assignments takes a lot of work to pull off. College students are often overwhelmed by the number of deadlines which can lead to demotivation.

When procrastination strikes, they will most likely spend their day unproductive. External distraction, lack of direction, and complex tasks are other reasons for college students to hardly maintain their spirit.

If you’re currently a college student having difficulty staying productive, the following discussion can help you overcome it. You can avoid consecutive lazy days of watching YouTube videos or scrolling through Instagram posts.

Read on to explore some factors that cause college students to be unproductive. Moreover, discover the seven tips to help you improve productivity during busy days of college. Let’s jump in!

Why is it hard for students to be productive?

According to the Oxford dictionary, being unproductive means not producing or progressing with good results. In daily life, sometimes you don’t feel like doing anything even though you have a list of tasks to complete.

Losing the spirit to do your duty doesn’t occur without a cause. Sometimes, burnout and repetitive habits can lead to demotivation. Furthermore, there are some factors like overly difficult tasks, lack of direction, and external distractions that can also cause you to be unproductive.

A report reveals that American adults spend 11 hours daily interacting with media, including watching tv and using a tablet, smartphone, or computer. Social media takes the most considerable portion, where people spend around two and a half hours daily.

Time management and self-control are two crucial factors to help you stay productive. The below discussions can be constructive for you as a college student to manage and use your time efficiently.

Keep scrolling to explore the seven tips to help you stay productive during hectic college days.

1. Find a Routine that Works for You

Before finding a routine, you need to identify yourself. For instance, choosing between day or night to do your work. So you can save energy and spend it at the right moment.

Some people work better during the morning while others prefer night time. Or some must take a sip of coffee or have breakfast before delving into their routines. 

So identifying your preferable habit is the first step to finding a routine that works for you. Once you’ve found your routine, you can boost your spirit and stay productive until you accomplish your assignments.

2. Create a Schedule

Creating a schedule helps you be more disciplined by efficiently managing your time and energy. You can make a daily schedule or bulk everything into a weekly schedule. Note that resting must also be on your list. You can use note-taking apps for students to simplify this task.

You can refer to the Eisenhower matrix to manage your schedule. It requires you to split tasks into four categories: urgent, not urgent, important, and unimportant. Below is the breakdown of the matrix.

  • Important and urgent tasks: your utmost priority, so focus on accomplishing them first.
  • Important but not urgent tasks: not priority tasks that you can schedule for later.
  • Not important but urgent tasks: you can get them done after your important and urgent tasks. 
  • Not important and not urgent tasks: the least on your priority list. You can postpone or ignore them at the moment.

Besides, allocate your energy well. Choose the most comfortable times to rack your brain, whether morning, day, evening or night. Consider creating a distraction-free environment.

You can turn off your notification, clean your desk, or listen to calming music. Take a break every 90 minutes to maintain your brain performance. 

3. Avoid Multitasking

Naturally, the human brain cannot do multiple tasks at once. When you think you’re multitasking, you’re merely jumping from one task to another. This habit can take a severe toll on your productivity.

People who multitask are more likely to be distractible. They also may need help to focus and pay attention when doing a single job. Besides, you can get tired faster as you spend more energy multitasking.

In other words, multitasking can slow you down. You may also do your job poorly because you fail to execute the details. Above all, some research has shown that multitasking is bad for your brain.

To avoid multitasking, you can limit the number of tasks you juggle daily. Focus on an assignment for at least 20 minutes before jumping to another. Furthermore, practice mindfulness and limit distractions to keep you focused and productive.

4. Take Regular Breaks

Taking breaks is as important as doing your task. You can use some references to define the best break time for yourself to stay productive. A popular post from The Muse recommends a 17-minute break every 57 minutes of working. 

A more comprehensive study comes up with another suggestion. The optimal time for breaks is around 12% of the workday. Besides, taking short intermittent breaks is more recommended than one long break. 

For instance, if you allocate eight hours to study or do your assignment, you get around 58 minutes of rest. Then, you can learn something new that you might need, like the basics of copywriting. Next, you can split the break time into five shorter breaks that last for 12 minutes long each.

5. Switch Up Your Study Environment

A fresh look at your study environment can boost your motivation to get things done. It allows you to focus easier and for longer. You can comprehend material faster and do your project better.

You can reorganize your desk and tidy it up to have a clean look. Consider buying a book or cable organizers to help you arrange your stuff and get more space for study. Or you can go to a coffee shop or library to get a new environment.

6. Utilize Productivity Tools

Having productivity or task management tools can give you many benefits. You can manage time, set goals, build a study environment, and even automate repetitive habits. 

For instance, you can install Bibme to help you create bibliographies and citations in no time. You can also use Akiflow to build better time management and schedule your plan. It even has a focus mode to help you stay productive.

7. Set a Self-Reward

To maintain your productivity throughout the week, you should reward yourself. As simple as buying yourself an ice cream or having a day doing nothing can be good options for rewarding yourself.

You can also go shopping, eat out at a restaurant, travel short distances, etc. Getting or doing something that makes you happy can maintain your motivation and help you get a balanced life.


College years are a phase where you should understand yourself. The reason you’re procrastinating and unproductive can come from external and internal factors. However, you still can control both.

The above points can help you build a progressive habit by improving your time management and self-control. Remember that taking breaks is also necessary to develop healthy habits and maintain a good mental state.

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