We all want to be the best version of ourselves and are in search of a miracle hack to multiply our efficiency. This is when we turn to the internet and end up listening to a bunch of YouTubers talking about productivity. I did the same thing in grade ten, a month or two before my board exams, when I woke up every day with a panic attack. This post is about what I learned and the mistakes I made (and I am making, still working on them) on my journey in the hope of helping you with yours.
I want to start by sharing about the Pomodoro Technique, which in my opinion is the best tip one can receive to increase efficiency. Instead of working long hours, we work in 25-minute slots, each of which is followed by a five-minute break. After completing four such cycles, we get a 15-20-minute break. The logic is to have short study/work sessions of intense focus, instead of long ones where you fight to keep your focus at peak level.
Though there is no specification of what you do in your breaks, I think it is a terrible idea to use your phone in the 5-minute breaks, because it is very stimulating for our brains, so it gets no rest. In my opinion, taking a walk is the best use of the time. Adopting the Pomodoro Technique helped me get through hours of studying with ease.
Next is planning your day or week in advance. Working without a plan is extremely inefficient and is the biggest reason for procrastination. Planning the night before is also better than doing it on the same day because: a) you will save the time to be spent in planning; b) when you are the freshest, you are planning instead of working, and c) you can help your future self by preparing for the work you intend to do the next day in advance, like putting the tit-bits you will need in place so that you are not searching for them when you should be working.
Now the question arises, how to plan a productive day? The first step is to make a to-do list. Estimate the time each task will take and then add 15-to-30 minutes to it because we tend to assume that our future self will be able to complete the task in the shortest time and will be on time by the second. The truth is that the time we take in the best-case scenario and an average day is quite similar, which is why it is important to add buffer time. Now allot the tasks time slots. A perfect and productive day is ready.
The last thing I want to touch upon is sleep and exercise. Both of which are extremely important not only to be healthy but also for a boost in productivity. Lack of sleep reduces our efficiency drastically and slows down our brain. Exercise helps in our cognitive abilities by improving blood flow, also it releases hormones which provide an excellent environment for the growth of brain cells. If one thinks that they will be saving time by avoiding these two, they could not be more wrong. If you want to save time, cut down the time you spend in front of the television and on your phone.
I want to leave you with a warning: Watching YouTube videos for productivity tips is good, but we should be careful not to get addicted to them, which is very easy because they leave us with feeling power to outwork everybody else. Learn from different sources, but do not waste your time looking up for productivity tips when you should be working, because that is extremely counter-productive. I had fallen into this
‘sweet-trap’, and you might not even get to know that you are trapped until you are out of it. Good luck! I hope you do your homework on time 😂.