Now I am very much they type of person who loves new stationary, especially when it comes to starting a new term. However, being away from all my usual bits and pieces (I’m studying from home rather than at my flat this term) meant I had to find new ways of finding productivity rather than being wasteful and buying everything new.
I might add that yes I am that person who finds motivation through the likes of a new notebook, don’t judge me okay?
So because I know a lot of people are in this predicament and it’s just been generally difficult to find productivity when stuck in lockdown at the start of a new year, I thought it would be useful to share some of my tips. I am by no means an expert but if it can help one person then why not, right?
Taking in Information
Retaining information when you’re not in the mood can be difficult at the best of times but for me, when I am reading a lot of books every week, I tend to forget very quickly what any of them are about. So this year I bought a small notebook to write little synopses and any questions out as soon as I finish it. This way I am writing my thoughts as they occur rather than dwelling on them.
Now don’t think this is purely useful just for me, moulding this for your own tasks/reading etc. can be important in giving you more headspace and a better long term memory.
Another good tip is to step away, just like with sleeping, if you can’t do it then don’t force it. Take a break; go have a dance, a walk or a snack. Most likely you’ll come back in a better mindset.
Create a Routine
You are probably sick and tired of hearing this but genuinely creating yourself a routine will help everything else come into place. Whether that is a routine for your day or a routine in the long term for tasks that need to be done. I set out to work 9-5 each day so I can have the weekend off (this sometimes changes depending on how I am feeling or how much work I have) but I also create a routine for my reading. I know what books need to be read when so I usually set out a plan for when I should read them by or if I need to start exceptionally early.
Routine effectively alleviates unwanted stress while getting your week off to the best possible start. It may sound repetitive but I promise it helps.
You may have heard a lot of people using an app called Notion lately and I promise it is worth it. I’ve only recently downloaded it after my laptop was decreasing in storage very quickly. So I use Notion to write notes for uni, journal online, write out plans for my website and Instagram and do write ups on my books. I’m hoping it will turn around my way of studying and since everything is well organised and in one place it is really easy to use.
Clearly you can use it for all aspects of life, it also gives you templates so you can personalise your pages to how you will best use them. The combination of my little black notebook and my Notion has decreased the amount of paper I use and my storage. I highly recommend checking it out whether you are self employed, a student or are in need of more headspace.
Setting yourself Manageable Tasks
Now I know we all think we are superhuman and at the start of the day we love to think we can get everything under the sun done. However, we all know that this isn’t always the case so creating a to do list with manageable aims and outcomes will help you achieve even more than you think because you’ll actually have the time and headspace to do it.
Rather than setting yourself a goal of reading a whole book in a day for example why not set yourself little goals of reading so much before lunch and so much before dinner. Or you can divide the total pages into 7 days and read the set amount over that time. That way you aren’t over exerting yourself or having high expectations of yourself and your brain.
Likewise if you don’t want to split your tasks into parts give yourself a maximum amount of things to do in a day, three for example.
Now productivity doesn’t always come natural to everyone, it definitely ebbs and flows for me, so I think the key thing to remember is to not be too harsh on yourself. I am my own worst critic and I am definitely a perfectionist so it’s hard sometimes to know when to step back or to recognise that I can’t do it all.
However, I also know that the work I have to do won’t go away on its own. So hopefully these suggestions will be useful, they’ve definitely helped me in the past few weeks.
If you have any productivity suggestions leave them below! I’d love to hear them and I am sure there are some lovely readers who would be grateful for some extra tips!