Productivity tips for busy students

Paul Madassery

As a student I certainly found out the hard way  that time-management is a crucial skill and being able to use my time effectively gives you a great advantage.

With University lectures, coursework, part-time jobs, extra-curricular activities and trying to have a social life we often find ourselves spread too thin and have a hard time doing everything.
Here is a list of things that helped me and that I wish I knew before which can help you manage your time more effectively:

Become the early riser

You donā€™t have to wake up at 4:00am and hit the gym everyday but having an early start to your day (6:00 or 7:00am) gives you some peaceful time where you can really get some work done. That could be planning out your day ahead, revising some topics that you didnā€™t really understand or even prepare for the upcoming lecture. Sure, it takes some time to accustom to a new schedule. You also need a lot of discipline to go to bed earlier than you may be used to. Often times when you tell people you wake up at 6:00 you get inundated by people telling you how important sleep is and how they ā€œcould never do thatā€. On the other hand, I argue that there is no need to deprive yourself of important sleep. Ultimately just make sure you get in 6-9 hours of sleep, depending on your needs.

Do the important things first

This also ties in to being an early riser. If you have some important tasks to complete, make sure you do them first thing when you wake up. In the early hours you are likely to be more sharp and therefore more productive than later in the day. Especially after you have already been working for a few hours. Personally I like to complete the important things at the start of my day, like exercising for example.


For me exercising sets the tone for the day. If I wake up and go for a run or for a gym session I know it will likely be a productive day. By doing physical activity in the early hours I tick off an item from my mental to-do list straightaway and I am more motivated to get be productive! Science also comes to the rescue here backing up my point: an article from the Business Insider quotes: ā€œExercising releases healthy endorphins that energize you. You feel better, have more energy, and are ready to tackle your daily tasks.ā€

ā€œDo Not Disturbā€

I turned off most push notifications from my phone. Does that sound extreme? I did it because I realised that every 2 minutes I would receive some sort on notification. That would lead me to check my phone and often spiral into a one-hour procrastination session. Now if I want to know whether I received a new e-mail I need to go to my app or into my laptop and check my inbox. Same thing goes for most of my other apps. The only things I still receive is text and calls since that is how people that TRULY need to get in touch with me urgently would do so. We often have a false sense of urgency and we think that we need to know everything in every single waking moment. Truth is, life goes on and you donā€™t really need to keep checking your e-mails or your Instagram feed every two seconds. Sure, you can check it but do so intentionally and with conscience.

Final words

To wrap this up I want to say that no one is really perfect and no one is perfect. There is no productivity machine that can get things done every waking hour and does not procrastinate at all. Just be mindful of your ā€œtriggersā€, know what causes you to be less productive and try to fix it.

Enjoyed the read? Check out the main Need to Live website for more.

If you liked this article also check out my own website: The Financial Chronicles for more articles on student life, career and student finances!

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