While the winter break provides us with a much-needed rest and some well-deserved lie ins, and general laziness, the reality is that the uni workload doesn’t seem to get the memo. Unfortunately, most of us will have some form of work due in the new year and it can be difficult to stay productive during the festive period, so here are some tips for avoiding procrastination and maximising your productivity.
My first tip is to organise your workload by making a sort of list as, if you’re like me and struggle to mentally visualise, writing it down can help to ease the overwhelming feeling of having multiple tasks to complete for different deadlines. So, once you’ve got your list, grab a calendar or your phone, and try to make a schedule to stick to which should help to keep you accountable and to also give yourself a routine. For example, if you’ve got an essay due at the start of January, set yourself daily or weekly targets, such as writing so many words or certain parts of your essay, that can be easily achieved.
My second tip is to make a dedicated workspace, which is good if you’ve moved back home from your uni halls as the environment we’re in can impact our way of thinking about work. For example, you might be much more productive when you’re in halls because your brain associates the space with work, whereas, as a student, you tend to only be at home over the holidays and so we procrastinate more because we don’t connect the two different environments. So, make a space in your room, ideally at a desk or table, that is dedicated only to uni work and is separate from the rest of the house.
My third and final tip to increase your productivity is to set a timer when you are working, especially if you’re choosing to use the winter break as time to get a head start on revision, this method can be very useful. It can be easy to burnout if we’re trying to get a lot of work done in a short space of time, so setting timers can help to structure our work time. For example, one method is to set a 30-minute timer for uninterrupted work, followed by a 5-minute break and repeat this 3 or 4 times. This method has been proven to boost productivity as scientists claim we can only hold focus for so long before finding distractions, such as scrolling endlessly on Instagram or TikTok. There are certain apps than can help with this as they lock the phone once the timer is started so there’s no temptation and you can focus on the work instead.
Although I’ll definitely be taking my own advice over the holidays, it is also important to remember that this is meant to be a break from university, so make sure to actually take a break and relax and if you manage your time right you should be able to have the best of both worlds!
By Natalie Pover