By ‘productive’, I do not mean cramming more work sessions into your life. Productivity is often associated with waking up earlier and somehow doing 8 hours of work in 5, when really it is so much more. My personal definition of it is living in a way that I feel healthy, efficient, and most importantly being able to reflect what I have done throughout the day, as opposed to pondering late into the night “What the heck did I actually do today besides watch YouTube?” Here are some tips I have found helpful for achieving just that:
#1: purposeful scrolling
Do you ever find yourself scrolling through YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, or Tumblr endlessly, without realizing how much time you have spent on these platforms? If so, you are not alone; in fact, these platforms are designed to keep users and incentivize them to stay on for as long as possible, so it is definitely understandable that you have fallen into the cycle.
An effective way to break this cycle is to be purposeful while you scroll. What I mean by that is outlining clearly in your mind exactly what you are going to be looking at on these platforms and how long you will be looking before you start scrolling. You plan on watching some viral cooking videos on TikTok for 15 minutes? Great, set a timer for yourself and only watch videos related to that topic.
This way, you are a lot less likely to wander off watching a whole lot of random videos on a marathon; controlling yourself and knowing precisely what you are doing rather than subconsciously allowing the platform to take control of you.
#2: keep your hands active!
Many of us, especially those in my generation who grew up in the technology boom, are practically addicted to our phones. We find ourselves going on our phones whenever we feel bored, whether it be in a lecture or a meeting.
A great way to restrain your hands from reaching for our phones is to give them some sort of activity to do. The next time you are passively watching a lecture video and find yourself struggling to focus, put a fidget spinner between your fingers or pick up a crochet. Not only are your hands tied from grabbing your phone, your mind is also occupied with another task, giving it fewer opportunities to wander off and opt for your phone.
#3: always plan ahead
There is always so much to do in a day, and constantly updating a mental to-do list of what has been accomplished and what is left to do just adds to the stress of it all. Keeping a planner, whether a digital one or a physical one, whether in the form of a bullet journal or a simple sticker on the top right corner of your laptop, will relieve that burden.
Take some time to sketch an outline of what you want to accomplish the next day and when you are going to do each task. Yes, this takes a bit of time–but I promise you that it is worth it. Ten extra minutes every night is a great deal when you consider how much more efficient you become during the day. When you are able to see what you have to complete at what hour, your mind is put to ease whilst doing each task, because you know that you have an allocated time slot for everything you need to get done today and there is no dilemma of deciding what to do next. Your improved concentration will enable you to accomplish more.