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    Updated on Dec 16, 2019. Posted on Dec 12, 2017

    17 Little Habits That'll Actually Make You More Productive

    Just do it.

    H/T: this Quora thread.

    1. Keep snacks out of your line of sight, turn off your phone, and work alone — basically get rid of any distractions or temptations.


    You can also use the SelfControl app to block yourself from using distracting websites (we'll see you later ☹️). It sounds boring, but think of it this way: The sooner you get your work done, the sooner you can actually have fun.

    2. Do the worst task first so that you don't spend time thinking about how much you don't want to do it.


    Even if you're being productive in other ways, if you keep pushing the worst task to the bottom of the list, it's never going to get done.

    3. Even if it's just something small, like cleaning your room, just bite the bullet — the anticipation's definitely worse than the actual task.

    Paramount Pictures

    4. Get positive feedback as soon as possible so you feel motivated to finish the project at hand, and to work hard on future projects.


    If you hate writing essays, or if you're just struggling to get through them, get feedback on your drafts as quickly as possible. Maybe you send it to your yes-man friend or even to your mom who probably still thinks your poop is flawless. Obviously you still want to get some constructive criticism, but just hearing someone recognize your hard work can really push you to work even harder the next time.

    5. Brag about yourself *to* yourself or your friends, even if you're not really feeling it.


    If you're complaining to a friend about your study struggles, make sure to add a lil' compliment: "This essay is killing me, but I think I made progress yesterday!" They will cheer you on and make you feel what you know is true — you are capable and smart and awesome. ☺️

    6. Procrastinate on procrastinating.

    This is a great trick for the midday hump. Instead of taking a break now, tell yourself you can be lazy tomorrow — just give it one more day!

    7. Determine one clear goal for the day and decide how much time you have to accomplish it.


    This could be something like "I will finish editing my essay by 4:30" or "I will clean my room before I go to sleep" or even "I will run three times this week."

    8. Plan 25 minutes of uninterrupted work and 5 minutes of break time.

    Sony Pictures Entertainment

    It's called the Pomodoro technique.

    9. Set a small goal each and every day instead of one big one on New Year's.


    Long, faraway goals feel long and far away, so you may never get started. Instead, set a small goal for every day. So, if your teacher gave you two weeks to read Moby Dick, set a goal each day to read just 27 pages — and 14 days later, you'll be done (assuming your copy's 327 pages).

    10. Simplify and prime habits you want to form with very simple "if/when-then" statements.

    Remember the marshmallow test from PSYC101? It went something like this: "If you wait to eat this marshmallow until I come back, then you will get to eat two." If you set up these primes for goals, then you will have an easier time sticking to them. So you could try statements like:

    - If I hear my alarm clock, then I will get out of bed.
    - When I get home, I will study for three hours.
    - When I arrive at the library, I will turn off my phone.

    11. Check off each day that you practice a habit — and don't break the chain.


    Let's say you need to study for the SATs, but your hustle has been sporadic at best. Set a goal for yourself to, say, complete one section of your workbook every day, and cross off the day on a large calendar or in your bullet journal once you've completed that task. Don't break the chain!

    12. Prep some healthy snacks that will give you energy rather than make you crash.


    Get some brain food ideas here.

    13. Decide why it matters, beyond just "having to do it" or "doing it for the A."


    Do it for your own self-improvement, because you'd gain knowledge, and/or because you like feeling proud of your work. Then you'll have a little more intrinsic motivation (vs. extrinsic), which you can learn about here.

    14. Set up regular "appointments" with yourself.

    Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

    If your responsibilities seem overwhelming or if time just seems to get away from you, block off every hour of your day with what you want to get done. This will make you feel organized and will also act as a motivator to get one thing done before you have to move onto the next.

    15. Be aware of the wants or needs that are making your mind wander.


    If you're constantly getting up for snacks, eat before you sit down to study. If you always feel too fidgety or uncomfortable to focus, go for a run in the morning so that you burn off some of that energy. If you keep getting distracted by a fight you're having with a friend, deal with it so you can move on.

    16. Find a study buddy.

    Warner Bros.

    If they are studying, so are you. If that study buddy is in the same class, you guys can ask each other questions and quiz each other. If you don't know anyone in the class, it's a good excuse to talk to someone new!

    17. Set your own deadlines instead of waiting for the ones your teacher sets to creep up on you.


    If you tell yourself you want to get your essay done four days before the due date, you're less likely to have to panic-write and pull an all-nighter the day before.

    18. Reward yourself when you don't procrastinate, and forgive yourself when you do.


    You aren't stupid or lazy just because you don't get a good grade or because you procrastinated. It just means you need to try again and find a way to tap into your motivation. Oh, and when you do get an A and/or you don't procrastinate, throw yourself a damn party, give yourself stickers, walk around yelling about your awesome grade — whatever will get you excited to do it all over again next time.

    Now get to it!

    Warner Bros.

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