While it’s only a few weeks into the new semester, we can’t help but reminisce about summertime—the nice weather, the time away from school, going home. After three long months of time away from the Heights, it can be rather difficult to return to a packed schedule and focus on schoolwork all day. So, here are a few of my tips on how to create the perfect space to focus and be productive that you can use to push through this semester.
Find and Create a Good Study Space
A good study spot is, perhaps, the most important way to increase productivity. While studying in your dorm might be convenient, it’s inevitable that you get tired working in the same environment for hours on end, and lying in bed instead of sitting at your desk can be tempting. Similarly, living in a suite with multiple roommates can be just as distracting and slow down the work process.
That’s why we resort to libraries. Though O’Neill and Bapst are two of the most popular study spots on campus that students hit, there are also other libraries on campus that many students don’t know about. Located in the basement of Campion Hall, the Education Resource Center, is a smaller, more intimate library for students who enjoy studying in a light and airy environment. This library has a more collaborative and uplifting atmosphere compared to O’Neill or Bapst.
There is also the Social Work Library located in McGuinn Hall which I personally love studying at for silence and privacy, especially when I have loads of work to complete. With high top tables, booths, collaborative tables, and cubicles, the Social Work Library has everything you need for a change of scenery.
Get Rid of Distractions in Fun Ways
I’m sure we can all agree that phones are the biggest distractions when we are trying to be productive. While we tell ourselves we won’t look at our phones, it’s easier said than done—it’s almost impossible to not peek at the screen every time a notification pops up. So, for those who simply can’t keep their hands off of their phone, here are some fun ways that you can stay away.
Productivity apps, such as Forest, help people focus on their work by helping the environment. Forest plants real trees around the world with credits you earn as you do your work. You can set the app to a specific time you want, and a tree will begin to grow on your screen along with the timer. Forest tracks the growth of the trees every time you use it, showing you how productive you were in a different way. The tree will die if you use your phone for anything else other than the app. Because it is a multi-user app, you can add your friends on the app and see each other’s records. In this case, peer pressure can actually be a good thing, since it can help you and your friends keep each other in check.
Or, another way to physically get rid of distractions is to have your friend hide or keep your phone until you are done with your work.
Buy a Planner
Keeping a planner helps you keep track of all of your tasks throughout the day and week. Not only will this help you stay organized, but it also reduces the stress of forgetting an assignment, since you have reminders written down.
If having a physical planner isn’t your thing, there are also apps like Notion and Google Keeps that you can use instead. Notion is a platform where you can write in all your assignment deadlines and keep track of them, which helps you have greater efficiency and productivity in doing your work. You can also schedule activities, like working out, which helps your day be less hectic. Google Keeps is definitely a less fancy, but equally effective, alternative. Google Keeps is essentially a screen of digital sticky notes that you can pin around according to your priorities each day. Using a planner will definitely help you stay productive and get your essential tasks done first.
It’s crucial to remember that having a good study space and being productive is personal to each and everyone. The most important thing is to use methods that actually work for you, but I hope these are tips that can help you get back on track this semester.