How to be Productive: Advice from the World’s Worst Procrastinator
I’ll be honest. I’m the worst person I know at time management.
I’m perpetually late, procrastinate until the final hour, overcommit like no one’s business and even missed two deadlines for this story. It’s my token “weakness” in interviews, and at this point feels like a negative character trait I can’t shake. As many times as I’ve said I’m working on it, I’ve never really changed much about my lifestyle.
The thing that’s held me back the most when it comes to being more productive is the mentality that I have to completely change who I am. In reality, the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.
With the stress of graduating, finding a job and a place to live, I’ve tried to find simple ways I can be more productive in my day-to-day life. Here’s what I came up with.
One of the most time-consuming things that never fails to make me late is picking out and switching outfits. I’m a serial changer. I’m not proud. It takes me entirely too long to get dressed, and then I forget things I need because I didn’t pack my bag, and I’m already running late. It’s a terrible cycle, but it is one of the easiest to change.
How to do it:
Plan your outfits the night before. This helps you avoid spending 30 minutes trying on your whole closet and hours hanging and folding everything again at the end of the week. It may seem elementary, but it actually works.
Pack your bags for the next day. This includes your backpack, workout clothes, and anything else you know you’ll need.
Meal prep for the week (or just the next day). It’s as simple as putting leftovers into containers, and it is a great way to save money and eat better. New to meal prepping? Start here.
Set a schedule
This is something I’m usually pretty bad at. Time management is not my strong suit, so it’s hard to stick to a strict schedule. Having a schedule doesn’t have to mean planning your days down to the minute, it could be simply waking up and going to sleep at the same time.
Trust me, at first it’ll seem impossible, but habits aren’t created (or broken) in a day. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you snooze your alarm or stay up late cramming.
How to do it:
Wake up at the same time every morning. Try putting your phone across the room to force you out of bed. No snoozing!
Plan your workout ahead of time. If you know you want to go to the gym, look up a workout online or download an app that gives you a pre-planned workout.
Go to sleep at the same time each night. To help your brain and body unwind, get rid of all screens an hour before you go to sleep. After a few days, your body will adjust. This is also a great time to pick up a new habit. Before bed, try a quick yoga sesh, read that book collecting dust on your side table, or journal about your day.
Visualize your progress
I am a very visual person. I need a planner, a journal, multiple notebooks, and a lot of colored pens. It’s a way that I can still be creative even if I’m just writing a to-do list. Physically checking things off makes me feel productive, which is why I prefer handwriting in a journal or planner.
It’s okay if you’re not the journaling type. There’s an app for that, and you have a lot of options. It’s all about what works for you and your personality. I’m not a huge app person, but it’s a nice and practical way to get reminders — because when is anyone really away from their phones?
How to do it:
Start bullet journaling. This is a great way to monitor your wins, losses, moods, and progress. Looking back at the end of a week or month of journaling is a good way to stay motivated and keep track of change.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to changing your routines and creating new habits is that change doesn’t happen overnight or even in a week — but if you stick with something long enough, you’ll see the difference. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up if things don’t work out how you wanted the first time. You got this.
How do you stay productive? Let us know below or on social @AuburnCampusRec.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography by: Hannah C.