College is a new and exciting experience for all of us. You’re on your own for the first time in your life. Your parents are a million miles away. There’s nobody to nag you. There’s nobody telling you to clean your room and what time to be home. Your totally free for the first time in your life.
Well with freedom comes enormous responsibility. It’s up to you to get up on time. It’s up to you to go to class. It’s up to you to clean your dorm room or apartment. And it’s up to you to study and get good grades. But between social media and your actual social life how can any college student stay focused and productive with the endless distractions of today.
Here are 20 productivity tips, apps, and hacks from experts and former college students around the world.
1. Take Naps
JJ Watt, Defensive End for the Houston Texans, and all around best player in the NFL, claims that the secret to his success and productivity in the NFL is taking naps.
It’s crazy but there’s actually lot’s of nap apps. One of my favs is the Power Nap App by the VisualHype team.
2. Always Sit in the First Row
This hack is super easy. Force yourself to pay attention by sitting right in front of the professor. You can’t hide, fall as sleep, or goof around if you’re sitting in the first row.
You’re there anyways, right? Might as well make that time count.
3. Make a Short Checklist Every Day
The secret to making a good checklist is making a short checklist. Atul Gawande, Author of The Checklist Manifesto says, “The checklist cannot be lengthy. A rule of thumb some use is to keep it to between five and nine items”.
4. Write Everything Down
An easy memory trick is to write everything down in class. Our brain tends to remember the things we write down much more than the things we hear. Taking notes, makes the words more visual and helps them store in your long-term memory.
5. Ask to Record Lectures
Ask your professor if you can record their lectures. This is a very common college hack. Most professors won’t have an issue with it. Once you’ve recorded a lecture listen to the lecture while working out, eating lunch or going for a walk. Voice Recorder is a solid free choice for recording lectures.
6. Create a Study Group
We all need support and motivation. Form a study group to get the extra motivation and support you need when you’re having an off day. And of course, return the favor.
7. Engage by Asking Questions
Ramon Bautista once said, “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” So, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more you interact and engage in class, the more you will remember, and the less studying you have to do.
In fact, write your questions down and ask your questions at the appropriate time, which is sometimes after class.
8. Practice Memory Tricks
There are memory competitions every year, and despite what you think, the champions aren’t savants with rare memory gifts. They’re average people like you and me. In fact, Joshua Foer accidentally won the US Memory Championship one year just by learning simple memory tricks.
Here’s a simple trick you probably already know. Make up a song around things your trying to memorize. The same way you learned the alphabet as a kid will be the same way you can memorize and study for an upcoming quiz or test.
Give your brain a 10 minute break a couple times a day. Use apps like Headspace and Calm to learn how to meditate. You will be amazed how relaxed and carefree you feel after just 10 minutes of thinking about nothing except your breath going in and out of your lungs.
10. Don’t Take On Too Much
You have all the time in the world. Don’t overload your brain by taking too many classes and too many activities. It’s better to get all A’s in four classes than two B’s and four C’s in 6 classes.
11. Start Homework Immediately
The longer your wait the more you will forget, which will increase the amount of time you have to study. B starting your homework immediately after class, you’ll get done quicker and the work you submit will be 10x better.
12. Turn off Distractions
You can do this, I know you can. Turn off your phone while you study. Your brain doesn’t do well jumping around all the time. You need to zone out and let the new information soak in.
13. Exercise in the Morning
Navy Seals exercise in the morning because it prepares their body for the stresses of the day. If it’s good enough for the Seals, it’s good enough for college students, right?
Here’s a cool Navy Seal Fitness App I found in the app store.
14. Listen to Instrumental Music
Try listening to music without lyrics. Spotify and Apple Music are full of classical music, Jazz, and even instrumental versions of your favorite current hits.
15. Make Your Bed Each Morning
A mind trick to being productive is making your bed each morning. It gives you a sense of productivity early on, which leads to more productivity throughout the day.
16. Study in Different Places
Many artists love to switch up the environment in which they create. It’s a simple trick that helps them find more inspiration. If you find yourself distracted and unable to focus, try a different park to study in, a new coffee shop, or hidden places in your dorm or apartment.
Walking is as important as eating or breathing. In fact, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” according to Hippocrates, Father of Modern Medicine. If your stressed out, need to concentrate, or if you need to meet with your study group try walking. It’s a game changer and a huge stress reliever.
18. Don’t Check Email While Studying
Stay away from your email. Here’s why. The only reason someone would email you is because they need something from you, they have a question, or they want your attention. No matter what the reason, it will distract you and you’ll end up down a deep rabbit hole.
Email is a productivity killer!
19. Try Site Blockers
We develop bad habit and we don’t even know it. So many people instinctively open a new tab and check Facebook, Reddit, or Instagram. Use a site blocker like Block Site to help discipline yourself.
20. Reduce Your Sugar
Avoid sugar crashes by avoiding sugar. This will level your mind, body, and spirit throughout the day and you’ll keep yourself productive and efficient.
Avoid soda and sugary juices, and start drinking water, tea and even my personal fav, coffee (without the sugar). #imsoexcited
We are all different beings which means what may work for some, may not work for others. It’s important to test and find out which of these productivity tips will work best for you.
If you have any tips for staying productive at college please tell me in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, and good luck at school!