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5 Productivity Hacks to Jump-Start the Semester


Productivity is about motivation, time management, and focus. Anybody can take steps to increase their productivity if they want to improve and implement productive habits and find which habits work best for them.

For students adjusting to the new semester with new classes and professors, getting into the swing of things can take some time. Starting the semester strong is important, as it will set the tone for the rest of the semester. With the right productivity habits, you can start the semester off strong and have a successful semester.

Take regular breaks

It is proven that taking regular breaks increases productivity. Taking breaks refreshes the mind and eases stress levels. As long as you are not letting breaks be a way for you to procrastinate and are keeping yourself in check, breaks should increase your productivity. Some positive break activities include taking a walk, stretching, or calling a friend. The Pomodoro method is a strategy that you can use to allocate your breaks. The Pomodoro method can help you stay focused and mentally fresh. There are five steps to the Pomodoro method- you first pick a task, set a 25-minute timer, work on the task until the timer is up, take a five-minute break, and finally for every Pomodoros, take a longer 15-30 minute break.

Make a to-do list

Making a to-do list with at least five tasks in the order of importance to you which you want to accomplish during the day can be a good way to help you stay on track writing tasks down also frees your mind and saves mental energy, as you don’t have to remember them. Making this to-do list the day before can be effective, as you will be starting the day with your priorities and expectations in check. Crossing out the tasks which you have accomplished can give you the motivation to go on accomplishing your other tasks.

Block Distractions

Finding a place where you are free from distraction is also very important to maintaining productivity. Finding a place that works for you, whether that be a library, a coffee shop, or your desk, can be effective because the study space is only associated with school work and would be less likely to be under disturbance. Another way to block distractions is by silencing your phone and putting it out of sight. A University of Texas at Austin study found that having your smartphone within reach, even if you are not using it, can still distract you and drain your cognitive resources because you are actively trying not to reach your phone. Finally, an effective way to block distractions is by blocking certain websites/apps. Some website blockers include Freedom, StayFocused, LeechBlock, etc. These websites help you increase your productivity by limiting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites.

Learn to Prioritize

Learning how to prioritize and implement prioritization strategies can help you make most of your time. To prioritize, you need to know what your goals are. Having a clear idea of what it is that you are working towards, whether that be a college degree, a promotion, or a project, will make it easier for you to decide which tasks are most important and prioritize them effectively. Also, knowing your deadlines can help you prioritize, and having visibility of your deadlines can help you decide which tasks are important and which tasks you should complete first.

Stop Multitasking

Focusing on one thing at a time is more effective than multitasking and not paying proper attention to any one of them. Research suggests that only 2% of people can multitask effectively and multitasking leads to a 40% drop in productivity. Multitasking also increases stress levels, our brain is only meant to focus on one task at a time, so when you are trying to multitask this adds the pressure of switching from one task to another and the brain takes more time to complete these tasks, which is why it’s best to focus on one task at a time.


Productivity takes practice and figuring out which productivity methods work best for you. These are some common methods you can implement to improve your productivity, but with your research, you can find some more tricks and methods. Trying to implement these strategies and being consistent with implementing them can make a big difference in your productivity levels.

By Ranvitha Divi

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