Moving on to what to do is about becoming intentional with your time and making sure that all this time doing something you don’t really want to do most of the time is worth it!
Take some time each day to prime your minset for the big tasks of the day
Building on the creation of a morning routine, something you have TO DO is to take some time each day to prime your mindset to take on the biggest tasks for the day. Your Focused Few so to speak. This can even be a building block to the planning that you have implemented the night before. Re-visit the list of tasks that you have to do for the day ahead and take some time to break them down and create a simple roadmap of how you will achieve your biggest tasks for the day.
Don’t leave your most important tasks to the end of the day, face them head on
In addition to the above…do not leave the Focused Few until the end of the day. You have to face them head on. As Mark Twain says…
“If the first thing you do in the morning is to eat the frog, then you can continue your day with the satisfaction of knowing that this is probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day“
However, in this instance it wont be the satisfaction of completing the worst thing you will do all day…it will be the satisfaction knowing that you completed the most important thing.
Remember procrastination and distraction will not serve you and is something not to do. Instead eat that frog and focus on getting your big three for the day completed early in the day and watch it completely transform your day as you begin to take the regular small steps that will take you on the path to reaching your ultimate goals.
Be disciplined and don’t reward yourself until you have really achieved something
Discipline. A dirty word for students. A word more typically associated with conformity and control. People paint discipline as a negative thing as it is perceived to be something that is outside of their control and is instead something being forced upon us by an external force. But this is definitely not what we are talking about. The to do that we want you to harness is the intrinsic discipline that you and only you are responsible for and in control of. Take back control of your days through creating a habit of discipline and self control. Delay the gratification and you will soon find yourself achieving much greater things in a shorter period of time.
And Finally…Use productivity techniques to get more done
One of the key elements to getting more done is harnessing the power of productivity. Linked a little bit to discipline but developing the correct techniques and skills, to do productivity is to do more with less. Whether it be to pass the degree that you never thought you could, or to take your grade from a 2:1 to a first, productivity is going to be your secret sauce in achieving these goals. One of the biggest to do’s on your journey of academic success and fulfilment.
For these productivity techniques/hacks, below are some of our favourite
Eat the Frog…
This is where everyone should start. The reason being, your “frog” is probably the one overriding item on your to-do list that creates the most turbulence in your mind that leads to procrastination, distraction and basically…not getting stuff done. Select your most important task for the day and get that done first…no questions asked.
This is an extremely simple one and a good one for anyone looking for a “time-based” productivity technique. The first and most important task is to set yourself a task that you are going to work on while you Pomodoro…without a defined task, any productivity is doomed from the start! So lets get into it, here’s how you Pomodoro…
- Select the one task that you will remain focused on during your productivity blast.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and make sure you focus on your single task until the time rings.
- When your session ends mark off your first Pomodoro block. And have a little celebration if you like!
- Next, take the time to enjoy a 5 minute break. This will allow you to recharge ready for another focused block on your selected task.
- Repeat the process with another 25 minute block of focus to 5 minutes of rest.
- Repeat this no more than four to five times. Once you have completed this many focused blocks take a longer break to fully recharge your batteries…you deserve it!
And that’s it. As simple as that. Be committed to your time blocks and watch yourself get more done with less effort.
Zen to Done (ZTD)
If Pomodoro doesn’t quite, do it for you, then you can always level up to the Zen to Done productivity hack. Created by Leo Babauta, the Zen to Done habits harnesses simplicity within them and does not actually set any rigid boundaries that you have to adhere to. As students, less rules is normally very welcome.
ZTD focuses on the doing of a task in the here and now instead of planning blocks of time and breaks throughout the day. This allows it to be more flexible allowing everyone to make it work for their personal learning style.
Within ZTD there are 10 “Habits” that are to be followed. Our advice at Semester is to start by picking a few of the habits that you think can be most transformational to your studies. Learn and practice these daily for up to 30 days so that they become integrated within your new and productive lifestyle. If at that point you think that you can take on more of the 10 ZTD habits, slowly begin to introduce them and keep on levelling up your new found productivity power. So, without further a do, here are the 10 habits of ZTD that you can start implementing within your studies right now…
- Follow a simply and trusted planning framework (the Semester Student Planner is a great place to start for this one…)
- Create Routine
- Find your Passion
The Eisenhower Matrix
This is a productivity tool that is used to disseminate the trivial many from the vital few. Much like Greg McKeowons “Essentialism” method, the Eisenhower Matrix focuses on helping you to make sure you are working on the tasks that will provide you with the greatest possible payoff and keep you at your most effective.
It is so common for us to get bogged down in menial tasks or actually doing busy work that is helping others rather than our own cause.
The Einsenhower Matrix is just that…a Matrix. A simple 4 box layout that determines whether a task is any two of the following;
- Urgent & Important
- Not Urgent & Important
- Urgent & Unimportant
- Not Urgent & Unimportant
Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at option 4 and think why on earth would I complete a task that it not urgent or important. But, lets be honest…we do this all the time! The reason being is that we don’t take that split second to step back before doing something to think “is this really going to help me achieve my long term outcomes, or am I just doing it for a little shot of instant gratification?”.