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Three Tips for Increasing Productivity

Written by Rayane Taroua (SAS '24)

Do you ever tell yourself, “this is going to be a productive day,” then find yourself scrolling through TikTok for hours on end? I can personally say that this has been me too many times to count. I have always been a procrastinator, and the initial transition to online learning had only made that worse. This semester, however, with the help of technology, a detailed planner, and my trusty timer, I have developed some new tools to be productive and organized, three of which I am going to share with you today. Feel free to use one of these tips, all of them, or none at all. My goal is to share what I do in hopes that you can adapt it to your needs to become a productive, organized boss!

Tip 1: Set Goals!

To set yourself up for a productive day, it is important to have set goals that you wish to achieve. To do so, I use the "big three and little three" method. Everyday in my journal, I write down my "big three" goals that I hope to achieve that day. These are reasonable tasks that will take me no more than two hours each. The important thing about the big three is that no matter what, I have to get them done. Sometimes, this means staying up a little later than usual, waking up early, or reducing my two hour lunch break. But in the end, I can check off at least three things and feel productive! The "little three" are smaller tasks that would be nice to get done if I am feeling particularly productive, but aren't necessarily crucial to complete and can be pushed back a day if needed. By writing down my big three and little three, I set clear goals for the day, and it feels great when I am able to check them off.

Tip 2: Keep an Organized Planner!

Another important tip is to have an organized planner. You can keep a weekly planner, daily agenda or monthly calendar. Personally, I love using google calendar. In my calendar, I put in all of my classes and meeting times. I also put in time to sleep. This is really important because I always ensure I am getting my complete 8 hours of rest. Beyond classes, meetings, and sleep, I sometimes note if I am going out with friends to dinner or a quick coffee date. Keeping a diligent calendar helps me stay on top of all my commitments and ensure I am not taking on more than I can chew. It also allows me to easily see when there are pockets of time in my day when I can relax and get some work done.

Tip 3: Use a timer/stopwatch!

This past year, I started using a timer when working. I find it easier to convince myself to work for an hour straight as opposed to doing an assignment that might take what feels like an eternity to complete. At the start of each work session I set a goal of one to two hours. When the timer is running, there are no distractions, just work for the full time period. If I have to stop for any reason, like responding to an urgent text or going to the bathroom, I pause the timer. After the period is over, I give myself a 15-30 minute break depending on the amount of time that I spent diligently working. An alternative to setting your own time goals is the Pomodoro method. With the Pomodoro method you work for 25 minute intervals with 5 minute breaks. Whatever timer intervals you choose, this is a great way to stay productive.

These are just a few tools that I use to stay productive and organize but remember these are developed skills. Don’t be too hard on yourself, as long as you keep practicing you too can be a productive organized BOSS!

About the Author:

Rayane Taroua ('24) is an undergraduate student at the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a member of the Wharton Women Dollar Scholars Committee during the Spring semester of her freshman year. For any questions, please contact us below.

Photos by Zen Chung and Bich Tran from Pexels

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