At the start of every new semester, I’m basically glowing with energy. I want to do everything and since I’m at a low stress point in the year, it feels like I can.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t last forever.
Once the slump hits, we all need some strategies to keep us focused and productive, and reharness all that energy – maybe I can help.
My Best Productivity Methods
Cold Turkey + SelfControl
If you’re just can’t stop getting distracted by the wonders of the internet, try Cold Turkey for Windows, or SelfControl for Mac. These programs block your access to certain sites, so you can kiss distractions goodbye. Just list the sites you’d like to block, and how long you want them blocked for, and the program keeps you off – even if you restart your computer. If you tend to get caught in the black hole of Buzzfeed or Wikipedia loops, this could be your saving grace.
Staying focused for hours and hours is a really nice idea… that just doesn’t work for me. I’m too distractable. If you feel me, the Pomodoro method might be for you. Work for twenty-five minutes, then take a five minute break – every fourth break is half an hour.
This method gives you enough time to get shit done actually do some meaningful work, but also gives you enough break time to keep your brain happy. I tried it once and didn’t care for it, but Morgan swears by it, so I gave it another shot. Now I’m a believer, too!
I love my phone. Her name is Lola and she lets me do many things – like procrastinate endlessly. If your phone kills your focus, consider an app like Forest, which disables your phone for a certain period of time while you get your work done. Forest discourages you from using your phone by growing a tree for you – if you use any other apps, the tree dies. Nothing like negative reinforcement to keep you on task!
The BuJo is my gospel and I will preach it until we all reach the promised land, whatever that entails. I love the bullet journal system because it gives you a consistent way to track what you need to get done – and what’s falling through the cracks.
Your bullet journal can be as extensive or as simple as you like – it all depends on what you want and need. If you tend to forget things that you don’t get done, or just want some more structure in your life, the bullet journal is for you.
Still at a loss? Find someone willing to be your accountability buddy, and let your sense of shame motivate you. This person might want you to hold them accountable for one thing or another, too. But even if it’s not mutual, find someone who will let you text email them the things you need to get done, and again later letting them know what you actually accomplished. Knowing that a living, breathing human being could call you out if you fail is great motivation.
If you’re battling a slump, try at least one of these productivity methods. Some will work better for you than others will, and the trick is finding which ones are most effective. But once you get there? Totally worth it. Because all that motivation feels great.