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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

5 'Do's for Working More Productively

5 'Do's for Working Harder

It's been a good 18 or so years, but I'm just about reaching the end of my occupation as a student. While this fills me with feelings of spectacular fear and dread, it's also interesting to reflect back on the years and see how my work ethic has progressed, particularly since the tender age of 16. I like to think I'm a hard worker, so I decided to collate some of the main tips I tell myself when work's gotta be done. As an arts student, most of the work I deal with comes in the form of big fat essays, but these are some general 'do's I like to follow that can also be used in the face of exams and life beyond education.

DO find a productive environment to work in. For me, this is the library. I love the studious atmosphere and being surrounded by people writing essays or revising for exams, which motivates me to work even harder. I know that for some other people it can be a café or their bedroom - whatever works for you. I used to try and do my school coursework in front of the TV and, as much as I'd have liked it to, it really didn't work out very well.

DO organise your time. Because I have such few contact hours a week, I seriously have to step up my time management skills. I've taken to scheduling in at least 4 hours a day, Monday to Friday, working on my dissertation in the library. It means when I come home, I know I can relax and feel completely guilt-free. While I was at school and in sixth form, I wouldn't start coursework until around 9pm and I'd often end up working until past midnight just so I could get it done on time. I wish I could go back and tell myself to organise my time better, as it's made a world of difference!

DO prioritise your work. When I have mounting deadlines piling up, I compile a little check list of everything that has to be done and of what importance it is to me. I like to try and do the tasks that will take the least amount of time to complete first, because I love the motivating and satisfying feeling of ticking off that great big 'To Do' list. It can also work in reverse, so focus first on whatever's going to be the most challenging/time-consuming. Then you can ease yourself away from that ominous, looming feeling you get around a hand-in date or exam date. 

DO as much relevant research as you can. I can't count how many times I've been given a piece of work and panicked and gone 'But I don't know anything about this?!'. So instead of launching straight into trying to understand what I have to learn, I like to do a little research and read up on the issues surrounding the topic at hand. Whether it's an exam topic or an essay question that you really dislike, it's important to  broaden your perspective and learn as many things as you can that help you see the bigger picture, which will then make you feel more comfortable and confident in your writing.

DO procrastinate. Can't focus? Nothing staying in your head? If work really isn't going well then don't stress about it - find something else to do that's productive but not work-related. I like reading a book, cleaning my room, going for a walk or spending some time on my blog (I have 9000 words of a dissertation left to write and yet here I am, writing a post on how to work hard). Then you can come back to your work with a clear head and feeling like you've still achieved something. Unfortunately this sense of fulfilment doesn't come from spending an hour on Facebook, so choose how you procrastinate wisely.

Now after all that I really have no more excuses and need to get back to work on my dissertation.. I hope some of these might help you or motivate you next time you have a deadline, but what do you like to do to push yourself to work that little bit more productively?


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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

5 'Do's for Working More Productively

5 'Do's for Working Harder

It's been a good 18 or so years, but I'm just about reaching the end of my occupation as a student. While this fills me with feelings of spectacular fear and dread, it's also interesting to reflect back on the years and see how my work ethic has progressed, particularly since the tender age of 16. I like to think I'm a hard worker, so I decided to collate some of the main tips I tell myself when work's gotta be done. As an arts student, most of the work I deal with comes in the form of big fat essays, but these are some general 'do's I like to follow that can also be used in the face of exams and life beyond education.

DO find a productive environment to work in. For me, this is the library. I love the studious atmosphere and being surrounded by people writing essays or revising for exams, which motivates me to work even harder. I know that for some other people it can be a café or their bedroom - whatever works for you. I used to try and do my school coursework in front of the TV and, as much as I'd have liked it to, it really didn't work out very well.

DO organise your time. Because I have such few contact hours a week, I seriously have to step up my time management skills. I've taken to scheduling in at least 4 hours a day, Monday to Friday, working on my dissertation in the library. It means when I come home, I know I can relax and feel completely guilt-free. While I was at school and in sixth form, I wouldn't start coursework until around 9pm and I'd often end up working until past midnight just so I could get it done on time. I wish I could go back and tell myself to organise my time better, as it's made a world of difference!

DO prioritise your work. When I have mounting deadlines piling up, I compile a little check list of everything that has to be done and of what importance it is to me. I like to try and do the tasks that will take the least amount of time to complete first, because I love the motivating and satisfying feeling of ticking off that great big 'To Do' list. It can also work in reverse, so focus first on whatever's going to be the most challenging/time-consuming. Then you can ease yourself away from that ominous, looming feeling you get around a hand-in date or exam date. 

DO as much relevant research as you can. I can't count how many times I've been given a piece of work and panicked and gone 'But I don't know anything about this?!'. So instead of launching straight into trying to understand what I have to learn, I like to do a little research and read up on the issues surrounding the topic at hand. Whether it's an exam topic or an essay question that you really dislike, it's important to  broaden your perspective and learn as many things as you can that help you see the bigger picture, which will then make you feel more comfortable and confident in your writing.

DO procrastinate. Can't focus? Nothing staying in your head? If work really isn't going well then don't stress about it - find something else to do that's productive but not work-related. I like reading a book, cleaning my room, going for a walk or spending some time on my blog (I have 9000 words of a dissertation left to write and yet here I am, writing a post on how to work hard). Then you can come back to your work with a clear head and feeling like you've still achieved something. Unfortunately this sense of fulfilment doesn't come from spending an hour on Facebook, so choose how you procrastinate wisely.

Now after all that I really have no more excuses and need to get back to work on my dissertation.. I hope some of these might help you or motivate you next time you have a deadline, but what do you like to do to push yourself to work that little bit more productively?


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Post a Comment

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