August? It's August...
Journey to Chic Chig #1: 10 Steps for Productivity
----Time Management, Energy Management, Finance Management- the trifecta to success---
So August has rolled around. Is it me or does it feel like we just missed April, May, June, and July?
So let me address the giant elephant in the room. C-O-R-O-N-A! I'm sure you can all relate when I say that 2020 has ruined everyone's summer plans.
The news continues to flood us with unapologizing streams of updates on the current pandemic. Just as we think things are getting better, C-bae just comes right up and slaps us back into reality.
Being a student - yes I have not graduated yet, yes I am still writing my thesis, and no! this is not ideal- is not easy when everything is closed.
The average day-to-day life of Anko would usually go something like this:
08:00 wake up
10:00 study (at a coffee shop)
12:00 eat lunch (often out somewhere)
18:00 go home and eat dinner (in the kitchen)
20:00 watch YouTube (in the living room)
24:00 Get ready for sleep... and sleep!
Now, in all honesty, my schedule has not changed all that much. I still watch YouTube and still eat food. BUT, the biggest problem has been the actual study part (note how I have written the location for each activity). Here is why.
Studying in the same space as your bed, or somewhere without a desk, every day kills motivation, hurts your posture, and makes you want to just crawl right back into bed. On top of that, depending on the country you are in, re-designing your bedroom might not be so easy with limited income.
Now my chic girls and boys, let me tell you, I do not like losing focus one bit. Once I fall off of the focus wagon, that is it! I am off track for at least a few months. But with a heady 12,000 thesis deadline looming over me, I have to do something.
Throughout my student life, I have learned the importance of having a designated study space or an occasional change in your study environment. Having a "spot" for different activities helped me concentrate because it built subconscious habits that naturally allowed me to do, what I was supposed to do at any given time.
Just changing what is around you can oftentimes refresh your mind and help you to refocus (click here to get more insight). Or better yet, being in a distraction-free space can stop you from thinking about what you could be doing instead of reading about Samsung's latest corporate scandal (Which, if you want to know, this is what happened).
So what have I done to overcome this? The easy answer is "I haven't overcome it" but really it's more like "I am trying my best with what I have got". Before you judge me and start questioning why I am even writing if I haven't actually solved the problem. Let me walk you through my 7-day "refocus" journey (It has helped, I actually wake up before 10 now!).
7 Day Refocus Journey
This is War!
I wake up, my mind is all fuzzy, I check my phone it reads "12:04"... The first thing that I do is check my e-mails, scroll through Instagram posts and before I know it, it's 13:36.
Not really the perfect Chic Chig lifestyle. This is where the fight began.
Truth be told, I am not a morning person by birth. To the people who naturally wake up at 8 and sleep before midnight, I wish I was more like you!
After contemplating my life which has led me to this lazy Monday morning for a few hours, I decided to retrace back to the most productive point in my life. After thinking over a few things, I noticed that there were a few habits that really helped me stay on track. So, I naturally decided to re-adopt these habits to get my life back onto the chic chig track!
10 Habits for Productivity
1. Listen to a podcast as you do your morning routine
This one is probably a little more personal. But listening to a motivation podcast as soon as I wake up really helps to set the mood for the day. Especially, if you have a favorite podcast, just listening to their voice can give a little dopamine boost!
2. Make a To-Do List that is realistic
Sometimes we can be overloaded with things to do, on other days we seem to have nothing to do. Yet in reality, every one of us makes, on average, 35,000 decisions on an average day (Here is the study). This can cause what is called "decision fatigue" and makes us feel confused. Having a clear goal for the day can reduce some of the stress. So making a clear to-do list can tell us what to do and exactly when to do it.
3. Walk when you are sleepy
Following on the theme of focus, when our attention span runs out, we can sometimes feel sleepy or tired. So to combat this, you can go out for a walk or do some light exercise to refresh your mind, burn a few calories and, grab a quick coffee. (This can also be done alongside the POMODORO focus technique)
4. Make yourself real food
We are at home, we have tasty snacks. Ramen, cookies, chocolate, cheese, you know what your guilty pleasure is. This can be mindless eating just to pass the time, you might just have a craving. But to keep our immune system high, and energy just as high we need real food. Grab that egg and cut up some lettuce. Let's keep healthy and chic~
5. Listen to background music
This one is also pretty useful to keep your focus mood on! Changing the background music every hour or so can make it seem like your somewhere different without actually having to change the place you are studying or working in. Just make sure it doesn't have any lyrics... you'll end up humming along to it and your mind just won't be able to focus on the task in front of you
6. Set a timer
Ding! The cookies are done! I'm sorry it wasn't the cookies you've put in the oven. It was your focus time~ If you are anything like me, there are definitely times when you have spent more than an hour on a single page, reading back and forth, making notes etc. etc. etc. To avoid wasting time, you can set a timer to give a time frame. This way you'll know exactly what to achieve in your given time slot. Time is money baby!
7. Give yourself a break - you deserve it
1-6 has been heavy. I know... even writing this... it made me anxious and sort of want to give up. So give yourself a break, take a breather! We are not robots, we have a mind that is unruly and it's a curious little thing. It wants to play, it wants to go online shopping, it wants to watch a tv show. Let it, and let yourself do what you love. All work and no play makes you sad.
8. Set Core Working hours!
We know breaks are nice to have, but we also know that our breaks might turn into a whole day of laziness. So an easy way to overcome this is to set "core hours". You can definitely choose when that time period is going to be and how long they will be. But this is a way to mentally compartmentalize your study space by creating a separation between fun time and serious time~ Mine is between 10:00 and 17:00. Outside of your core times, you can do everything and anything. The sky is the limit.
9. Keep your room clean!
Always, I must stress, Always! keep your environment clean. Not only will it look pretty, but it will lower stress, help you to stay focused, and remove distractions.
10. Set a corner to study
Okay, it doesn't have to be a corner. But make a habit of studying in your 'special study area'. It doesn't have to be anyway special or fancy. But it has to be a place where you feel comfortable.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
10 steps! 1 week, did I do it? Was it a success?
Yes! It was. It wasn't perfect. But the wheel was thrown into motion. Out of the 10 steps, I have stuck to 8. The biggest challenge was sticking to my timers. Sometimes I will be in the middle of a sentence or having a huge rush of motivation to continue writing or reading. So the timer actually distracted at times. But you know what, be flexible. Listen to what your body tells you and if you have improved by even 1% from yesterday, then it is a success. Adjust and adapt to yourself. Learn your likes and dislikes and what works best for you.
As always, stay chic, stay on the direction towards your goals, and always try your best.
If this article has helped you or made you feel a little bit more motivated then, that, is also a little success.