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stopwatchMany thanks to our guest writer for this article, Michael McPherson. Michael has given us a fantastic quick-fire list of all the things we should constantly be trying to work on. Check it out now:

Most articles on this subject will bang on about how you should stay away from social media, the Internet, movies, TV and drink, but the fact is that they are fun activities. If you are productive and do not waste time you can get on with movie watching and sneaking drink into your dorm. Here is how you save time and become more productive so you have more time to do the fun things in life.

Do Not Try To Multi-Task

Scientists have proven time again that people cannot multi-task more efficiently than they can do single things alone. People say that if you can pat your head and rub your belly then you are multi-tasking, but you are just switching your attention very quickly and in rhythm. If you could truly multi-task, you could spell out the alphabet with your right finger on your belly whilst spelling it backwards with your left finger on your head.

Drawers Waste Time

Aren’t drawers a nice place to put things so they are neat and away, but what if you want to find something, you have to root through drawer after drawer? It may not look as nice, but put things on shelves, from your clothes to your books. It may look like you are living in a warehouse, but you will locate missing items far quicker.

Would You Just Clean Up Already!

As a student, you know that your room is not as tidy as it should be. Maybe you are in that 5% that actually keeps things spick and span, but the chances are that you are not. If you find a place for everything and you keep putting them back in those places, then it is impossible to lose anything (unless you have a roommate).

The TV and Your Music Is NOT Helping You Concentrate

We are the generation that was brought up on TV and the Internet. You crave audio-visual stimulation and many people feel very uncomfortable in the silence without it (especially when trying to concentrate). But, it has been proven time and time again that any noise and any movement will put you off. Even the studies that claimed classical music helped people concentrate were disproved.

Tiredness Is a Productivity Killer

The worst thing about tiredness is that it sneaks up on you. You may feel like you want to do your work, study, clean or whatever, but you find yourself being unproductive. It happens because you are tired. If you try sleeping for around an hour, you will notice just how tired you were.

Set a Timer on the Boring Things You Do

If you have a very boring report to write, you can sit around staring at the walls and writing seven sentences every 40 minutes, or you can push yourself to get it done. Put on a timer and time how long each section or each chapter is taking you. Simply knowing how much time you are wasting is often the only kick in the pants a student needs.

Set a Time Limit on Boring Tasks

If the previous tip didn’t work for you, then set a time limit for your boring task. Start by saying you will spend 30 minutes on that task and then do something else. Set your timer with an alarm and work on the project for just 30 minutes. Do something else when the time is up, and then later do the same thing again. You may not get it done quickly, but the time you waste is significantly reduced.

Do You Really Need To Do It?

The weird thing about time wasting is that we spend a lot of it doing things we don’t need to be doing. Do you really need to color in the white scuffs on your shoes with a black marker? Do you really need to shred all your documents? Do you really need to arrange your movie folders into a rating system between good and bad? Maybe you are wasting time because you are doing a task you really don’t need to be doing.

Do Smaller Tasks in a Mad Rush

This is an especially good tip for when you are cleaning. You see a list of things to do in your head and you slowly and reluctantly get on with it. Instead, do it in a mad dash as if your new girlfriend/boyfriend were coming around in fifteen minutes. If you do it right, then you also get a good workout too.

Improve the Way You Do Things

A lot of the time we waste is done through being inefficient. Figure out ways of doing what you are doing but faster. For example, later in this article there is a tip to use computer keyboard shortcuts. It may only save you a few seconds every day, but that time is going to add up, especially if you make timesaving improvements in the rest of your life and daily routine.

Learn the Most Important Word You Will Ever Hear


Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

You often have to work on a desktop computer when you are a student. If you do not know the keyboard shortcuts then you are wasting a lot of time. Things such as CTRL+A (select all), CTRL+X (cut), CTRL+C (copy), CTRL+V (paste) are simply vital. Learn what button you should press to start the spellchecker automatically or the word counter automatically.

Budget Your Time Through Your Week

This seems like a waste of time on its own, but it helps stop that little list of things-to-do from accumulating in your head. Plus, if you do not do the things on your list, then you can see where you are really wasting your time. If you are smart, you will learn how to overcome this habit of time wasting.

Use Just 45 Minutes To Do Your Errands Per Day

If you were to budget your time through the week, consider how much time you want to spend on doing errands. Some people can take half a day to do their shopping, and six hours to do the cleaning. If you have errands, then spend only 45 minutes doing errands every day. Once the time limit is up you stop what you are doing and you save it for the next day.

Put On Motivational Workout Music When You Can’t Get Out Of Bed

If you are having one of those serious “Cannot be bothered” days, then you are probably tired. You should try to get some sleep. However, if you have things that need to be done and you cannot spend your time sleeping, then go onto YouTube and find some motivational workout music. It may take a while searching through all the crap ones, but eventually you will come across a great one and it will pull you out of your slump like an electromagnet pulling an iron nail from a leg wound.

Healthy Meals REALLY Do Make You More Productive

It sounds like something your grandma would tell you so that you eat the limp runner beans she has over boiled, but the fact is that eating a vegetable diet for a week will improve your mood significantly. Include a variety of vegetables and fruit and do not just eat the same set of fruit and vegetables every day. After a week, you will feel physically better and your mood will become far more productive. It is a true fact and you should try it at least once to test it out.

Author’s bio:
Michael McPherson is a graduate student from Boston University, freelance blogger and a regular contributor at You may follow him on Twitter: @McPhersy


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