We Should Aim To Be Less “Busy” And More Productive This Semester

Here's how.

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Welcome to adulthood, where conversations are just busyness competitions. You tell people how busy and tired you are and they tell you how busy and tired they are and so on and so forth.

We’re conditioned to thinking that doing more must mean achieving more. Our feeds are full of “8 things successful people do every morning” and over-quoted mantras of, “tired, stressed, but well dressed.” But this ideal is just a way of placating and decorating the fact that a lot of us are actually struggling. A national survey by Headspace found that 83.2 per cent of university students report feeling stressed, and 82.1 per cent are lacking in motivation.

I, like many of my peers, feed my need to succeed by triple-booking myself and refusing to address my problematic sleeping pattern. But this kind of behaviour is doing nothing but bringing me closer to a burnout. After a certain point, the race car won’t run on E10 anymore. I know I need to scale back, and you might too.

Let Go Of Your Rigid Idea Of Success

There’s this idea drilled into us that there’s some kind of equation for hours worked equals success achieved. There’s also the idea that once you’re out of high school, you need to go full steam ahead. The reality is, most people are going to take three left turns before they take a right one, and some of us are even going to chuck a U-ey after we’ve passed the tolls. Just because you’ve done it quicker doesn’t mean you’ve done it right.

What I’m saying is, on both a small and large scale, how you see and reward yourself for success is crucial to how productive you are. Everyone seems to be so busy, but under that #onthegrind post, who is actually getting shit done? The appearance of busyness does not yield productivity. When you realise everyone around you is going at their own pace, you’ll realise you don’t have to pump the accelerator so hard.

Learn Single Tasking

Yeah, I know, it sounds stupid because in the real world everything you have to do is of equal importance and it all should have been done yesterday. But, there’s a lot to be said for isolating tasks to focus entirely on one thing.

It’s time to refocus.

Do you ever have 18 tabs open on a browser and one day it all shuts down, and your computer asks you if you’d like to restore tabs and you click “no” because you just need that clean slate? Well, you probably only needed one in the first place! This is the process of single-tasking – you remove all distractions so you can do one thing at a time. It’s time to refocus.

Give Time Away

Being more charitable makes you more productive. Donating time to Vinnies won’t give you more hours in the day but you’ll feel like you have more. A study by a Harvard University professor found that people who donate their time to others felt more “time affluent” than those who had used that free time on themselves. Yes, these people have less time to use, but they feel more effective which enhances productivity.

So this semester, give some time away to help a struggling peer, volunteer, or visit nan in the nursing home – and you’ll feel a boost of accomplishment which will in turn increase your productivity.

(Lead image: Parks and Recreation/NBC)