How to be productive in a small space

Currently the safest option for studying is studying at home, and if you’re like me your home study space may not be that large. As a student you may only have your room within your parent’s place, a dorm room or a small apartment as as rent in Toronto isn’t exactly the cheapest. Small spaces can sometimes seem limiting when they hinder productivity. While doing online courses, I learned some tips and tricks for staying productive at home:


1. Schedule in daily time to move your body

Sometimes you can be in the zone doing school work for so long that you forget to take breaks and exercise your body. Although it can be great to get a lot of work done in one sitting, it’s not the best habit as it can be harmful to your health and eventually it may make lead to you burning out. A break will allow you to refresh your mind and return with new and better ideas. I don’t know about you, but I always have a new burst of energy to continue with an assignment and avoid procrastination after working out. Try going for a run or consider investing in a mat and doing a quick 15 minute YouTube workout from users like Blogilates. You’ll be surprised how much better your mind works after!


2. Meal prep at the beginning of the week

It can be a real time-saver if you do the majority of your meal prep at the beginning of the week. For example, if you’re planning on making chicken for dinner, you might as well just cook five chicken breasts and save some for the week. You can still switch up what you’re eating by changing what you’re making with your protein source. For example, you can make chicken tacos or greek salad with chicken. While you’re cooking chicken you can make extra add ons that can be utilized throughout the week. This may be things like rice or roasted potatoes. I’m often a victim of being too lazy to wait 45 minutes for rice and I just end up making minute rice which isn’t as great health-wise. I’ve learned that rice lasts quite well in the fridge for a couple of days, so if you bite the bullet and make a large batch at the beginning of the week, you’ll save yourself time, money and negative health effects! Having meal prep ready in the fridge is also the best motivation for getting you to stick to your health goals as you won’t want to eat out as your already prepped food will go bad.


3. Plan for socialization

Talking to friends or family is important for your mental health and hence your productivity. Planing for socialization includes acknowledging that you need time for social activities in your day but setting guidelines for how much time you have available to socialize based on your deadlines. If you plan ahead and work a bit on your assignments that have deadlines farther away, you’ll be surprised at how you can fit in two hours or more of friend-time each day. This may be over the phone or in person, but either way the energy you get from talking to other people can keep you motivated.


4. Prioritize close due dates as opposed to big projects

Large projects tend to be due near the end of the semester and can take all semester long. It’s easy to focus on doing parts of big projects as opposed to approaching deadlines. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to work on large projects ahead of time, but sometimes overworking on these projects, especially if they’re group projects, can be counterproductive if you’re putting off your smaller assignments that are important for achieving overall high grades. Try to set daily limits for the amount of time you spend on large semester-end projects, and focus the remainder of your schoolwork time on upcoming deadlines and tests.


5. Maintain a regular sleep schedule

I tend to do some of my best work at night as I’m a night owl, but I’ve learned to set a maximum on how late I stay up, even if I’m still going strong. In the past, I have been so motivated to finish assignments that I stayed up till 6 a.m. but afterward, my sleep schedule was so messed up that I was not in the mood to work on my next deadlines. I now stop myself from staying up past a time where I can’t get eight hours of sleep because it’s better to end on a high than a low. When you leave your assignment at a part where it will easily flow into the next idea, it gives you something easy to come back to, and it will make you want to work on the assignment the next day. In addition, it will keep the workflow going on to the next assignment.


Featured Image: Little Coffee Fox

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