Simple Ways To Increase Your Productivity (& Grades!)

Lifestyle, missjessamy, Study

I graduated university back in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Mass Communication (Public Relations & Advertising). I am so proud of my acheivement and the effort I put into my degree to graduate with distinction at 20 years old. However, this was not easy and university really challenged me in both good and bad ways. Nevertheless, through my degree I feel I developed some really great study and time management skills that allowed me to meet all my degree requirments, work a full on job and still have time for friends, family and travel. 

So, now that school is back in session in Australia and university is almost back as well, I thought it was the perfect time to give you some simple ways you can increase your productivity that aim to improve your workflow and grades. All of these methods are ones that I used during my school and university years and are ones I still use now in my personal and work life. So if you want to ensure your 2020 is super productive then keep on reading!

#1 – Find Out What Kind Of Learner You Are

For me, I am a Kinaesthetic Learner which means I learn by doing. I am an active learner and love to immerse myself in the learning experience to extract the information from the situation. By understanding what kind of learner you are, you will be able to streamline your study approaches, so they benefit you.

Four Types Of Learners:

Visual:
  • Learn by visualising and seeing the content.
Auditory:
  • Learn by listening and hearing information rather than seeing or writing it out.
Reading/Writing:
  • Learn by reading content and writing about it.
Kinaesthetic:
  • Learn by doing and prefer to be immersed in their learning experience.

Keep in mind that you can be a combination of types of learners, or your learning style can change over time. But just try and identify the one the aligns with your learning needs the most at this moment in time so you can maximise learning effectiveness.

Understand How To Apply Your Learning Style Into Education

Sometimes you have got to get crafty when translating materials into your learning style. But this process is one that you must do to enhance your educational experience and to ensure you are as productive as you can be with your precious time.

So if you are a Reading/Writing Learner, then ensuring your lectures are transcribed into notes/flashcards is vital. Or if you are a Kinaesthetic Learner, then do practice quizzes to enhance your recall of content.

#2- Be Real With Your Schedule 

It is so great to write a massive schedule/ to-do list and be optimistic about what you can achieve in your day, but you HAVE to be realistic. This is vital because (on the flip side) there is nothing worse than trying to wind down at night knowing you have not achieved what you wanted to. I hate ending my day with an incomplete jobs list – I feel flat and disappointed; ultimately losing some my motivation.

Now being real with what you can achieve in a day does take some trial and error. And it is essential to be kind to yourself when setting daily or weekly expectations so you can feel accomplished and maintain your motivation. But ensuring you are honest with yourself with your time management and daily ability is crucial to the promotion and integration of productivity in your everyday life.

My Tip:

When beginning your scheduling journey, set low expectations for your days. This will allow you to gauge how much you can realistically achieve in your day.

#3- Write Out Your To Do’s

Do it on some paper, on your phone, in your diary, on some notepaper or on the back of your hand – whatever writable surface you have!

There is nothing more satisfying than ticking off to-do items on your list as you go through your day. And it also ensures you stay on track and use your time wisely when it comes to completing tasks based on their requirements.

My Tip:

Write EVERYTHING on your daily to-do list. This includes going to the gym, replying to emails, making your bed, washing your hair etc. Not only does this approach promote a more satisfying end of the day, feeling when you tick everything off. But, it gives you a realistic and visual overview of everything you need to fit into your day, so you can move items around if need be (and that’s okay)- DO NOT OVER COMMIT!

#4- Find Out When and Where You Are Most Productive

University libraries, cafes, at home, study groups, public parks, work offices etc. These are all places that I utilised to get my university work done.

Overall, I prefer to work alone at home as I find I can keep myself focused. However, when you are in the throws of intense study, a change of scenery can reinvigorate your motivation, allows you to refocus and overall enhance your productivity.

Often I would get myself out of the house and head into my university’s library or even go to work to use one of the empty offices as alternate study spaces that I was comfortable in and where I felt I could hone in on my work.

Finding places where you are most productive is vital for your workflow and like most things in this list, requires a level of trial and error. I am not productive everywhere, nor am I always productive at home. When you are consistently working, you need to be prepared to be fluid with your study spaces and be ready to move around.

#5- Read Your Feedback & Ask Questions

Life Lesson: learn from your mistakes to enable personal growth and and accept that effort will not always equated to your envisaged reward.

Okay, so you didn’t do as well as you had planned on a project? How you react and process this plays a BIG role in your ability to grow and improve your future work.

It’s easy to get annoyed and upset when a grade or some feedback is not as good as you wanted after you put so much effort in.

However, if you’re going to understand where you went wrong so you can improve and learn, you NEED to read or request feedback. And that means immersing yourself in the feedback by asking questions and then integrating this into future work.

I have always been one of those students and people in general, where I question everything because I feel the need to understand every possible aspect. This need to know where I went wrong really came out during my final year of school and through my university degree because I was always putting 110% effort into my work, but my grades were not always reflecting that. However, I learned quickly that although it was sometimes time-consuming and a hassle, whenever I requested feedback, I always felt better. The feedback always powered me through my next project and made me more aware and motivated.

#6- Base Your Timeline Schedule On Their Requirements

If you have four tasks that need to be done that will each take 2-3 hours each, is it realistic that you get them all done in one day? Probably not. And even if you did, would you be in the best and most productive headspace to do them all in one day along with your other day to day requirements as well?

These are all vital aspects to consider when crafting your daily to-do schedules.

To combat this need to get everything done all at once, I recommend writing a weekly to-do list that states all of the big items that need to get done. And then break these up into your daily agenda. This approach ensures you remain fully aware of what you need to get done but reducing the risk of feeling overwhelmed and losing your motivation for day to day tasks.

#7- Commit To Yourself

Overall, If YOU want to improve your productivity, grades and overall success, then you HAVE to commit to yourself. There is no point in attempting to make changes and realign your organisation and study approaches if you are going to continually make compromises that interfere with your commitment to this vision. Like any goal, it is not always going to be 100% easy, and you are going to have to work at it daily to ensure you are on track. But like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the more confident you become in being able to operate your schedule productively.

So, as long as you are prepared to make some exceptions so you can stay true to yourself to meet your goals – then one of the hardest parts of this goal is already done!

IMG_5285

the best feeling when all your commitment pays off to meet your goal.

Hopefully now you are feeling inspired to get your time management under control so you can maximise your 2020 productivity and workflow! I hope these tips have helped you out and that all your endeavours in 2020 whether they are study or work focused, are a success. 

How To Stay Fit and Healthy During Uni.

Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, missjessamy

It’s that time of year when we all head back to Uni (in Australia) and get a step closer to getting a degree. But for a lot of people, heading back to the books means heading back to eating takeout and halting working out because our lives become ‘too busy’. Well, fear not because I have put together five of my personal tried and true tips and tricks to help you stay on track and ace your finals and fitness goals this year.

#1- Start Your Day With Exercise

Now trying to juggle work, university and a social life is hard enough, which is why having to add in regular exercise is too hard for some, me included. Going to bed late and having to wake up early while being constantly tired is something all students deal with, and eliminating factors that make our days longer is ideal. But, exercise is an extremely important part of keeping yourself healthy and also assists in stress control.
My biggest tip for keeping up with your exercise routine in University is to do it first thing in the morning, even if you can only squeeze in 15 minutes before you have to run out the door; you’ll feel the difference in your day.
I used to be an afternoon exerciser, but after my workouts, I never felt overly accomplished and found I struggled to push myself to my limits. So I wanted to mix it up and began working out in the morning after breakfast. Well, this didn’t work either, I was full of food and was trying to jump around (rookie mistake). Instead, I set my alarm that little bit earlier and worked out before I did anything else in the morning, between 30-50 minutes depending on how I felt and how busy I was in the day.
This time change in my workout has honestly changed my life completely (sounds dramatic, but keep reading). I have found my digestion is better throughout the day, I feel more awake, I have more energy, and I feel so accomplished in the morning. It is also a great feeling to finish Uni or Work at 5 pm and know I can just come home a relax.
Now, I understand working out in the morning doesn’t suit everyone, even fitness extraordinaire Kayla Itsines has shared her dislike for working out in the morning. You have to do what suits you but I would highly recommend giving this a go! I only have to wake up 30 minutes earlier in the mornings, and that’s a small price to pay to feel good all day.

Favourite Workout Channels:

Popsugar Fitness

Blogilates 

Boho Beautiful 

Love Sweat Fitness

Yoga With Adriene 

Gabriella Whited

I combine multiple videos from the above channels to tailor workouts to what I want to focus on each day.

#2- Fuel Your Body Right

Being on the go all the time, it is easy to slip into the constant ‘eating out’ routine. Coming home on the bus and opening Uber Eats to see what’s nearby or skipping breakfast and grabbing a chocolate bar for a quick pick me up en route to a lecture is not a good way to go about your health.
The easiest way to avoid these diet downfalls is to meal prep or snack prep. When I go to Uni, I am a snacker much more than a meal eater. For me, breakfast is the biggest meal I have for the day, and it’s usually either a smoothie bowl or GF oats with Banana and Protein and everything else throughout my day I keep light and sustainable.
I am not much of a meal prepper, but I do prep snacks. I always have cut up capsicum, carrot, cucumber and cooked sweet potato in my fridge with homemade hummus. And I also always homemake GF, DF, RSF protein balls and bars as well as Fruit and Nut mix, so I can keep myself fuelled in-between classes.
However, if I don’t have time to make the sweet treats, I have a few go-to brands I chuck in my bag including:

Tom and Luke Protein Bars

Golden Day Paleo Bars

Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bars
I also always carry a large water bottle with me around campus with apple cider vinegar, this helps me stay hydrated and helps combat any sweet cravings I might get when I am bored in class (haha).

#3 Find Local Gems

Now, this slightly goes against what I said above about avoiding to eat out, but sometimes it is unavoidable. So my biggest tip for this would be to do your research and find places close to your Uni that provides healthy and yummy snacks and meals. Also, if all your friends want to go to a burger place, just read the menu well and try to opt for the healthiest option. For example, all my friends love Grill’d, so whenever we go I order:
*Veggie Vitality or Zen Hen
*on the Low Carb Super Bun
*and with Sweet Potato Fries (I only order fries if I share or I am particularly hungry)

Now, this is still a treat meal, but it is the healthier option and allows me to stick to my healthy lifestyle, while still being involved in the fun with friends.
Being in my second year now, I have also scoped out places around campus that sell my favourite Coconut Water, Kombucha and Paleo Bars.

#4 Write Down Your Goals

What do you want to achieve with this lifestyle? A more positive life outlook? Increased motivation? Stress relief? Weight loss? Toning up? Whatever it is, write it down! This not only holds you accountable for every positive decision you make towards a better you, but it also helps you visualise your end goal which increases your day to day motivation.
For me, every night before I go to bed I write down my workout plan for the next morning. This both keeps me accountable for my workout, but also allows me to go to bed and wake up motivated, as once it’s on paper, it has to be done. Since commencing this routine in mid-January, I have only missed ONE day, and that was because I woke up with a stiff neck and my doctor recommended I give it a break.

#5 Vitamin It Up

One thing that I think has truly allowed me to properly focus on my health is taking vitamins that help my body seize the day. I am currently taking a Calcium, Mega B, Vitamin C and Horseradish and Evening Primrose to support my health. I have never really been into these approaches, but with feeling the way I do right now, I have no idea why I wasn’t. Now, of course, I am not a healthcare professional, so you should always consult them before adding these supplements to your diet, but I would highly recommend going to them and figuring out what you need. I am calcium deficient, so a Calcium supplement is a must for more. Additionally, I suffer from anxiety and elevated stress levels, so my Mega B supports that and the Evening Primrose helps with my skin and in reducing my serious symptoms of PMS. Finally, the Vitamin C and horseradish is a general wellbeing one that helps with my immune system. When taking vitamins, it’s important to understand what you are taking and why you are taking it.

Despite everything above, you have to do what works for you. It is so important to take care of your health and wellbeing throughout your whole life, but when you have to juggle 100 different things throughout the day, your body needs some help. I hope you at least try one of these tips above and good luck with your studies.

Jess xx

@jessicatathem