9 Simple Productivity Tips for College Students

When you’re in college, there are many demands on your time. On top of classes and homework, you might have a job, extracurricular activities, and family responsibilities. You also need time to sleep, eat, exercise, and recharge. It can feel challenging to fit it all in.

These nine productivity tips can help you stay on top of everything you need to accomplish—and even free up some time for activities you’d like to do but rarely have time for.

1. Start with Your Calendar

Improving your productivity begins with knowing what you need to do and how long it will take. Use an online or physical calendar or planner to organize your time. Block out your classes and other commitments, and be sure to factor in the time it takes to get to and from wherever you need to be.

2. List What You Need to Get Done

Once a week, or on a schedule that works for you, take a few minutes to list all the things you need to do, along with an estimate of how long they’ll take. It can be tough at first—you might not know how much time you’ll need to study for a test or write a paper. The longer you stick to this practice, however, the better you’ll know the time it takes you to complete certain tasks.

3. Prioritize and Plan

Organize your tasks in the order you need to get them done, then block out time on your calendar to work on each item. As you plan, think about the times you’re most productive.

If mornings are best for you, put your demanding schoolwork there and set afternoons and evenings aside for laundry or errands, for example. If you prefer to study for larger blocks of time, look for longer stretches when you don’t have classes or other obligations.

4. Minimize Distractions

Now that you have your plan, it’s time to get to work. When you’re studying or working on assignments, maximizing focus is essential to maximizing productivity. You may want to work in the library or another study space that doesn’t have the distractions of your room or apartment.

Turn off your phone’s notifications or put your phone away. If you struggle to focus, try setting a timer for 25 minutes or longer and give yourself a short break when the time is up.

5. Listen to Your Body

If you’re reading the same passage over and over and you’re just not understanding it, you might need a break. Take a short walk, eat a snack, stretch, or talk to a friend for a few minutes so you can recharge. Then, return to your work with fresh eyes.

6. Group Your Tasks

As you organize your week, you may discover you have several errands or activities you need to get done. Maybe you need to pick up a few groceries, get your car inspected, and buy something to wear to an upcoming event. You’ll be more productive if you do all of these errands at the same time instead of rushing around to do each one at the last minute.

7. Multitask the Right Way

Multitasking works if you pair an activity that requires brainpower with one that doesn’t, so look for these opportunities. For example, fold your laundry while you talk to your mom or dad, or listen to a lecture while you take a walk.

8. Take Care of Yourself

People are most productive when they’re well rested and well nourished. Give yourself plenty of time to sleep, and choose nutritious foods to fuel your body whenever possible. Build in some time for exercise and stress management, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation. While it may seem like self-care takes up too much time, it ultimately helps you stay calm and focused so you can get more done.

9. Connect with APU Resources

Don’t overlook one of the most important productivity tips: connecting with support. At Azusa Pacific University, resources such as the Academic Success Center, and Writing, Speaking, and Writing Center are designed to make it easier for you to stay on top of your schoolwork so you can succeed. If you feel like you’re struggling to keep up, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance.