7 Ways to Stay Productive Each Semester

Planner minimalist page

As you spend more time at university, you may find you start to fall into certain habits that don’t align with your long-term goals. Fortunately, there’s never a bad time to reassess and set new intentions. In particular, here are a few ways to ensure you stay productive.

1. Use a Planner

It’s difficult to know where you should be focusing your attention if you don’t have a to-do list. Use either a physical planner or an app to keep track of due dates for assignments and upcoming activities. Check your planner at the start of each week to ensure you know what you need to achieve.

2. Organize Your Desk

You’ll definitely waste time if your desk is a mess. Remove everything that doesn’t belong and organize whatever remains. Create a space for your school supplies, making sure you always put items back where they belong to find them easily. Use a binder or separate folders for each of your classes to store notes, handouts, and other physical papers.

3. Manage Your Files

It’s likely that many of your notes and other materials for your classes are in digital format. It’s just as important to keep these organized. On your laptop, create a folder for each of your classes — and perhaps subfolders within these to organize by units, assignments, or whatever is logical for you. Being able to navigate quickly to what you’re looking for will streamline your studying.

4. Create a Study Schedule

Rather than finding time to study whenever you can, schedule time to work on your assignments. This is crucial at university, when much of your school work takes place outside of your classes. You may like to set a regular schedule, or you might prefer to decide how to organize your time at the beginning of the week according to upcoming assignments.

5. Start with Your Highest-Priority Tasks

There will be some days when you’re unable to stick to your study schedule. Whenever this happens, you need to decide what tasks matter most and prioritize them — rather than choosing the tasks that appeal to you. It may help to colour-code your to-do list to highlight what you need to focus on.

6. Work for a Set Amount of Time

During study periods, focus just on schoolwork — don’t allow yourself to become distracted by other things. You may like to set a timer to ensure you stay focused for long enough. This will also push you to take a break after an appropriate amount of time, which is equally important for your productivity. Set a timer during your break, as well, to ensure you return to your schoolwork after around 15 minutes rest.

7. Take Steps to Remove Distractions

Just deciding you won’t become distracted is not enough — you need to take action to ensure there’s nothing around to distract you. This likely includes putting your phone out of reach and letting your roommates know that you’re busy and they shouldn’t disturb you.

It’s always difficult to stay productive when you’re living in student residence. Waterloo students have a better alternative in the off-campus housing at myREZ. Not only will you have the desk in your private bedroom — you’ll also have access to our large study spaces. Best of all, you’ll be just steps from campus, meaning you’ll lose minimal time commuting to your classes. Book a tour to check out the housing for yourself.

Student taking notes

Ready to apply?

Tell us your apartment preferences and we will do everything we can to place you in the unit that’s best for you.

Apply Now