How To Be Productive

How To Be Productive

It’s the beginning of a new school year which, if you’re anything like me, is kind of a time to make ‘New Year’s Resolutions’. I mean, everyone breaks theirs by the end of January, normally – starting in September means you automatically got further than they did. Plus, it’s a more practical time to make a fresh start if you’re going to a new school or college or simply reinventing yourself with different teachers or students.

As I’m now in sixth form, studying for A Levels, I decided I needed to get a move on and be a little bit more productive throughout the coming year. Balancing my extra-curricular activities with actual studying is always a bit of a circus act, and I’m determined to make the most of it.

Here are a few techniques I suggest you employ.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for the loss of productivity or sanity in the process of following these steps. I never claimed that they worked, nor do I have any money if you should decide to sue me.

Make a Tumblr account.

I mean, this is definitely a way to be more productive. You’ll be looking at gifs and images and the colours will stimulate your brain! Plus, you can always track the tags of the books you’re studying in English Literature. I’m currently tracking the Hamlet tag and hoping that Tumblr teaches me to quote it as well as I can quote the Avengers.

[Sad but true – the Hamlet tag updates faster than the Good Omens tag. Fandom, I ashamed of you.]

Prioritise your writing time.

Schoolwork is important but in the long term, your writing is what matters. It’s your career, isn’t it? Yes, qualifications are useful, but when you’re published no one will care about that. If you have to explain to your teacher why your essay is a week late, just tell her you had a deadline on a novel. I’m sure she’ll understand.

Sign up to all the extra-curricular activites available.

They’ll look great on your CV or university application. Ones that take up several hours a week are especially recommended, such as painting the set for the school show. Don’t worry about things that will give you qualifications (that’s just additional stress), but keep on joining clubs and societies. See if you can lead some of them! Then you can run the sessions, and you also have the additional planning time beforehand.

These also count as a legitimate excuse for late essays, but make sure you find time to work on your novel or the plot bunnies will not be happy.

Take up a new instrument.

Bonus points if it’s something you have to travel some distance to learn. Playing music not only stimulates the brain, it also provides enjoyment that is wholesome and safe. I recommend the mandolin if you have a small house, or the accordion or bagpipes if you don’t like your neighbours.

Start vlogging.

It’s more time consuming than blogging but don’t worry, it’s totally worth it. First you plan your video, then film it, and then spend some time editing it, before you try and upload it. All of this will teach you about new technology, enable you to keep in touch with internet friends, and give you well-needed breaks from the daily slog of essay writing.

Start an internet forum.

You’ll gain vital communication skills and gather information from all over the world, which will definitely help you finish your homework more quickly in future. Moderating it will also teach you about justice and how to deal with rule-breakers, a vital skill in later life. Though at first it might seem like a drain on your time, it is definitely a worthwhile thing to be doing.

Do your accounts.

These will save you so much time in future. The jacket will look wonderful at that next party, and you can easily check the inside of your left elbow to see just what it was you bought last month.* Feel free to invite the Jehovas Witnesses into your house as well, as the hour or two of stimulating discussion will do wonders for your mental health and productivity.

But if you’re finding all of the above tiring, make sure you take breaks. Go for a long walk and refresh your mind before you get back down to some good solid procrastination productivity.

*This is a reference to a show called Black Books. If you have not seen it, please reconsider your life choices before you return.

14 thoughts on “How To Be Productive

  1. Haha, I intend to do all of these except the Tumblr. Not of my own will, but because the school has blocked the site. Along with all my other sources of internet-based fun.

    Ah well. It’ll make me stick to my schoolwork rather than giving me excuses to escape elsewhere.

    Hope you enjoy the Sixth Form – I loved my first year, even if my exams didn’t go wholly according to plan in the end. I get the feeling you’ll love the fact that we actually get to put our own thoughts and views and interpretations into our essays now xD

    1. I always did…and got away with it. I have very strong emotional reactions to texts and I always included them, even if I didn’t do so explicitly. Like my 2-page rant on why Abigail is an antagonist but not a villain and I can totally sympathise with her. I liked writing that.

      But I am very much enjoying not having science or maths subjects. And the ability to go home early sometimes is always welcome.

      1. I bet you would – I liked Abigail myself. Devious and plotting but heartbreakingly young and mistaken at the same time. Awesome stuff.

        Indeed, on the first point. That’s my favourite thing about Sixth Form for me. I don’t have the option for the second xP

        1. The mock exam came at a time when I was at my most open to understanding Abigail’s heartbreak and motivation. It led to an impassioned essay, which my English teacher thought was very…original. Perhaps a little too much emotion compared to the number of quotes, however.

          1. Ah, that often happens. I’m too thin on quotes and too heavy on the “this could mean THIS just as much as what the teacher told me it meant . . . or this, look, look how wrong my teachers are!”

            The downfall of students who don’t like jumping through examiners’ hoops.

  2. Erm.. I hate to ask, but never having heard of this Black Books of which you speak, would you kindly enlighten me.. pretty please? *grins*

    Ug. I’ve already got plenty on my plate but wouldn’t it be fun if jobs offered the same sort of ‘extra ciricular activities’ I’d love to paint sets for plays my company puts on. think of how much more fun the world could be! :}

    1. Black Books was a British TV show (channel 4, I believe) about an Irish dude called Bernard Black who ran a bookshop (but wouldn’t let anyone buy anything) and his friends Fran and Manny. It is very funny and very quotable, and I would highly recommend trying to get hold of it somehow.

  3. It’s a wonder that you manage to post here so frequently what with all your productive extracurricular activities and Tumblr. Oh, wait. It’s because you prioritize your writing. xD


  4. The plot bunnies. As a diehard rabbit fan, I really enjoyed this comment for a bizarrely random reason. I enjoyed the whole post, too. I may just learn to play the tuba, because I just like it. (Although, I may not have big enough lungs for that, so I can just switch to the bassoon. :) ) I probably won’t do the Tumblr thing, though, seeing as our school has blocked all blogging sites of fun (except Blogger, for some reason). Interestingly enough, the laptops have been updated but WordPress isn’t blocked there. Although, I don’t think my teachers would be too happy if they found me blogging instead of writing an essay. Even though it IS a form of writing.

    Hmmm. This comment has gone a little long.

    1. WordPress isn’t blocked at our school. Actually, the blocking system is remarkably relaxed and with the exception of Twitter and Facebook I’m able to get a lot of my social media stuff done while at school, such as blogging and hanging out on internet forums. I think it’s mainly because a lot of the sites I visit are quite minority sites so they’re not covered by general blockers. They will be if I keep talking about them, though!
      One of my orchestra friends plays tuba. The other plays double bass. I play piccolo. We’re like opposite ends of the pitch and size spectrum.

      1. Lucky :) Although, maybe it’s because our old computers teacher left and the new one seems a lot more lax about security. We just have violins and cellos in our orchestra (there’s only ten of us!) and I’m friends with most of them. This is mainly because the violas left the school and orchestra is comprised of string intstruments only.
        I do like the piccolo. It’s fun to say :)

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