4 Tips for a Productive Semester

One book that benefited me last semester was Cal Newport's How to Become a Straight A-Student. A lot of these college guides give the same generic information about attending class and studying but How to Become a Straight A-Student provides quick and practical advice on how to have a productive semester. I applied many of these tips to my life and had a great semester in the fall. Inspired by Cal Newport's book, here are my four tips in making your next semester a great one:

  1. Regulate your sleeping schedule as much as possible: Wake up and go to bed at the same time as much as you can. You can train your body to know when to wake up and sleep, which can provide a really valuable foundation of a routine for the rest of your day. It also helps prevent oversleeping on the weekends.
  2. Cut out the sugary drinks: Not all of the "Freshmen 15" comes from the greasy food available to you. The dining halls provide unlimited amounts of soda which often is the source of those extra pounds you gain while at college. Cut out the soda and drink water instead. It will make your body more fueled and hydrated than a tall glass of Mountain Dew. If you need a caffeine boost, I recommend coffee and tea in moderate amounts.
  3. Set up a physical and digital inbox: Have somewhere in your room to collect all the papers you need to process. This could be school work, show tickets, post it notes to yourself, etc. Just don't let it accumulate in places you will forget to check. Same for your digital information. I use Evernote and Drafts to hold the snippets of information and text I need to process later. The brain is meant to create ideas and think, not storing blobs of information. A lot of underlying stress and anxiety comes from the fear that you might have forgotten something important. Don't do that to yourself.
  4. Use and trust your calendar: As the semester progresses, you are going to get pelted with many different deadlines and dates to remember. It doesn't matter if you use your smartphone calendar or a paper agenda, have one place to put down all the dates you need to remember. It will prevent you from running around campus like a chicken with its head cut off or forget that one important interview you had. By having all of your major commitments visually presented to you, it makes it easier to plan out major goals and events for the semester.