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Productivity Time Management

5 Steps to Creating a Powerful Daily To-Do List

list-372766_1280There are lots of ways you can record your to-do lists. You can write down your deadlines and appointments in a physical planner and remind yourself with post-it notes. Or you can keep everything on the computer with a helpful app.

Choosing which program to use, however, is not nearly as important as knowing how to keep a to-do list that will not sabotage your productivity. Yes, that’s right. Even though to-do lists are supposed to help us work more efficiently, if they are written up in the wrong way, they can actually end up doing more harm than good. In today’s post, I’m sharing five steps to follow to create a powerful to-do list that will supercharge your productivity. 

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Books Education Productivity Study Tips Time Management

Get your free copy of the Study Smarter eBook!

eBook Mock-upYes, scholars!! It’s officially here. I’ve just put the finishing touches on a brand-new eBook, Study Smarter: How to Maximize Your Study Time and Master Any Subject.

You probably noticed that the blog was unusually quiet this past July. That’s because I was busy working on this exciting project, and I can’t wait for you all to read it.

If you enjoy the posts on the blog, you’re going to love this eBook. In this step-by-step 40+ page guide, I have compiled all of the methods, tips, tricks, and strategies that helped me maintain high grades in college, beat procrastination, organize my time efficiently, and work productively.

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Health Productivity Time Management

Is Sleep Deprivation Sabotaging Your Grades?

sleep pic

Photo Credit: Photl

It’s easy to think that you are invincible in high school and college, that you can go hours upon hours without sleep, that you can effectually push your brain to its breaking point without suffering any negative consequences. The truth, however, is that sleep deprivation not only saps your health and energy, but also harms your brain.

I have always been a night owl so it was only a matter of time before I pulled my first all-nighter in college. I put every minute of that night to good use (at least, I thought so) as I hammered away at my keyboard, racing to finish a very important term paper. But in retrospect, those all-nighters and other nights of little sleep were far from wise decisions. I ended up barely able to stay awake in class, exhausted as I tried to finish my other homework projects.

Ultimately, I learned the hard way that being a night owl doesn’t make you smarter, and sleepless nights are not something to brag about. The myth of the successful and productive genius who only needs four hours of sleep at night is just that: a myth. In today’s post, I’ll be looking at the importance of prioritizing sleep and how to make sure you are well rested especially on those days when you have a crucial exam.

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Productivity Technology Time Management

5 Free Apps to Supercharge Your Productivity

blog app pic

When I sit down to work on a blog post, one of the first things I do is log off of Facebook and email. This is because every time I stop to check a notification, I will undoubtedly fall into the procrastination wormhole that leads me meandering across the Internet and reading things that have nothing to do with my original blog post. According to this Wall Street Journal article, “It takes more than 25 minutes, on average, to resume a task after being interrupted.” Even worse, “It takes an additional 15 minutes to regain the same intense focus or ‘flow’ as before the interruption.” That’s forty entire minutes. And that doesn’t even take into consideration multiple interruptions.

Of course, interruptions are an unavoidable part of daily life. But we can limit them! And we can also find ways to make ourselves more organized and more productive so we will have a little more time left over once we finally find our way out of that wormhole. Today, I’ve put together a list of five of my favorite apps that help me work smarter and faster. All of these are absolutely free and some you can download right onto your computer.

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Exercise Health Productivity Time Management

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise Every Day

exercisepic

Photo Credit: Photl

Several weeks ago I caught a nasty head cold that left me absolutely exhausted. The sinus headaches made it difficult for me to concentrate on writing, and all I felt capable of doing (in between drinking copious bowls of soup and cups of green tea) was curling up on the couch and taking a nap. But what made it even worse was that I really wanted to work out, and I couldn’t! I was far too weak. As soon as I vanquished the cold, however, I couldn’t wait to start lifting weights again and going for long walks.

The funny thing is that I wasn’t always this motivated to exercise consistently every day. Especially in college, exercising often felt like a nuisance: just one more thing I had to squeeze into my already busy to-do list. What changed? How did exercising become a necessary part of my daily schedule, something I love doing and miss terribly if I skip a day? Today, I’m excited to share with you the tricks I’ve discovered for creating a truly addictive exercise routine.

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Productivity Time Management

How to Resurrect Your Broken New Year’s Resolutions

cookies-and-comp
Back at my desk and ready to start writing!

Hello, scholars! I have finally returned!!

Yes, that’s right. I am alive and well and a bit ashamed to admit that this blog post has been sitting unfinished in my drafts folder for several months now.

I had intended to publish it in January as my very first post of 2015. In fact, I had a beautiful New Year’s resolution for Inkwell Scholars. I planned to update at least once a week and had started coming up with a list of possible topics I could write about. But somehow I became involved in other projects, and this post fell farther and farther down the list of things that I needed to finish.

But that’s not the worst of it.

The post was going to be about how to successfully achieve your New Year’s resolutions. So essentially the longer and longer I procrastinated over the post, the harder and harder it became for me to publish it at all. Each day that I delayed updating the blog, I was creating a chain of excuses that became nearly impossible to break. “Well, I missed the first week of January,” I said to myself. “I guess I’ll wait until the second.” That week came and went and then the whole month itself, and then I planned to publish it on a Monday, but the Monday went whizzing by along with several more months.

And if you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution that you were very serious about and then failed to follow through with, you know how terrible you can feel and how difficult it can be to start afresh.

The good news, however, is that my list of New Year’s resolutions hasn’t been a total failure. I have managed to make nice progress with quite a few of them. And best of all, I finally sat myself down at my desk in front of my computer, refused to accept any more excuses, and forced myself to type out the rest of this post. So for any of you all that still have several daunting New Year’s resolutions that you have not yet gotten up the courage to tackle, this post is for you.

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Foreign Language Productivity Study Tips Time Management

How to Accomplish Any Goal: The SMART Guide to Making Your Dreams a Reality

The SMART method is a fantastic fail-safe five step approach to accomplishing your goals.
The SMART method is a fantastic fail-safe five step approach to accomplishing your goals.

It’s easy to set goals. Sometimes it’s even easy taking those initial steps towards achieving them. Maybe we want to learn to play an instrument so we buy a guitar and sign up for lessons. The first few days are fun, but somehow life gets in the way, and it becomes more and more difficult to find time to practice. Or maybe we want to learn a foreign language. We buy several books that promise we will be fluent in a matter of months, but after memorizing a few phrases, our interest wanes and our goal is abandoned. What are we doing wrong? How do we maintain that original interest and energy that motivated us during those initial stages? In today’s post, I’ll share a fantastic fail-safe five-step approach called the S.M.A.R.T. method that has helped me transform my goals from dreams into reality.

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Creativity Productivity Time Management

The Key to Productivity: 4 Steps to Laser-Like Focus

Mister Spock Inkwell Scholars
“I object to intellect without discipline.”

Even if you’ve never seen an episode of Star Trek, you’re probably familiar with one of the show’s most famous characters: Mister Spock.

He’s the half-human, half-Vulcan first officer of the starship Enterprise. The highly-intelligent Vulcans dedicate their lives to mastering logic, learning everything they can, and suppressing their emotions.

Of course, Spock is just a fictional television character. No one can suppress their emotions as coolly as he does. Nor should anyone want to. Indeed, his crew mates, Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy, continually try to prove to him that emotions are often just as important as logic when making decisions.

But from Spock we discover one of the keys to productivity and expertise: laser-like focus.

Read on for four steps to train yourself to think like a Vulcan so you can boost your productivity and allow your creativity to flourish.

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Study Tips Time Management Videos

How To Maximize Study Time & Master Any Subject

Neo Matrix Study Skills
How to maximize your study time & get Matrix-style results.

It’s the night before a final exam.

I’m poring over the class study guide and wishing I had the ability to download all of the course material into my brain, Matrix-style.

In the film, the main character Neo is hooked up to a giant computer. Download the kung fu computer program and zap. He’s now a martial artist.

You’re probably thinking, “Only in the movies.”

But what if I told you there is a surprisingly easy method to study quickly and effectively and get Matrix-style results? What if I told you that anyone can use this method to raise his or her grades by at least half a point in one semester?

And, even better, after graduation this skill will be a life-long asset, helping you in any career you decide to pursue.

Categories
Time Management

How A Tomato Supercharged My Productivity

My Series of Unfortunate Events:

Me before discovering the pomodoro technique.
Cartoon drawn by Linda Causey.

I’ve always struggled with procrastination. In high school when a teacher assigned an essay, I often put the assignment off until the last possible moment. This led to frantic writing sessions several days or even the night before the paper was due. I usually ended up turning in my first draft of the paper, rather than having time to rewrite and refine.

Despite my procrastination, I maintained high grades. In retrospect, I believe this was unfortunate because I eventually got into the habit of procrastinating and bragging about it: “Yeah, I got an A on this paper. Guess when I wrote it? Two hours before it was due.”

By the time I reached college, my procrastination backfired.