Procrastination. It’s something that we students have grown to become especially good at. While at times it can at times be harmless and unavoidable there just some moments when we really need to buckle down and focus! Here are a few tips and tools that you can use to improve your productivity.
1. Pomodoro Technique
This one of the more well known techniques used to fight procrastination. It involves doing focused work for short intervals and resting after each interval. It’s been claimed that this process will allow uses to reduce mental fatigue, complete projects faster and more importantly, provide maximum focus.
The process is simple. Each work period (a “pomodoro”) lasts for 25 minutes after which, you then take break for five minutes. Go pat your cat, walk around the house or even stalk your ex on facebook/twitter then when you break is over, it back to another 25 minute work period. After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.
In addition there are many on-line based pomodoro timers such as Tomatoi and smartphone applications that can help you keep track of each interval. You can read more about fighting procrastination with the Pomodoro technique at its official website here.
2. Brower Anti-Procrastination Add-ons
So you have your pomodoro timer all set up but having to work on the computer most of the time, it’s hard to resist the temptation to open a new tab and visit sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Those “quick update checks” may end up costing you hours of wasted time. Fortunately there are many browser add-ons that allow you to limit (or block entirely) time wasting sites and even mark some sites as “productive” ones. You’ll then be able to analyse your surfing habits to see if you’ve been productive on the day itself or more productive then the day/week/month before. This website add ons are very useful tools to help you analyse your faults and fight procrastination.
For chrome users, there is StayFocusd. This handy tool allows you to restrict the amount of time that you can spend on time wasting websites. Once the time limit has been reached, the sites you’ve blocked will inaccessible for the rest of the day. You can also set certain time periods that you want the plug in to work.
For Firefox users, there’s a more sophisticated plug-in – Surf Control that provides you with graphs, pie charts etc. of your productivity. Surf Control is no longer available. Instead we recommend Mind the Time. An add-on that is very similar to Chrome’s StayFocusd Add-on.
Although it does not provide you with as pretty and as detailed statistics as Surf Control would have, it still shows you statistics of the amount of time that you spend on individual websites.
For Safari users, there is WasteNoTime. Which has also recently been launched for Chrome users. Similar to the extensions on the other platforms, it allows you to block sites after a certain period of use and it also displaces statistics of the websites that you have visited as shown above.
3. Chindogu Clock
Also known as the procrastinator’s clock, the Chindogu Clock (available on all platforms) sets your time ahead by up to 15 minutes. The problem is that you’ll never know how far in advance your clock has been set as it will automatically speed up or slowed down (without being slower than the actual time). Many of us have used this method before, but with the Chindogu Clock, you’ll never know how “fast” it really is, so you can’t cheat. The idea is to allow you to channel fear and anxiety positively, while keeping you from getting too comfortable with your clock. You can read more about the Chindogu Clock at the author’s website here.
In a perfect world, we would all have great attention spans and maximum efficiency. Unfortunately, procrastination is too prevalent among students. I hope that the above anti-procrastination add-ons, software and techniques will help you increase your productivity.