Procrastination. Every student knows it as the monster that appears whenever they sit down at their desk in a futile attempt to get work done. However, while this unwelcome guest frequents the lives of freshmen and seniors alike, there are many techniques to overcome it and increase productivity.
1. Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro technique (fascinatingly named after the Italian word for tomato) isn’t just a cute name, but also a tried and true method of improving productivity. It consists of 25 minutes of work (known as a Pomodoro session) followed by 5 minute breaks. After every three or four Pomodoros, you get a 15-30 minute break. This works because it forces students to focus, but also allows them to catch glimpses of the light at the end of the long, long tunnel that is their CS group project.
2. Pareto Principle: The Pareto Principle is the economic rule of inequity that explains how only 20% of the population contributes as much as 80% of the nation’s income. However, this principle can also be applied to academics, indicating that you should study smarter, not more. Disclaimer: This in no way encourages you to skip all your S/NC lectures.
3. The Stress Response Curve: This curve charts the response of productivity or performance to stress, and follows a bell shape, indicating that only a certain amount of stress is helpful to productivity. (This means that taking that one extra course is scientifically guaranteed to reduce your productivity. You can save your powers of overachieving to make us feel inferior in other ways.)
4. Prioritize night-sleep over naps: According to research by Dr. Jamie Zeitzer, a professor at Stanford University, while napping can be used as a supplement to night-sleep, it should never be used as a substitute. This is because our brains go through different cycles when we sleep at night and when we nap. So try not to count on a 2 p.m. post-lunch break to make up for the all-nighter you pulled!