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At this point, you’re probably starting to get distracted more and more by the knowledge of how much you have to get done during this last month of the semester. Grading, final meetings, exams, papers, etc. are all going to be due pretty soon. So, how can you prevent yourself from feeling super overwhelmed? From failing to keep track of an important task and needing to scramble to get it done? In today’s post, I start with a short video with a few simple productivity activities to help keep you on track. Then, I offer a couple extra tips that will help you end the semester on a productivity high note!
Tips for the End of the Semester
Here’s a preview of the four tips included in the above video:
- Create a grading tracker in a notebook, planner, or app
- Make music playlists for the different types of work you have left to do
- Write out an assignment or responsibilities timeline for the rest of the semester
- Pick and carry an object that helps ground you in a state of calm and/or confidence
For more on these four tips, watch the quick video above. I kept it extra brief, since I know how busy you are at the moment!
Along with the video, here are a couple more productivity activities that can help you stay on track during this final month before the semester ends.
[Try out the free digital notebook I mention in the video, if you don’t know where to write out your grading tracker and assignment and/or responsibilities timelines.]Do something different. Just for one day. See if that helps liven up your work routine and increases your willpower to work on your difficult or tedious academic tasks. #phdchat Click To Tweet
Freshen Up with a Break from Routine
Do you always grade at your desk in your campus office or at home? [Make grading faster.] Do you type out your academic papers while sitting with your laptop on the couch? [Beat academic writer’s block.] If these routines are keeping you going, then of course, there’s no need to make any changes. BUT! If you find yourself lacking in motivation after days of working at your desk or on the couch, take a break from your routine! Get that ‘trying-something-new’ energy that develops when you experiment with something that’s gotten a bit too comfortable for you.
Grade some student work on your back porch or the nearby public library.
Write the next few pages of your paper at your favorite coffee shop or your accountability partner’s apartment.
Do something different. Just for one day. See if that helps liven up your work routine and increases your willpower to work on your difficult or tedious academic tasks.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
It wouldn’t be a productivity tips blog post without mentioning my favorite technique when I’m feeling unmotivated or anxious. The pomodoro technique can take many different forms. The standard is to work for 25 minutes (set an alarm), take a break for 5, then start again with a new 25 minute session. For me, I go with one of the following versions:
When super anxious about my work: Set a timer for 15 minutes. Work during that time. If I get into a groove, keep working past the alarm. If still stuck, take a 10 minute break then start another 15 minute session. Rinse and repeat as needed.
When just lacking motivation: Set a timer for 25 minutes. Work during that time. If in a groove once it ends, keep going until I reach a natural breaking point. Take a 10 minute break, then start another 25 minute session. Rinse and repeat.
Use your own preference for work time and break time. Experiment with different lengths until you find what works best for you. Perhaps, like me, you’ll create two different versions depending on what’s keeping you from getting work done. While this technique is usually suggested for writing projects, it can definitely work for grading student work and working on other semester’s end tasks, too.
I’m sending strong productivity vibes your way as you finish up your required tasks before winter break. Next time, I’ll be talking about activities to do during winter break to make sure you end the year on the right note. Since Black Friday and Cyber Monday occur before my next post goes live, though, I thought I’d share a webpage I created with some grad student gift ideas. If you’re looking to treat yourself this holiday season, or your closest grad student friends, this list can help you get started. Next week’s video on my YouTube channel is on this topic.
For those who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful time next week! The end of the semester is definitely a great time to consider what we are most thankful for.
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