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The new year is here, which means a lot of us are thinking of ways to make this year the best year yet. For academics, this tends to mean wanting to find ways to be incredibly productive while still having a life outside of work responsibilities. In today’s post, I thought I’d share a few productivity tips that have worked well for me. I’ve got a video with seven productivity tips related to building routines, goal setting, planning, and more to get us started off. But, I also have a few other pieces of advice that I felt would be easier to describe in written form. Let’s talk productivity!

Watch This Video First! 7 Productivity Tips to Try in the New Year

Even More Productivity Tips to Try!

Ok, so far we’ve covered specific tips in each of the following productivity topics:

  • Build Routines
  • Get Organized
  • Set Your Goals
  • Reflect and Review
  • Plan
  • Overcome Obstacles
  • Shift Your Mindset
  • Manage Your Time

[When did we cover all of this? In the video above!]

Here are a few more areas to cover in order to make this year the best year yet:

Create Good Habits

The biggest habit I’ve added to my life recently is my morning routine of stretching, writing down an affirmation (and repeating older ones that really resonate with me), and taking a look at my vision board for the year. [I talk about my morning routine in more detail in this podcast interview.] By making this triad of activities a habit, I’ve felt more invested in doing at least a short exercise activity every day (I’ve already stretched, after all). I also feel more motivated to get some work done every day (that vision board I created on Trello is amazingly colorful and inspiring, and my affirmations boost my self-confidence), rather than sprinting to get work done when a deadline looms.

So, what healthy habits did you create last year?

What habits do you want to create this year?

How can you insert these new habits into your current routines that might not be as good for you and your productivity?

Small habits can create big changes in your life. My morning routine takes less than 10 minutes.

Start with one new habit and work your way up from there.

My favorite book on this topic: The Power of Habit

Here’s a blog post/video about creating atomic habits, inspired by the book Atomic Habits.

The new year is here, which means a lot of us are thinking of ways to make this year the best year yet. #productivity Share on X


I moved home this year to finish up my dissertation. Wow, had I accumulated A LOT of stuff over my seven years as a grad student (2 years for my MA, 5 years for my PhD). I sold some bigger items, gave away a lot more, and packed up a good chunk of items, as well. It’s been half a year, and I’m still trying to find space for some of the items I brought home. But, I’ve gotten rid of some stuff, as well.

If you’re home, office, computer, and mind are cluttered with unimportant or irrelevant things, your productivity is likely to take a nose dive. So, this is where what I call “productive procrastination” comes into play. Don’t want to work on that lesson plan or revise and resubmit? Declutter a small piece of your physical, digital, or mental space.

Whenever you have some time where you want to do something productive but you’re low on energy, declutter. You’ll thank yourself later.

Read. Watch. Listen.

You can only be on the ‘GO-GO-GO train’ for so long before you need to take a pit stop to catch your breath and recover. If you’re on the train for too long, your stop might end up lasting way longer than it’s supposed to. Not stopping can also prevent you from finding out about better trains or train tracks just waiting to be used. How do you make sure to find these new, better options? Take the time to read, watch, or listen to resources about productivity, motivation, goal setting, and more.

Personally, I prefer YouTube videos over podcasts, ebooks over audiobooks. But, use whatever medium works best for you. Take the time for personal development by learning from others who have done their own research and have experienced amazing productivity due to making certain changes in their lives.

What resources do I recommend as a starting point?

The Power of Habit (book)

Atomic Habits (book)

The One Thing (book)

Optimal Living Daily (podcast)

The Mindful Kind (podcast)

Thomas Frank (YouTube Channel)

Trello Boards for Academics [My Free Resource Library]

Final Thoughts

This year is going to be a major transition year for me as I finish up my PhD and hopefully get a job I love. Becoming more productive is a huge goal of mine for this year, and the tips and resources I’ve shared above are going to be a large part of my success. I hope you also have an incredibly productive year ahead. Just make sure to take some time for self-care and create a plan that will keep you on the right path!

Comment Below: What’s your favorite productivity tip (from this post or your own experience)?

>>If you found these tips helpful and want to make sure you don’t miss any future content on my blog, here’s the link to subscribe to my blog’s email list. As a subscriber, you’ll receive access to my resources library, which includes all my blog-related PDFs.<< 

Get productive this year by following these ten productivity tips for grad students. While anyone can use these tips, academics in particular should take advantage. #gradschool #productivity