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Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
Fine Print

Productivity Advice from a First Year Student

Written by Hamza Khan

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

Have a million things to do with no time to do them? Let me show you a simple framework that I use to sustain my productivity.

But first, let’s get on the same page. How does your typical day go?

As a fellow student, you probably wake up way too early in the morning. And if you’re anything like me, you wake up after hitting snooze at least fifteen times. Like something out of Inception, I could be several levels deep in my world of dreams and still manage to hit snooze on my phone. It doesn’t even matter if my phone is on a table on the other side of my room—I will get up (with my eyes still closed, mind you) turn off the alarm, and then go back to bed.

It’s a skill, I tell you.

But, when I finally get up, that’s where the madness begins. After running to the bathroom faster than The Flash, I prepare and get my ass to school. Study, coffee, study, lunch, study, break, study, coffee, study. Boom! 12+ hours of the day are gone.

You have 24 hours in a day. Minus the eating, sleeping, commuting, etc., there’s still enough to be filled with working on the things that bring you happiness.

Sure, my schedule is jam-packed with lots of working and studying. But that’s all in service of my goals of boosting my grades and landing a dream job.

Each day, I’m trying to get better at optimizing my time, energy, and attention.

Here’s a simple framework that I use:

1. Think

Figure out the bigger picture of what you want to get done. Then, work through which small tasks will lead you to it.

2. Dig Deeper

Actively map out how you spend your time in a given week with classes, social obligations, work etc. Then see how much free time you have to complete the tasks listed in the previous step.

3. Take Back Your Calendar

Reflect. How do you spend your time? Is it useful and efficient? Or unproductive and inadequate?

Take it day by day, task by task, hour by hour. Use these steps to plan out your day to get closer to the life that you desire.

A few more tips to jumpstart your day:

Buy a planner or use your school agenda. Maybe it’s the falsifying feeling of productivity when you buy stationery products, but I already feel 100X more productive after writing stuff down in an actual planner, rather than a piece of paper.

Keep two different lists: “What I need to do” and “What I got done.” This way you’ll be able to recognize how much you get done and tweak how you write out your lists to be more efficiently productive.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sure, you need to be stern with yourself but accepting your mistakes with the willingness to learn from them will help you rise above to what matters in life.

You have 24 hours in a day. 24 you won’t get back after today. Spend it doing what you need, what you want and what you love to do. Find the time to give the time to everything that concerns you and just you.

What was once, “I can’t wait for this day to be over…” will become, “I can’t wait to seize the day.”



Winning 4 years' tuition? Now that's productive!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.