The Spring School Semester & My Productivity Routine
The spring semester is officially over! 🎉
It has been over for about 2-3 weeks now. But it took me that long to really understand its end and settle into my summer. The spring semester was a lot of things but overall, it was a great semester. I learned sooo much. And way more than what my classes solely taught.
The day-to-day managing of school work, creative work, and professional work inspired and propelled me into a rhythm of managing life I really liked. Honestly, while I do love to learn (about things I like), I have always struggled with work management and attaining productivity that produced good and progressing results. But this last semester I think I’ve gotten into a really effective groove. At least I’ve started a good one.
Managing School Work
- I used a notebook/planner to plan school things. This notebook was the starting place for most of my organization. I am very aware of amazing planners and have had many. But I’ve found that a simple physical planner is perfect for me to customize how I want to organize my day to activities;
I had 5 classes Monday through Thursday. Each class session was twice a week, each week for the whole semester, occurring every other day. For example, I had ENGL 32000 at the same time every Monday and Wednesday. So in my daily notebook/planner, I’d split the majority of the page down the middle. On the left side, I’d have Monday & Wednesday tasks and on the right side, I’d have Tuesday and Thursday tasks. The bottom of each page already had a separate section. I used that section to jot down all extra, non-homework/class tasks and other to-do’s. It looked something like this every week
At the end of each week, my to-do list ended up with most items crossed off and completed. As crazy as this week’s page ended up, is as crazy as managing some weeks can get.
This is basically how I’d plan my school week. I tried to have this to-do list done by the weekend before Monday but I often times got it done on Mondays and Tuesdays.
This system has really helped me keep track of the school work I had to do every week and actually get them done. There were months when had a lot to submit across all classes, but this week-by-week system helped me to conquer them one assignment at a time, one week at a time. That is how my classes progressed anyway, week by week.
I would go over what I had to do every week in the library or in an empty classroom and race to finish them so that I had a clear weekend. Because I love my weekends to be as clear as they can be from schoolwork. Even though they too are busy.
Managing Creative & Personal Work and all of my work as a whole
Creative and personal work includes my blog posts and running this blog, the stories I am working on, and whatever else is not school work. I mention these tasks very simply in the bottom section of the notebook I use for school so that I didn’t forget about them before or after homework. You could see that in the picture. But the majority of my creative & personal work and daily to-do’s are organized across Notion, Google Calendar, and the Notes/Reminder app on my phone. Notion and Google Calendar together are the home base for everything I need to do, remember, update, get back to, prepare for, and whatever else ( including school work).
As long as everything is properly detailed and updated on Notion and Google Calendar, I jot and organize all that information into actionable plans for a day, week, or month using notebooks, and apps.
I love using notion because it allows me to organize ALL the things I have to do in a manner where I can easily access them, categorize and file them, and plan ahead for them. And I usually have a lot to do so using a productivity management system like Notion helps keep me on track.
That pretty much sums up my productivity routine for the spring semester. Writing it all out in this blog post makes it seem a little much, but it was a very effective routine for me. So all in all successful.
Finals Week Threw Me Off
I know that finals season is usually a hectic season in most if not all colleges, yet, still it overthrew my productivity system (momentarily) with its workloads and made things a little chaotic. A lot of the work wasn’t hard to complete. But I did struggle with the amount of work and studying/researching I needed to do and organize to attempt a passing grade for these final assignments and exams.
This time around I had a lot of essays and long written works to get done. Even though I ended up cutting it close for many of them I was able to finish everything close to their deadlines. At first, my weekly productivity system got pretty jam-packed and ineffective. So I had to break things down and take my time to do one thing/one subject at a time.
By the time I did finish all the work and got all my passing grades, I was over school and work.
Working From Home
Being burnt out made it hard for me to get back into any kind of work after everything for school was finished for the spring. After realizing I was burnt out, I took a couple of days off, gave myself more time to relax, and slowly got back to work. Little by little I updated my to-do lists and finished off any other things I needed to complete for the school semester (required paperwork or financial aid documents I needed to submit to school systems).
So school is over but the work doesn’t stop just yet. I still have a blog to run and a writing career to advance
After Covid-19 I’m sure most people can understand just how much an environment can impact work, whether good or bad. Working from home I’ve had to make some adjustments because while the work continues from my same computer and systems, my office (work setting) has changed from a university campus to my room. After getting so used to my routine of traveling to and from school I’ve had to rethink how I can be the most productive working from home.
My Summer Productivity Routine and Plan
Now here is the plan,
I don’t want to change my system completely because it works and I’m going to go back to school for the next semester coming up and will be using the same (and improved) system again. But I’ve been thinking about using this summer to content batch and divvy up the time I spend on projects/tasks throughout the day to smaller increments of time.
The main types of writing I do are blog post writing and creative/fiction writing.
For my fiction stories, I’m going to start with 10 minutes. This was the time frame that helped me pick up writing consistency and discipline. And since I have been away from creative works for a quick minute I thought this would be the best way to get back. For blog works and other tasks, I’ve been thinking about 20-30 minutes per task. The small incremented time slots will allow me to get more work done without noticing the increase in workload. I do have A LOT of things to get done and I want to be strategic about how I tackle them.
Using the time system I will be doing the same things multiple times in a day, but 10 minutes at a time for example.
I may not use the timing system for everyday execution because sometimes I just need a whole day ( and some) for my fiction stories only but it will come in handy most days. Alongside this, I want to designate certain days for certain kinds of tasks. Like Monday for blog work, Tuesday for fiction stories, or whatever else I see fit. I have the tendency to waste time on one task so having days designated for certain works should help me move on. I’m not sure how heavily I’ll implement this ( like If I have my whole week designated or just a day or two) but it is something I want to try.
This Isn’t The Last Of It
As my workload changes and my productivity routine gets better I’ll have to write more posts or just update this one. But for now, this is how my productivity routine goes from week to week. Having to adjust it for the summer, I can’t wait to see how much work I’ve completed by the end of it.
If you’re a writer, or not, have you ever had to change up your productivity due to burnout and external factors?
Don’t just be a good writer, be a great one
Until my next words (on here that is)