Are you stressed? Fatigued? Curled up under your desk in the fetal position without a clue as to how you’re going to make it through the rest of the semester?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, or you generally feel like your productivity needs a boost, I’ve got a golden nugget of scientifically-backed advice for you — relax.
Close your book. Take a nap. Do some damage to your Netflix queue.
It might seem paradoxical and even counterintuitive, but recent studies have found that taking time away from your work can help to increase your overall productivity. This sounds too good to be true — and can be dangerous to your productivity if you overdo it — but really it’s just making the most of your time.
When you feel like you don’t have enough hours in a day, it can be tempting to try to squeeze as much work as you can into every possible minute. But time is finite — you can’t allot yourself more hours in a day. You can, however, make the most of your hours by maximizing your energy, which can help increase your overall productivity.
By taking the time to do things that truly reenergize you — whether that entails getting coffee with friends, leaving Vermillion for a few hours or rolling yourself into a burrito of blankets and re-watching one of your favorite movies — you’re more likely to get more or even better work done when you actually hit the books.
Granted, it can be difficult to find a good balance, and I’m not endorsing eschewing all of your responsibilities and devoting the entirety of your time to binging on all the things that make you feel good. Pro tip: if Netflix is gently suggesting you might be overdoing it by asking ‘Are you still there?,’ you might want to extract yourself from your blanket burrito and get a little work done.
But if you’re sitting in the library, motionlessly staring at your screen or a book, and you realize you haven’t had a coherent thought in fifteen minutes other than fantasizing about eating a grilled cheese in the comfort of your home, you should go get yourself that grilled cheese, get a good night’s sleep and try again in the morning.
And if anyone makes you feel lazy for doing so or questions your priorities, let them know you’re strategically maximizing your time and tell them to beat it.