Establishing Healthy, Productive Routines - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Campus Life
January 2, 2020

Establishing Healthy, Productive Routines

How to Set Yourself Up for Productivity

A new year is a great time to establish healthy, productive routines. Not everybody is a plan-every-minute person, or a list person, or even someone particularly goal-oriented.

Some of us (me included) are more of the type to stare off at the sunset and forget what time it is. However, as a serial procrastinator, let me assure you that having a sense of your goals and motivations, as well as some sense of regularity, will not only reduce procrastination but help you feel better at the end of the day and the end of the week when you are ready to have an adventure.

Even a well-oiled routine can help clear the way for those late-night, impromptu adventures you might have. College is a crazy fun time to not only expand your mind but your horizons. However, to avoid aimlessly stumbling into a graduation gown, my best advice is to have a practice - a way to create balance and calm - based on what you have going on and when you work best.

Here are a few guidelines to get started with a routine in the new year: 

1. Identify your goals and schedule

The first step to living with purpose is to focus on your goals monthly, weekly, daily. Start by identifying whatever goal you have and then categorize it into a time or a specific end date. Don’t forget to have goals towards taking care of your well-being.

2. Know your style

Chances are, by now you understand when you work well. When you can focus best, morning, afternoon, evening, or night. If your style is grinding on that assignment at midnight, then you should probably 1) avoid early classes if at all possible and 2) schedule late nights as the time when you work. Everyone has a most productive time. Your routine should play to those strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. Have an afternoon class you practically sleep your way through? Play your circadian clock by drinking some afternoon coffee or tea, or schedule a workout or energy-boosting snack beforehand.

Knowing these things, it also helps to be willing to move things around for the sake of that group project or imperative project coming up.

3. Establishing structure 

Establishing structure in your routine is the next step up and combines your goals with your style. This is where you identify the free time you have between classes and activities and figure out how to use it properly. Having a routine (such as going to the library before morning class or after dinner) is going to create a sense of calm in a typical day where you might otherwise be stressed or feel chaotic. Even the most scattered people might need some ritual in their life to keep it calm.

4. Set intention 

Understanding why you scheduled yourself the way you did is the next step, because you have to be honest about what you can actually maintain as well as ask yourself why you scheduled it that way. Going back and questioning your reasoning is the best way to schedule and draft a routine with intention. College can create chaos in your mind, and it tends to blur your purpose for working so hard and stressing out as bad as most college students do. Be honest about how much work you can get done and how long it takes you to get different things done. Know how much time you need for activities, and most importantly, know when you need to take a break.

5. Log progress 

Test out your schedule and adjust along the way. Also, find a way to log the progress you are making. Create a habit tracker or just a way to reward yourself for making progress.

6. Make it rewarding 

Leave time to prepare for the next day and time to unwind. At the end of the week, pat yourself on the back and give yourself a break to reward yourself for all your hard work during the week.

-Chelsea Curry ‘20


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