Have you wondered just how hard it is to become a productive and good student? There are many complications that arise, but to me, three of the most important skills of the top students are organization, motivation, and self-control.
Top students know how to organize their life to get everything done well. They find motivation when things get stressful and plain, and they know how to manage time and their own actions.
This all sounds well and good, but how exactly can you start practicing these essential skills [link]?
Begin by making these 5 types of lists. These lists, when used correctly and consistently, can help you get more things done in less time and do them well. So grab a notepad, and let’s start making some lists!
Homework To-Do List
If you’re a current student, you should already be familiar with making lists of your homework assignments, whether it’s in your planner, a notepad, or a note on your computer.
During the school day and whenever you are given a new assignment, jot it down in your planner. It’s also a good idea to organize your to-do list to differentiate each class; you can color-code different classes or simply insert headings.
Here’s an example of what my digital homework to-do list looks like:
As you can see, I created a digital sticky note on my computer desktop to keep track of homework assignments. I organized the classes by inserting small headings and putting assignments under each corresponding class.
Feel free to also include additional notes, such as due dates or progress checks! This list should be your go-to list every school day, so make sure to make it as useful as possible for yourself!
Miscellaneous To-Do List
Since your life doesn’t revolve completely around school and your homework assignments, you should also have a miscellaneous to-do list for all your personal tasks.
This is just like your general to-do list, where you note tasks like:
- Feed the cat
- Drop off mail
- Pick up the library book
- Pay John back
If you’re tired of plain paper to-do lists, try using a mobile app to manage your tasks instead! Popular options include Todoist and Minimalist, but there are many other viable options out there that you can try out.
YOU’LL LOVE THIS POST: 9 Free Apps Every Student Needs To Use
Just like the name suggests, a not-to-do list includes the things you should avoid doing when trying to be productive and focused, like in the middle of a study session.
Determine what you tend to do when distracted, and write them down on this list. This can include:
- Going on Instagram or Twitter
- Browsing YouTube
- Playing a game
- Online shopping
Once you’ve come up with a pretty exhaustive list, stick this list somewhere visible while you’re focusing. This way, whenever you feel the urge to do one of the listed things, you’ll be reminded why that item is on the list in the first place: don’t do it!
I introduced distraction lists in an older blog post – The Ultimate Guide To Studying From Home – and it’s still as relevant and useful as ever!
Whenever you plan on focusing for a longer period of time, keep a notebook or a piece of paper handy. This will become your distraction list while you work.
Whenever you have a fleeting thought or sudden memory of something relatively important but not urgent (like the fact that you need to email back a certain teacher), quickly jot it down on the notebook then get back to work.
Instead of breaking your concentration to go off that tangent, you can focus on your task until it’s completed, and then go back to the thing that came up. This ensures maximum efficiency of the task at hand while also making sure you don’t overlook anything.
Last but not least, whenever you’re going to spend a chunk of time studying – whether it’s alone or with a study group – prepare a study checklist.
On this list, you should take note of all the topics you want to cover, questions you want to answer, vocabulary to memorize, ideas and concepts to review, specific things to practice, etc.
Bring this list with you to your study session and cross off each item as you complete it. This will ensure that you don’t miss anything important while studying and that you’ll be fully prepared for whatever you’re studying for!
In addition to a study checklist, also be prepared with a study session planner! On this planner, you can list some goals (the most important ones from your checklist) and designate specific chunks of time to each.
You can download a free Study Session Planner (and many other printable planners) from my Freebie Library.
I hope this list of 5 lists (haha) was helpful for you! Once you implement these practices more consistently in your daily life, you’ll find yourself becoming more productive and completing tasks more efficiently!
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more of my student advice, check out these:
- 20 Actionable Steps To Become An Outstanding Student
- 9 Essential Study Skills To Study Smarter, Not Harder
- 9 Powerful Daily Habits For Productivity