Daydreaming won’t get you that dream residency. To stay sharp and do well in your classes, a consistent schedule is key. Read on for 8 highly effective habits designed to squeeze the most productivity out of your day.

Exercise First

Starting your day off right means more than eating a hearty breakfast – you also need a hearty workout. Getting your physical activity in early decreases stress, puts you in a good mood for the rest of the day, gives you a long-lasting energy boost, and, of course, improves your health.

Nix Notifications

Your phone just buzzed. Did someone respond to your witty tweet? Is Groupon offering another 25% off? What is life? Keep those distracting thoughts out of your head by turning off your notifications. In fact, when you’re concentrating on your workload for the day, you should probably silence your phone altogether.

Schedule Time to Check Emails and Messages

You don’t have to disconnect from the world entirely. Dedicate time to catch up on messages you missed while you were focusing on your studies. If you indulge this seemingly minor habit throughout the day, email can eat up 28% of your workday — time that could be spent studying for another course or finally vacuuming your apartment.

Have Snacks & Water Nearby

Keep hunger and thirst at bay with a supply of snacks and water within arm’s reach of your study space. Noshing on these will keep your energy high, and having them nearby prevents you from getting distracted by trips to the kitchen.

Create a Playlist

The right tunes can keep you attuned to your studies. Build a lyric-free playlist to help you focus on the task at hand. Plus, listening to music while you work may improve your cognitive functions.

Start Small

Your phone is silenced, snacks are at the ready, and you have the perfect music queued. Now it’s time to work. Start with tasks you can accomplish quickly. If it takes less than two minutes, do it right now to clear up your to-do list. Move on to tasks that will take a half hour, an hour, and so on.

Don’t Second Guess Yourself

One of productivity’s worst enemies (outside of procrastination) is overthinking. If you let yourself get too wrapped up in your mind the rest of the day can pass before you realize it. If you’re stuck on a particular task, put it aside for later and work on something you can power through now. The goal is to keep working until you reach your natural stopping point for the day.

Plan for Tomorrow, Today

Before you head off to the Municipality of Sleep, set up everything you need for tomorrow – books, clothes, food, etc.  – to save time in the morning when it’s time to start fresh. Don’t break the habit of keeping a consistent, productive schedule by thinking it’s a perpetual Groundhog Day-type scenario, though. Think of it as February 3. You will eventually break out of the bad habit cycle. It just takes a little bit of time and a lot of effort. When you do, you’ll notice how much more productive you can be.

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