Everytime school holidays arrive, I say: “This will not feel like holidays, I have loads of uni work to do!”. Saying this makes me feel and look busy but usually I spend my vacations doing everything but studying. Maybe is because lately my brain is busy with productivity and procrastination due to this blog but this Easter holidays were different.
I made some changes to my study method that are producing awesome result in productivity, fun and happiness. These are te 3 big changes that boosted my overall performance through the roof.
1. Eliminate the Stimuli for Distractions
If we understand why procrastination happens, this change is obvious. Eliminate the trigger and you will stop the action. Every time I work I need my computer, so it’s normal that all of my bad habits come from screens. These are the screens I have to look at every day, before and after the changes.
My Chrome bookmark bar was DESIGN for me to procrastinate! Facebook and Youtube has first?! After I deleted them I immediately stopped visiting Facebook an only went to Youtube to reply to comments. The same happened with my phone, with the addition of the bigass Road Delta icon. This is designed for me to write blog posts while I’m on the train, bus or toilet. “Many great things come while you are in the toilet…” – Diogo Lança
2. Track Your Progress
I like graphs. In engineering you learn to record and interpret every change you introduce in a system. The outcome is not just a beautiful graph, full of colors (bosses love FEM analysis) but the information and knowledge that they carry. I started using two web tools: Habitrpg and Fitocracy (shoutouts to @ for letting me know about these two tools). One tracks your productivity, the other your fitness.
Habitrpg converts your life into a videogame. If you are a gamer like me, you will appreciate this tool, as well as the 8-bit graphics. Input your habits, daily tasks and to-do’s. When you do well you earn experience points and level up, if you do bad you loose Health points.
The keyword for this tool is honesty. If you are honest with yourself, you will see the benefits of this tool. Earn gold and enjoy the rewards you deserve. You will do work when you need gold to watch an episode of Game of Thrones… Trust me.
Fitocracy is basically a your fitness database. Each time you run or go to the gym, you input in Fitocracy what you did. The website has a very good exercise database. Before I used this tool, I would input my gym data (sets, weight and reps) in an excel spreadsheet I made. This tool does that an much more. Like Habitrpg, you receive points for each workout and level up. The social aspect is kinda cool, you can invite friends, give ‘props’ to other people and build a community to motivate you and you others.
3. Do the Pomodoro
I came across this method while taking a Coursera course called Learning you to Learn. Only afterwards I realized that this tool is very popular. Maybe because is very simple to use or maybe it’s fun to say pomodoro. Either way, I use this tool a lot and I found a way to integrated with Habitrpg, making it even more effective. Each time I complete a pomodoro cycle (25 minutes of undisturbed work followed by a 5 minutes break) I receive experience points in Habitrpg. Everything is automatic made possible by the Habitrpg Chrome Extension.
Do you need to buy the official Pomodoro Technique timer to use this tool (#wasteofmoney)? You have cheaper and clever options. If you want to work without any electronics around you, you can buy a kitchen timer. If you use your laptop or mobile you can use these websites: tomato.es or tomato-timer.com or the app ClearFocus. I use tomato.es because it creates a database of when I do the pomodoros and for what task I did it.
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- Learning you to Learn – Learn the basics to be a great learner.
- Habitrpg – Transform your life into a videogame. Be rewarded if you do the things you plan to do.
- Habitrpg Chrome Extension – Enhance the habitrpg experience by tracking the websites you visit.
- Fitocracy – Track your fitness progress. Generates graphs where you can see your progress.
- tomato.es and tomato-timer.com – Good electronic timer for the pomodoro technique.