In previous blogs I’ve written about the importance of good habits of productivity in the workplace and how to integrate them into your daily habits. The practice of these, however, don’t have to wait until your first work experience to be put into place. In fact, the earlier you begin some of these habits the better it will prepare you to compete for the jobs you want upon your graduation from college. Here are a few you can put into place today as a student that will provide a firm foundation for the transition to the workplace someday.
Establish and maintain good sleep habits. Yes, yes, I know the whole point of college seems to be stay up late, sleep in and schedule all afternoon classes. While a reasonable amount of this is certainly acceptable there are several reasons why I list this first and foremost. More and more brain studies are telling us that the morning hours are the peak times for creativity and problem-solving. This is not showing to be linked to personality type and no, you are not the outlier on this. Setting these patterns as a student will pay off in more efficient uses of your time and ultimately better outcomes in your studies. As an added payoff many studies are also now showing that good sleep patterns, beginning early in life, can stave off such things as dementia and other cognitive diseases which strike older people. Getting good sleep and getting enough of it around peak times that your brain wants to work is a great habit to work for.
Set goals, plan for them, track them, and keep them. Sure, everyone begins the semester thinking “this is the semester I buckle down.” That desire fades quickly in the reality of the first few weeks of the semester. Take some time to write out realistic goal and the steps it will take to get there. Once you have captured this then translate these to your calendar blocking out time to work on them in coordination with the syllabi you get at the beginning of the semester. Good intentions are just that; intentions. Good planning toward your goals will pay off now and set a great habit for your future workplace experience.
Establish healthy patterns of exercise, diet, and social interaction. Again, it’s certainly reasonable and even necessary sometimes to splurge on some decadent food or have a lazy day. To move toward greater productivity, however, means healthy overall patterns. Productivity, in the end, is not that different than an athlete’s approach to training. They can’t be at their physical best if their diet and exercise doesn’t reflect that intention. Your ability to be productive is no different. To be at your personal best your mind, body, and soul need to be nourished. This means eating well, getting an acceptable amount of exercise, and having healthy social interactions (beyond social media). Starve one of these areas over the course of years in the workplace and you will find yourself lethargic and burned out. You can head this off by even a reasonable practice of balance in these key areas.
Being efficient and productive isn’t just a switch that magically turns on when you hit a certain age or life stage any more than you would expect to wake up one day and suddenly know how to play a new musical instrument. It takes ownership and planning on your part to put the first pieces into place. The earlier you begin to even broadly practice this the more it becomes your orientation and helps you to become the type of person an organization desires to hire.