If there is one thing I’ve learned about living alone, it’s that sometimes it’s hard to be productive. When I’m alone sometimes, it’s easier to convince myself to watch one more episode of Scandal than it is to begin reading for class tomorrow. It’s also easier to convince myself to just go to bed than it is to finish homework. I usually promise I’ll finish it in the morning, and just head to bed (granted, I usually do). Perhaps the worst part of living alone? Laziness. It’s so much easier to be lazy than be productive when living alone, which is kind of weird. I thought living alone I’d be less distracted than when I lived with someone, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Since I lived with someone for two years, now I’m used to studying and hanging out with someone. Being productive alone has become a difficulty. So, I wanted to share some tips and tricks for making sure you’re maintaining a productive and efficient lifestyle once you live alone after being used to roommates (or when you’re living totally alone for the first time).
Tip #1: Create an organized and clean workspace.
If there is one thing I find HIGHLY distracting, it’s a messy room when I’m trying to work. I’m a little OCD, and so when I try to homework in a room with an unmade bed, dirty dishes, and a messy desk, I cannot concentrate for the life of me. I usually will take an hour or so in order to maintain concentration.
Tip #2: Make a to-do list, and reward yourself for crossing tasks off.
I’m the queen of to-do lists. I make them daily, and I make multiple. I usually make a personal to-do list (i.e., clean room, fold laundry, do dishes, go grocery shopping), and a professional (i.e., finish homework, type up daily response, organize Google calendar, email management). Once you finish an item, eat a piece of chocolate, or take a ten minute break. Do something to keep your motivation present, but also ensures you’re not studying from dawn til dusk.
Tip #3: Listen to music with headphones.
While I’m typically tempted to blast music in my room, since I live alone, I’ve realized that I simply concentrate better with headphones. I think it is partially owed to the fact that I listened to music with headphones when I lived with someone, and now just associate headphones with productivity and serious study. So, I use headphones when I really need to concentrate and study. It keeps me focused on what I’m doing.
Tip #4: Set your coffee pot to make coffee ten or fifteen minutes before you get up.
Since you may not have someone else to get up and have coffee with, or who is already up, make a new incentive to wake up early. I used to hate sleeping in if my roommate was already awake because I felt like I was missing out, or like they couldn’t easily navigate the room since I was sleeping. I also feel like having a roommate makes getting up easier because you have someone to get breakfast with, have coffee with, etc. However, living alone makes it difficult to wake up and get moving. Make coffee before you get up…the smell will be incentive to get out of bed.
Tip #5: Work out in the evenings.
I usually have a ton of energy in the evenings, so sometimes I’ll do some yoga or some form of exercise to get energy out. I don’t have someone to talk to, or work out with, so doing something simple can reduce my energy level, and make me refocus on schoolwork. For the record, I’m still working on incorporating working out into my everyday life.
How do you stay productive living alone?