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The Orion

    5 Tips on Post-Spring Break Productivity

    Try it out, see if they work for you. Photo credit: Gage Northcutt

    Spring break for 2019 has come and gone and we are all trying to get back to the old grindstone. Coming back from beaches to books is not easy for anyone, so here are a few tips to use for reestablishing a positive work ethic for the semester:

    1. Do NOT multi-task.

    You may want to get everything done at once. After all, it’s simple math. Why complete one task when you can complete five?

    Well, the brain may not be that simple. In a study from Stanford, it is proposed that the brain, while incredibly complex has “one fundamental mechanism” that allows for our higher cognitive functions (memory, attention, task-based actions, etc.).

    The brain blocks out a lot of background stimuli to assure that you can handle tasks effectively, but this also means it must be done one at a time or else the brain’s train-of-thought can be derailed. Pun very intended because attention is key to productivity.

    2. Make a list.

    The power of lists compels you. This is in alliance with the first tip just to ensure you remain organized with your tasks. Be sure to be as specific as possible with your list. What are you doing? When are you doing it? How much of it is realistic to complete?

    In the book “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently” by author Heidi Grant-Halvorson she emphasizes just how important the specificity is. When it comes to completing goals, the more specific the goal the more likely you are to do it. By writing it down you are now bringing the abstract into the real world, making it far less likely to be ignored.

    3. Avoid the dark.

    Multiple studies suggest that being in more well-lit areas help to increase awareness and productivity. This has to do with our circadian rhythm which is the biological clock that tells us when it is time to be awake and asleep.

    If you are around more light, your brain is more awake and alert as you would be during the day. Same goes for the dark, you feel more relaxed and passive as you would at night. Best to have the lights on in your room so you can have the lights on in your head.

    4. Be happy.

    Now that sounds vague but hear me out. When you are happier you are more creative and willing to do things.

    Have you ever had to do something you hated? Have you ever had to do something you loved? Which one were you better at doing? Most likely you would’ve chosen the happier option. When you are in a good mood you tend to do a better job.

    If you chose the latter then you may be a masochist.

    5. Strike a pose.

    You may have viewed the TED Talk with Amy Cuddy on “high-power poses.” According to Cuddy’s talk, our bodies seem to have more influence on our minds than some may think. When we are more expressive and appear more confident, our behavior tends to reflect that.

    Take a second between each task and try power posing. This will help you to feel ready and more willing to take on your work like the superhero you are and appear to be.


    It may seem rough at first, but with a few small behavior changes, we’ll be ready to finish our semester strong. Stay safe getting back . Hope your break was great and the rest of Spring 2019 will be even better. Good luck out there!

    Gage Northcutt can be reached at or @GageNorthcutt on Twitter.

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