How To Be More Productive Each Week

Between working a full time lab job, studying for the GRE, and blogging, I have to be super productive each and every week to make sure that everything is getting done and that everything is turning out well! How do I stay on top of the game each and every day, you ask? Well, it’s all about staying organized, keeping motivated, and having a supportive network to help you!

Last year, I wrote my most popular post ever. I don’t even know if writing is the correct term because it was literally maybe 150 words long which proves quality over quantity yet again. It’s purpose was to basically outline my self care schedule; because it lists all the things that make me feel happy, organized, and ready to conquer anything. My system works time and time again and it’s brilliant. Give me a good planning session, a free mani/pedi, and coffee; and I’m ready to conquer the world.

But, taking breaks for me can also be detrimental to my productivity. It’s also why I thought for the longest time that the Pomodoro method was pointless. How in the world does anyone get any school work done in 25 minutes. I think I would have barely even read my chemistry short answer question in 20 minutes. You thought I was joking, didn’t you? Yikes. Well, the Pomodoro technique actually does work if you’re actually being productive and cranking out the work you need to be doing. Here are some of my tips for increasing your productivity and getting more done throughout the week.

Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

I know what you’re thinking already: “Gabby, how does sleeping make me more productive? I want to be using my time to get things done, not for getting shut eye.” Well, my busy friend; you body needs its beauty rest to perform at its best. This is why I refuse to pull all nighters and I will always gets a ton of sleep the days right before exams. You need a clear, extremely well rested mind to work efficiently and for extended periods of time without getting distracted.

When I have those weeks where I have to run on maybe 5-6 hours of sleep, I can feel my body deteriorating at such a faster rate throughout the day. I strictly enforce my bed time and wake time by immortalizing them in my day designer. I legitimately write “wake up” and “bedtime” in my planner. That way I’m not scheduling study time or anything else outside these hours. It seriously works, y’all. Planners have weird powers over the soul.

Drink more water, especially before going to sleep and when waking up in the morning.

You can always find a water bottle or glass on my nightstand. I’ve really felt a lot better since drinking more water overall, because as a biochemist, I can tell you that your body is not a fan of being dehydrated. It’ll be sluggish and you won’t be able to hang for very long before clocking out for the day.

My number one piece of advice to people when they are trying to drink more water is: find yourself a straw. You drink so much more water when you drink out of a straw and so the first couple of weeks where I was trying to increase my water intake, I made it a point to drink out of camelback and tumblrs. It works like a dream; once you build the habit, it’s golden from there on!

Look at your planner every 2-3 hours.

Anyone else have a pretty good memory, and simply memorize your planner page for the day and leave it at that? Well, stop doing that. It’s hampering on your productivity. Trust me, I know. Once I took the time every couple of hours to update my to do list and schedule of events, I began to get more done throughout the day.

I wasn’t stressed about whether or not I had remembered the time of my meeting correctly. I was able to stay ahead of a potential time conflicts. It was also more likely that I would write down things that needed to happen later in the week if I made it a habit to look at my planner more often.

Make your bed right when your alarm goes off!

Now, I can’t be the only person who will literally lay in the bed for maybe 30 minutes after my alarm goes off because my bed is just too dang warm and comfy. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Well, my first remedy for this is by setting multiple alarms on multiple devices and have one of those devices very far away. For example, Alexa sets my alarm every morning, but I can easily shut her up with a voice command, so I also have my phone alarm go off about 15 minutes later so that I have to physically get up and turn it off. Clever, I know.

Then, I make it a rule in the morning that once I am out of bed, I have to make it up! No matter what. Even if my boss emails me saying I don’t need to come in, I still must make my bed and get the day started. This helps me be super productive by getting an early start! No more wasting time refreshing instagram 12 times before finally deciding to hop out of bed!

Schedule outings several days beforehand.

I love impromptu get togethers with friends, don’t get me wrong; but, we are trying to increase our productivity right? That means we need to utilize our time in the best way possible! Now, get your planners out and start finding the days of the week, times of the day, that you are typically free from responsibilities and normal everyday duties. Now, let’s reward ourselves a little because I know you all just said to yourselves, “I literally have no time, Gabby!”

You’re going to thank me later for giving you the freedom to treat yourself, so you’re welcome in advance! I like to plan out at least when and with whom I’m going to spend a couple hours with during the upcoming week. We don’t even necessarily have to plan what we are going to do, just that from 8-10am on Friday morning— you have me and I’m ready to hang out!! Also, having these things planned in advance gives me something to look forward to throughout my sometimes horrid weeks!

Meal plan, outfit plan, errand plan.

This one is pretty self explanatory, but the more you can plan for the annoying mundane things like eating and dressing yourself everyday. The more out of the ordinary random tasks you’ll be able to conquer. I highly suggest putting out your outfits the night before and packing up your lunch items. [Most of the time I only figure out what I want to eat the next day; I don’t really get around to actually making it.]

Need to send your books back to Amazon? Right it down. I always schedule my errand running in blocks because I have much more energy in medium length blasts, and will get tired quicker after maybe 2 single errand runs in one day.The more I plan things like this, the more I’ll actually get done. It makes sense though right?

It’s the summer, so we have a lot of free time in the day to get things done. By a lot, I mean much more than we typically do during the semester because I know you are working a job, scored an amazing internship, or are killing some summer classes! These are things that keep me productive and put a limit on the number of, ‘wow i got absolutely nothing done today’ days! What kind of things do you do to get productive?

  • Kristine Circenis

    Yes to water and double yes to scheduling ‘dates’ with your friends! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt crappy for not being able to go out spontaneously with friends in the name of working on my productivity!

    • For real though!! It can be such a trap because you definitely want to take breaks, but that doesn’t mean giving up a whole night of work sometimes.
      xo, G

  • You are living!! I’m going all out with my break right now but when I start working, these tips are going to be so helpful!

    Madison //

    • oh it can be a struggle sometimes, but I try!! Thanks for reading gf 🙂
      xo, G

  • Prerana

    Yes! It is all about planning… organized chaos 😉

  • Amy

    Such great tips!! I started drinking a glass or two of water of water before bed and one right when I wake up and it’s a game changer!


    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  • Love all of these. I just started a planner and I hope that helps with my productivity.

    • oh it 100% will!! I just have a much better idea of what I need to be doing each day when I plan!
      xo, G

  • You are absolutely gorgeous, Gabby! I absolutely love the photos in this post.

    And these are AMAZING tips! I needed this reminder 🙂

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

    • oh thanks sweetheart!! and I think we all need the reminder every once and awhile! I fall off the track sometimes and it’s nice when people post things like that to remind me of how I CAN be put together with literally minimal effort!
      xo, G

  • The getting more sleep thing is the ONE part of adulating I struggle with! It’s SO tempting and easy to skimp on sleep while convincing myself I “don’t have time”!

    • Right though!! You need sleep to survive; so get get some zzzz’s haha
      xo, G

  • These tips are so on point and not just for students– these will help SO much and lead to sucess when in a job and professional career. Get into these good habits early!

  • I know this post is about productivity but I’m distracted by your outfit-so cute! Okay now back to the topic at hand, these are excellent tips! I need to work on making my bed right when my alarm goes off, it really makes my whole room feel more organized and it doesn’t take more than two minutes.

    • oh my goodness thanks!! Yes, also I have so many dang pillows that once I make it I already feel accomplished for setting it up the way I like it and no way would I be messing it up again!
      xo, G

  • Making your bed right when you get up is key though! After I make it I don’t want to mess it up again so usually I just start being productive on other things!

  • I need to drink more water for sure. Great tips 🙂

    xx, Melissa

  • thesophiadiaries

    great tips, and true true true! I don’t make my own bed though and…I’m okay with that 😉

    • haha girl, I don’t feel right if I don’t make it at this point! 🙂
      xo, G

  • Ugh I’ve started a planner like 20 times this year alone! I want to make it work.. I really do. I just keep reverting back to random lists on post it’s or on my iNotes app. Also, girl I need to DRANK MORE WATERRR.

    • So, truth be told I was the same way and I felt like it was so hard to keep up with it but then I got into stickers and colored pens and it made it more fun!! Also, you don’t technically need a paper planner. A lot of my super organized and productive friends use calendar apps on their phone!! I say whatever works for you is a go; I know that the blogging community love their ECs and Day Designers, but a digital calendar can also be the way to go! And DRANK YOUR WATER!! haha
      xo, G

  • I totally think getting more sleep is beneficial. I feel groggy if I don’t get enough sleep and that cuts into my productivity time.

  • mckenna bleu

    Making your bed is a great way to start off a productive day!

  • These are such great tips to stay productive. I keep my planner open on my desk while I’m working which helpes me keep on track instead of doing random things throughout the day. And good luck with your GRE! I took it just over a year ago (and now I’m finished grad school!), and it really wasn’t as bad as you think. The book and practice tests online helped me so much!

    • Thank you!! That’s so nice to know because I wasn’t sure what exactly people found most useful, but I’ll definitely try out those resources. I feel like I’m in SAT/ACT mode 2.0!
      xo, G

      • I totally understand that haha. Honestly, I only needed the book to brush up on my math (I hadn’t really taken trig/geometry since high school), understand the scoring/sections, and get practice tests. And I bought the vocab flash card set. The flash cards helped me so much since that section is pretty big and generally weighed heavier depending on the program you’re going into, and if you can get through the practice tests online, the actual exam is the same thing!

        • Jumping in here… get the app and do the vocab quizzes there too! It’s helpful because you can flip through words while you’re out waiting in line or something… it also gives you notifications and reminds you to study which was helpful for me because I never wanted to lol

  • Getting more sleep has been key for me. I haven’t made my bed this past week, but making it definitely helps too!

    • It can make a world of difference, trust me!! Thanks for reading 🙂
      xo, G

  • Sami Mast

    These are all such great tips! I definitely need to be looking at my planner more and updating my to do lists!

    The Classic Brunette

  • These are honestly such good tips! I need to start making my bed as soon as my alarm goes off- maybe it’d help me from going back to sleep!

  • I agree 2000% with all of these! I have never and will never do an all-nighter. I feel like that’s just torturing your body and mind and you need both of those things to do well on an exam! I also write absolutely everything down and it’s super helpful, as is actually checking and utilizing your planner as often as you can. Great post as always gf

    Kayla |

    • So true so true!! Yeah, I used to go the entire day without looking at my planner and then being like oh wow I didn’t get any of this done, I’m dumb!! SO yeah, gotta write in and look at your planner. Thanks babe!
      xo, G

  • Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    What amazing tips! I NEEDED this! I start every week with high hopes but find myself slacking by Friday. I will need to follow these tips for sure

  • Jordyn Upchurch

    Yes to the straw thing-I always drink more of anything when I have a straw!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

    • Straws are the best!! haha Thanks for reading gal!
      xo, G

  • Alyssa Larsen

    I think one my biggest time suckers is hitting snooze, especially on days when I don’t have to be anywhere, I just need to be getting stuff done! I always convince myself I can sleep a liiitttllleee longer!