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  • Mint Suetrong

More to Productivity than Schoolwork

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

By: Mint Suetrong, Contributing Writer

Productivity, as stated by the Cambridge Dictionary, means, “resulting in or providing a large amount or supply of something” and “having positive results,” no mentions of school or excessive stress found.

Society has made us feel like we are always in a rush, always running towards a dream- a goal, running non-stop. We cannot even take a moment to catch our breath without a pang of guilt and a list of ‘things we could be doing’ resonating in our minds. Let’s enjoy our youth and focus on the “having positive results” part in the definition of ‘productivity’. Here is a list of some worthwhile activities that you can do when school gets a bit too overwhelming.

  1. Reading

How long has it been since you last let yourself ‘get lost’ in a book? Today is the day. Pick up that book that you have been meaning to read, or an ‘old but gold’ one. If you are feeling anxious, I suggest reading a book that you are quite familiar with. An adrenaline rush is the last thing you would want when you are on the verge of having a panic attack. Stick to books that are shorter and less complicated. I always find myself reaching for children’s storybooks in these situations. Make yourself a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate, stay away from caffeinated drinks. Excessive sugar is also not advised unless you want a sugar rush but hey, if you want to eat that chocolate chip cookie, eat that chocolate chip cookie. Wear your favourite pair of pyjamas, turn on some calming music and let yourself delve into another realm. If you end up falling asleep, know that you deserve rest.

2. Learning a different language

From duolingo to binge-watching foreign TV shows, there are a multitude of ways you could pick up a new language. Of course, it will take a lot of time and practice just to even become semi-fluent in a particular language. However, understanding a couple of words or phrases may just give you enough pride to power through another day. My favourite show has been Going Seventeen, a youtube show that follows K-Pop boy group, Seventeen.

3. Exercising

Go out for a walk. Dance. Do 15 minutes of yoga. You are bound to get cramps from sitting still for hours on end. Take some time away from the screen and sweat your stress away. If you really are on a time crunch and do not have time to wash and condition your hair after exercising, I suggest some light stretching or fooling around to a couple of songs before working again. Remember, you need to take breaks to be able to work efficiently. Exercising controls two crucial hormones, serotonin and dopamine, and makes sure they are on a desirable level. If in their correct proportions, these two hormones can make you feel happier and less tense.

Less stress, less mess everyone :)

4. Catching up with a friend

Personally, nothing is more rejuvenating than a wholesome conversation. If you are living away from home, give your loved ones a call. Facetime your childhood friend. Ask an old friend how they are doing. From my experience, once you are friends with someone, the friendship really never ends, no matter how long you go without talking to them. We are only humans after all; what are humans without communication? Being cooped up in your room alone for hours on end does no good to no one. If you really are drowning in work, then give someone a call while both of you work. Play some music. Crack some jokes. Enjoy their company. Multitasking is a skill that is difficult to acquire so I recommend you do this only for less important assignments. However, if you are revising for a test that requires a lot of memorisation, I’d highly recommend calling a friend as you both could quiz each other. Additionally, explaining a certain concept to another person will ensure that you completely understand it. With that being said, everyone’s learning style is different so what works for me may not work for you and that is completely okay. Just remember to take a few breaks in between your study sessions.

5. Gardening

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing your plants flourish. Coming home from a tiring day at school to see my not-so-little sunflower babies standing strong and tall instantly put a smile to my face. However, if you are living somewhere with limited space or sunlight, try getting a succulent to place in your room. Having some greenspace around you is crucial, especially during exam season when you are constantly staring at screens. As the colour green has the most suited wavelength for our eyes, we do not need to strain them as much to perceive it. For this reason, scientists believe that this colour may help calm us down as it puts less stress on our nervous system. [1]

While school is important, your health is far more important in the long run. Do not neglect your well-being no matter how many assignments, tests, or projects school may throw at you. Do your best, but allow yourself to rest too. You deserve it. You do not have to stress yourself out over every assignment. You do not need to ace every test. Live a little. You’ve got this, I believe in you.

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