How to be Productive in College and Get Things Done

Tips to become more productive in college so you can achieve your goal

Do you struggle to get things done? Are you wondering how to be more productive in college? Then, you are just like millions of other college students, who wake up every morning with a long to-do list, and not enough time to do everything.

Knowing how to stay productive in college is such an important skill to learn for a number of reasons. For example, you will get more stuff done in less time and important tasks won’t get overlooked. Also, no more submitting your assignments late or staying up most nights because you wasted so much time procrastinating.

Once you learn how to be productive in college, your life will become less stressful and more fun, I promise. So, here are some of the best productivity tips for college students.

If you are a mom in college, these tips also apply to you, but you can check out the post below for productivity tips for student moms.

Related: 9 Productivity Tips for Student Moms Who Want Success



While there are lots of productivity tips out there (and you might have heard of some of them), the ones in this post are some of the most effective ways to improve your productivity, so there’s no harm in hearing them all over again.

Here they are.


When you procrastinate, what you are saying is that your time is not valuable and you don’t have anything important to do with it. Procrastination steals valuable time from you, and it’s time you will never get back.

When I was in college, I had so much to do, and I never had enough time to do everything. Mind you, my natural tendency is to wait until the last moment to get things done, but I knew that would kill my college dream, so I had to learn to stop procrastinating.

Here are some ways to stop procrastinating.

  • Break up your task into little steps if it feels too overwhelming
  • Get rid of distractions when it’s time to work or study
  • Don’t over-complicate things. Make things as easy as possible.
  • Stop waiting for the perfect time. There’s no time like the present.
  • Do more, talk less. Spend more time doing instead of talking about all the things you need to do. Planning can only take you so far. What you need is more action.


Make time for what’s important. You can do this by creating a priority list and using your list to determine how and what you should spend your time on.

For example, if you are a student who works (especially if you support yourself with your job), then your studies and your job should be at the top of your priority list.

The tasks at the top of your list should be tasks that will help you maintain a healthy balance between your academics and your work. For example, studying and completing assignments, attending classes, eating well, getting enough sleep, and staying healthy so you don’t break down.

Think about all the things you do while in college, then make a priority list with the most important things at the top.


College is such a busy and noisy place to be. You are surrounded by so many distractions that it’s hard to stay focused on your goals. While some of these distractions are self-inflicted, others are out of your control. However, you can still take steps to eliminate or minimize them.

I love technology as much as the other person but I also know that excessive or ill-timed use of technology can affect your productivity, so you want to control that. Think about how often you use your phone while working on an assignment, or how often you check your emails in between tasks.

When you are in the middle of something important, you have to control these distractions. For example, consider silencing alerts on your phone or turning it off, or closing all the tabs on your laptop, except the ones you need for that particular task.

While these might seem like little things, they can affect your productivity and slow you down. So if you want to learn how to be productive as a college student, you have to learn how to minimize distractions around you.


Unfortunately, lots of college students procrastinate and waste a lot of time instead of working on their assignments or studying for a test. Guess what happens when you wait until the last minute? You put yourself under a lot of pressure and you end up under-prepared for a test or exam.

One of the reasons many college students don’t live up to their potential or do as well as they could in school is because of this habit. I know very well what I am talking about here. For example, waiting until the night before a test to study. While I passed most of those tests or exams, I didn’t get the grades I could have if I had spent more time studying.

So, if your goal is to be more productive in college and if you want to excel in college, start by setting your own deadlines. For every task (at least the most important ones), set a deadline for completing them.

Give yourself enough time to complete each task. By setting deadlines and giving yourself time to complete them, you will reduce the number of “emergencies” you have and you will easily stay on top of your schoolwork.

I know emergencies happen (like your laptop dying the night before a paper is due), but you can avoid a lot of them by setting deadlines and completing your work early.

So, go ahead and give this a try. See if it doesn’t make a difference to your productivity.


When you are in college, getting things done, and done well, is all about keeping track of deadlines. You can’t stay on top of your schoolwork if you have no idea of some important deadlines.

I see so many students lament the fact that they missed a test or the deadline to submit a paper or complete an assignment. At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to know when your tests and exams are scheduled and when the papers and assignments are due.

So, get a calendar or a planner and make a note of all the important deadlines. Go through all your class syllabus or materials to find all the dates. Write them done and set reminders on your phone or some other app (or use any method you prefer).

Keeping track of deadlines is a great way to be productive and to get a lot of college-related tasks and activities done with little or no fuss.

If you haven’t read it, Getting Things Done and Getting Things Done Workbook, can help you to become more efficient and productive. Why don’t you check it out?


Do you know when you are most productive? Knowing when you are most productive is a great way to get a lot of important tasks done. Lots of people fall into a slump by afternoon or early evening, while others tend to thrive at night.

Identify when you are most alert and when you do your best work and use that period to focus on your most important tasks. For example, do you prefer studying at night or do you feel wiped out at night time?

If the latter, then the best time to study is during the day. This means rearranging your schedule to ensure you can fit in some study time during the day.

If you are unsure when you are most productive, here is a way to find out. Track your time for a number of days (say three to five days) and at the end of that period, you will discover the times during each day you are most productive. Don’t change your routine or schedule during this period so you can get an accurate result.

Take note of the times when you are very active or inactive during the day, and when you are most focused. That’s how you know when you are most productive.


If you have a hard time prioritizing your tasks or staying focused, you can use time blocks throughout the day to get the most important things done.

Some people prefer to block out a large chunk of time (like 2-4 hours) while others prefer mini-blocks of scheduled time (like 20-30 minutes). How you use time blocks depends on a lot of factors like how much time you have, how much work you have to do, and how long you can stay focused.

If you can’t stay focused for long periods of time, setting mini-blocks of time is the most effective way to stay productive. For example, complete one assignment, 12:00 to 12:30, or study for a test, 1:30 to 2:30.

The important thing to note is that during each block of time, you focus on only one specific thing and ignore everything else. Don’t try to study while cleaning or cooking. Pick a task, focus on it, complete it, then move on to the next thing.


As a college student, you are going to have a lot of opportunities to say yes to different things. It’s easier to say yes than no, but saying yes too often can become harmful to you, so you need to find a balance.

Many college students struggle to say no because of fear of rejection or to please their fears even when they know their time would be better spent on something else. Well, if you really want to be a productive student, you will have to learn to say no as often as is necessary.

For many college students, life is so packed that you can’t afford to keep saying yes to other people’s requests (unless you are happy to ignore the things that are important to you).

So, while it’s okay to want to make friends happy, it shouldn’t come at the expense of things that are important to you or ultimately, your college goals.


A clean and tidy workspace can boost your productivity. By clearing and decluttering your workspace, you make it easier to focus whenever you sit down to study or do some schoolwork.

A cluttered or disorganized space can be distracting, so taking the time to keep your study space free and clear can help your focus and mental clarity especially if you utilize the same space every day.

So, take a look around your study desk or workspace. Is it clean and organized? Does it look cluttered? Is there stuff you can get rid of to make your space less distracting? Taking the time to declutter your workspace is a great use of your time and can help you to become more productive in college.


When all is said and done, it’s up to you to make the best decisions and do what is right for you. This means taking personal responsibility for your life in college and how you spend your time.

If graduating from college is your main goal, then it’s up to you to do the things that will help you to achieve that goal. Personal accountability is all about setting clear goals, then holding yourself to meeting those goals.

So when you think about how to be productive in college, remember you are accountable to yourself and try to make the best decisions possible. For example, start using your time wisely, don’t make excuses, prioritize your tasks, and continue to look for ways to improve your life.

Closing thoughts on how to be productive in college

Staying productive in college is all about knowing the right things to do and doing them. You can be a productive college student as long as you manage your time well, know when you are most productive, and stop procrastinating.

If you have been less productive than you’d like, use the tips in this post to help boost your productivity. Pick one or two tips at a time, incorporate them into your life, and go from there.

There are lots of productive things to do in college, so spend the bulk of your time doing them.

Related mom and student articles

How to Find Time to Study as a College Mom

How to Focus on Online School (For Busy Moms)

How to Create an Effective Student Mom Schedule

How to be Productive in College and Get Things Done

how to be productive in college

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