Over the past few weeks, I’ve experienced some of the most productive days of my life followed by some of the least productive days. The one thing I can take away from all of this? Your environment matters.
On days I have achieved a high level of productivity, I have spent time working and studying in the library. I discovered that I’m much more focused in the library. The environment is well lit, quiet, and often full of other people doing the same thing as me. The fact that there are other people working beside me motivates me to keep working; I’m always afraid of their silent judgment if I get off task. This contrasts with my home which is often cluttered, dark, and distracting where I’m studying.
To stay on task, I set a stopwatch and work for 90 minutes straight with no distractions. I turn off my phone and don’t worry about it because the world can live without me for 90 minutes without collapsing. With this focus, I can often get a lot done and comprehend course material much better than I otherwise could.
Of course, the days that have been particularly unproductive have been largely due to my environment. When I don’t go to the library, I am distracted, unmotivated, and frequently taking breaks. My focus decreases because of what is and isn’t around me.
You could argue that I could be productive in both environments, it’s just a mindset issue. If you are saying that, I definitely agree with you. I could be super productive at home, it would just take an extra level of discipline and focus.
I go to the library because I want to set myself up for success. I don’t want to make things harder than they should be, so I create an environment that I can succeed in.