The Secret to Productivity

How to set goals and follow through

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The Secret to Productivity

Allison Heithoff, Editor-in-Chief of Quintessence

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Today marks the inevitable start of a new semester, while the new year has barely begun its second week. That being said, I’ll admit I’ve never been a huge advocate for New Year’s resolutions because I believe every day should be a chance to better yourself. However, now is certainly a fitting time for a few of my suggestions on how best to be productive and accomplish what you want this year, school related or not.

Long Term Goals

One of the most important and effective things to do first is map out your long term goals. Organize yourself with a planner or calendar and come up with the most significant things you want to accomplish throughout the year along with a set date you think they can be feasibly accomplished. Without creating a timeline, goals will just keep getting pushed back and start to be viewed as a thing of the future instead of a matter of the present.

Short Term Goals

In addition to long term goals, it’s important to have things you want to hold yourself accountable for on a daily basis. This could be as simple as vowing to start your homework at a certain time each night to prevent procrastinating. Whatever it might be, create an easy checklist of things you want to accomplish each day. Not only is it immensely satisfying to check something off when you complete it, but it also prevents you from pushing obligations and responsibilities out of your mind.


Another key part of being productive is learning to prioritize because working on a project due two weeks from now instead of a big assignment due tomorrow is not going to pan out too well. While this may be seem obvious, this concept is important in determining how and when to tackle different tasks. If there is no difference in when something needs to be accomplished, it helps to start with your hardest task first. This way you have the most energy going into it, rather than pushing it off to the end when you are going to be flat out done trying.

Find a Creative Outlet

The most important piece of productivity is having motivation to do the tasks you plan on accomplishing. That is why it is crucial to prevent yourself from burning out, whether from sheer exhaustion or over-committing yourself. A way to prevent this from happening is to find a creative outlet. Color in one of those trendy adult coloring books, work a puzzle, bake something, or write in a journal. These kinds of activities function almost therapeutically and will stimulate your brain and increase motivation, as opposed to fruitlessly wasting away hours on social media or binge watching Netflix.

Regardless of it being the beginning of a new semester and a new year, there is no better time than the present to start taking the necessary steps to live up to the standards you want to set forth for yourself. At the end of the day, how productive you are lies entirely in your own hands, but I hope these tips make the process seem much more attainable and applicable to life in high school.