Student perspective: Productivity – what does it mean to you?

Note: This post was written during the covid-19 pandemic. While university teaching is no longer 100% online, online learning is here to stay… whether in the form of online lectures or simply a quick Teams/ Zoom/ Skype call with your project group. So we think this blog post is just as relevant as ever! Now read on…

by Beth Robinson, Bristol Futures Advocate

My Facebook feed over the past couple of months has been bombarded with two types of posts:

  1. The ‘Fun things to do in quarantine!’ style posts – Largely comprising of how to learn a new language and/or all the various online courses you can now take for free.
  2. The ‘Don’t worry if all you did today was get up’ posts – Making the highly relevant point that your worth isn’t determined by your productivity, especially in such trying times.

Both are good points. And of course, it’s not as black and white as ‘doing everything at once’ or ‘never doing anything.’

So, what about when it comes to studying? Recently I’ve seen people getting down about their lack of productivity – so I’d like to pose a question: What does productivity mean to you? For example, it could mean ‘working for 3 hours a day’, or ‘practicing yoga and writing 500 words of an essay every day’, or ‘taking at least one day a week off to allow for better productivity throughout the week. Because there’s no ‘gold standard’; it’s different for everyone.

Your worth isn’t dependent on your productivity, but in equal measure there are active steps you can take towards being more productive if that is something you’d like to do.

Personally, I experience 3 different types of productivity, captured nicely in the three TED talks below:

1)    Inside the mind of a master procrastinator (relatable content):

2)    The happy secret to better work (on working smarter):

3)    How to make stress your friend (on finding a healthy relationship with stress when trying to be productive):

Give them a watch and leave your answer in the comments: What does productivity mean to you?

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