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Ahh McKay… – Issue 14

The little things are key; our habits make us who we are. In a previous column, I have talked about the glamourising of continuous productivity and its toxicity to mental health and relationships. With another busy trimester looming, whilst still making sure that productivity isn’t the only goal in your life, I want to touch on the importance of developing a nexus (haha, get it?) of habits that can help you stay productive and get things done.


I would say that the foundational habit one should develop is sleeping, and I don’t mean taking naps in the middle of the afternoon or during your lectures. But having a solid sleep schedule and adhering to it will help you be more refreshed and recovered to perform at your best. I can recommend the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker for more insight, because as much fun as those late-night gaming sessions or whatever you do keeping you up late at night can be, it might not be the best for your productivity.


The next habit, especially for productivity, is avoiding distractions and building focus whilst studying or whatever you do. Your performance is greatly affected by how much effort and focus you put into something, so why not try your best in everything. Finding that flow state where everything else slips away while you work is the key. Another book I recommend is Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Building the habit of being able to utilise flow is the most significant way to boost your productivity.


Lastly, in line with my original column talking about taking breaks, your next habit to learn is when to step back for a bit. Intermittently taking a break from your work, even for a few minutes, is essential to give your mind a break, for you to reset and come back refreshed. Yes, we are students, but we are also people, not computers. Allow your brain to be constrained by the limits of its organic structures. 


Ultimately, take care of yourselves and put the work in; our little habits can make or break us.