How to Turn Around an Unproductive Day

As students, it’s not uncommon that we have a lot on our plate at any given time. When you’re feeling burned out, exhausted, or just downright unmotivated, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything. Here are some tips for turning an unproductive day around!

Write out a physical to-do list.

Sometimes my unproductive days are caused by feeling incredibly overwhelmed by all the tasks I have lined up. What I find that helps me is to make a checklist of all the tasks that I absolutely have to do, and then a separate list of tasks I can get ahead on. Not only does this help me clear my thoughts, but it allows me to move from one thing to the next without much thinking!

Make sure to eat.

Nothing kills my motivation more than being hungry. Before you sit down to work, grab a filling snack or a meal. I used to put eating lower on my priority list than getting my tasks done, but food truly is fuel! Take care of yourself, and productivity will follow.

Tackle an easy task first.

A massive to-do list can be super daunting. If you’re unsure where to start, find a smaller task that you don’t feel super overwhelmed by to start with. Once you complete that task, you’ll get the ball rolling.

Acknowledge your need for rest!

If these tips haven’t helped you have a productive day, that’s okay! It’s important to acknowledge that we can’t be working at 100% every day. Take some time for yourself and relax so you can be at the top of your game after!

As we approach midterms season, you might find these tips helpful to defeat burnout!



Class of 2024
I’m a social work major with a passion for people and the betterment of society. Listening to my friends share their experiences sparked my love for the University of Illinois, so I can’t wait to share my own with prospective and incoming students!

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