A really serious guide to getting some really serious work done

Brought to you by someone who’s trying to procrastinate

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Maybe I’m writing this article because I’m too productive?

Maybe I’m actually incredibly organised, and just trying to ease my boredom and constant sense of superiority. Ever thought of that?


No one has ever thought that about me because I am a mess.

In case you didn’t know what a mess looked like. Wait. Why am I making this photo public?

However, in a bid to turn my life around I managed to compile a list of things to avoid doing if you want to get some work done.

If following these steps can make me work, I promise they can make you work too.

1) Turn your fucking phone off

Or, better still: leave it at home.

No, leaving it face down on the desk isn’t the same thing. No, neither is bravely placing it a metre away from you. In fact, ‘scientists’ have shown how even if you leave it on silent and do all these things at the same time you will still prioritise checking in with your WhatsApp group over work; surprising, right?

How fortunate we are these “scientists” have done the research for us so we don’t fall into the trap.

Apparently this happens when you bring your phone to the library, titled: “To Infinity and Beyond Exams”.

Luckily, this whole problem is eradicated when we just turn the bloody thing off. I’m not proud to say it, but I’ve often resorted to having friends confiscate it or getting them to change the passcode.

Not only will you be (genuinely) surprised by how much more you get done, but cutting down phone time has the added benefit of making you realise how literally nothing your friends talk about is even vaguely urgent. (Or is this just my friends..? Sorry guys.)

Bonus tip: if you look at your phone just before bed it takes you longer to get to sleep and decreases the quality of your sleep. Separate your work time/sleep time and technology time and you’ll start the day much fresher.

2) Don’t work in bed

We’ve all been there.

No matter how upright you sit, or how much revision you have to do, attempting to do it in bed never works. You will get too comfy, you will fall asleep, and you will hate yourself when you wake up 6 hours later.

‘If I sleep now, I’ll be more productive later’

Drag yourself to the library so your work place and chill place stay separate – otherwise they’ll just blur into one big space of neither.

3) Take your lunch to the library

I’ve never told anyone this, but sometimes I go to the library just for the mandatory two-hour lunch break in Sidge buttery. Unsurprisingly, this does not help me achieve my work goals, nor those of the people I need to distract in order to enjoy the experience.

However, I’ve noticed this whole situation is avoided if I just bring lunch with me – especially if it’s something I really like. By all means take a lunch break, just don’t use it as an excuse to ‘stretch your legs’ and walk aimlessly around Cambridge for half the day.

On a similar note, for some reason a lot of us stop looking after ourselves when we have a load of work to do: rather than eating your body weight in pizza, try and fit some fruit and veg into your diet. If nothing else, you’ll appreciate it in May Week.

Even eating a banana will make a noticeable difference, and you get the added enjoyment of trying to make as many people as possible uncomfortable while you eat it

4) Still do stuff

Working solidly for a whole day/week/month is great, so don’t feel bad about rewarding yourself with a little bit of time off here and there. Cambridge in the summer is unbeatable, and there’s no excuse for not making the most of it.

NB: When you are out doing something, however, DO NOT talk about work. Yes, sometimes this is hard when it’s the only thing happening in your life, but it’s boring as hell, stresses everyone else out, and is totally counter-productive.

You’ll be left only with cows if you mention your work in exam term

So, there you have it. Some fool-proof working techniques. Hey, if you stick to them closely who knows how far they could take you? Maybe one day you’ll even get to be the dick who complains about having “nothing to do” the day before their first exam.

Until then, we live in hope.