The longer you spend in the library, the less productive you are

Get in, get out


Just as we're over the hump of midterm essays, December exams are rearing their ugly head. With the second onslaught of work looming, it's time to be clear about one thing: the longer you spend in the library, the less productive you are.

So why, oh why are you settling down to a 10-hour day in the library when a quick power session will be twice as productive? Allow me to enlighten you as to why you're doing the library all wrong.

The fuss

There is no denying that there's an unbelievable sense of satisfaction once you have secured your seat on the fourth floor before 9am, ready to face a day of hard work and revision.

It's time to unpack your backpack, which might as well have been suitcase with the amount you're about to unload. Out comes your laptop, your charger, your phone charger, your wireless headphones, your Chilly's bottle, your reusable coffee cup, your notebook, your pencil and precisely 3 pastel coloured highlighters. Your day at the library has caused you to pack the same amount as a weekend away.

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The set up to push you through the whole day

The inevitable hour long breaks

It's just hit 10:30am and after spending an hour doing some email admin and allowing your Mac to complete an update, it's time for the mid morning coffee break.

Off you trot down to the library cafe, or Quartermile Starbucks if you're feeling adventurous, to grab a quick to-go latte. However, it's never just a quick to-go is it? Having ran into every man and his dog downstairs in the library lobby, what was once a 10-minute dash is now at least an hour's break.

As you trudge back up to your desk you rejoice, as it's now 11:30am which means it's only half an hour left until you take a socially acceptable lunch break. Back down you head to the lobby to see everyone again procrastinating just as hard as you are. Turns out misery really does love company.

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Honestly where have you gone for 2 hours?

Good company

Sometimes the library can be more of a social hub than any pub or club. As fun as it is to be surrounded by all your pals on the fourth floor, it's a huge distraction when actually trying to draft your essay. Being tagged in the occasional meme from someone just two rows away from you doesn't exactly scream ultimate concentration.

From texting your pals a GIF, to sending them a post on Insta, your eyes are fixed on them as you wait for them to open it, rather than staring down at your pressing essay. When it comes to you, your friends, and your essay, three's a crowd unfortunately.

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Maybe your hour-long lunch break downstairs can help you figure this out

Time to procrastinate

The problem with setting up camp at your library desk, is that you have time on your side. Whether it be checking your Facebook every 30 minutes, updating your Insta story to remind people you're 'studying' in the library or curating the perfect Spotify playlist – what's the rush? You've all the time in the world because you know you'll be there at that desk for hours anyway.

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Arrived in darkness, left in darkness

The plan of action

It's time to stage an intervention and stop spending hours and hours sat in the same seat doing a grand total of maybe three hours work tops from dawn till dusk.

The best plan is to set achievable goals within a realistic time limit. Don't set yourself up for a full day in the library with no goal in mind. It's much better to head in there for a solid two or three hours and be back home in time for tea. Bliss.

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In and out before anyone else appears

Also, choose where you work carefully. As much as it's exciting to see your pal slaving away three desks down, they're more of a hinderance than a helping hand. Why not meet them for a celebratory coffee after you've both completed your tasks for the day instead?

Try to do your hardest tasks first and only move on to the next when you've completed the one you're on. Whilst productively is key, it's important to stay focused too and be efficient.

So put your phone on Do Not Disturb and your nose to the grindstone for a maximum of three hours. Forget the meal deal placed on your desk at 9am, you'll be out of there by 12pm. Wave goodbye to your pals as they snigger at you leaving before lunch, whilst you rejoice knowing you're far more productive than they are anyway.

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All the worst things about the Edinburgh Uni library

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You can now buy a library pin as a memento of the hours you spent there