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  • Writer's pictureKate Stone

3 Productivity-Boosting Habits for Teens

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

As a teen, you have a lot on your plate - school work, extracurricular activities, family obligations, social life, and more. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to manage your time effectively. But with consistent systems and habits, you can increase your productivity, reduce your anxiety, and streamline your life. Here are three habits that can help:

1. Utilize the Time Blocking Technique

Time blocking is a scheduling technique that can boost productivity by dividing your day into specific blocks of time dedicated to completing a specific task. It can be especially helpful when you have a lot of tasks on your to-do list, but aren't sure where to start.

To get started with time blocking, follow these three steps:

Step 1: Write out your itemized list based on urgency – from important to least important. This will help you prioritize your tasks and ensure that you're focusing on the most important items first.

Step 2: Organize your to-do list by the time it takes to complete each task. This will help you allocate your time more effectively and avoid spending too much time on one task while neglecting others.

Step 3: Add each task as an event to a digital or hard copy calendar. This will help you visualize your day and ensure that you're allocating enough time to each task.

One benefit of time blocking is that it can help reduce decision fatigue. Instead of constantly trying to decide what task to tackle next, you can simply consult your calendar and see what's next on the agenda. Additionally, by breaking your day up into specific time blocks, you can avoid the temptation to multitask and instead focus on one task at a time.

2. Tackle What's Easy, First

When you have a long to-do list, it can be tempting to tackle the most challenging task first. However, this can often lead to procrastination and avoidance. Instead, try tackling the easiest task on your list first.

Why does this work? By completing a quick and easy task, you'll activate the dopamine receptors in your brain, which produce feelings of satisfaction, pleasure, and motivation. Dopamine plays essential roles in executive function, motivation, reinforcement, and reward. When your dopamine levels are too low, you'll feel unmotivated, which can make it difficult to get started on more challenging tasks.

In addition to tackling the easiest task first, it can be helpful to tackle two shorter tasks before a longer one. This clears the path so you can focus on more complex and challenging tasks without feeling overwhelmed.

It's important to note that not all tasks are created equal. Sometimes it's important to tackle the most challenging task first, especially if it's time-sensitive or has a large impact on your life. However, as a general rule, starting with an easier task can help you build momentum and increase your productivity.

3. Overcoming the Sunday Scaries

Sunday evenings can be a source of stress and anxiety for many teens. The weekend is coming to an end, and the responsibilities of the week ahead are looming. Instead of dreading the week ahead, try cultivating excitement by setting a target.

The habits of highly productive people include setting short term and long term goals. I'm not talking just on a yearly basis, but as a monthly, weekly, and daily practice. Make the focus on your Sunday morning, afternoon, or evening (your pick) on goal-setting for the week. Make sure your goals align with your values.

When you have a goal that is meaningful to you, you've chosen, and you can practice, you're more likely to feel excited about your day-to-day life and the challenges ahead of you.

by Kate Stone

Kate is a dedicated college coach who believes in empowering young people to achieve their full potential. With a background in youth mentorship, social emotional learning, and creative writing, Kate encourages her students to develop their critical thinking, autonomy, and curiosity to produce standout application essays that capture the attention of admissions committees. When she's not working with her students, Kate can be found enjoying her perfect Sunday afternoon, which typically involves a hot vinyasa yoga class, a Wimhoff cold plunge, and a slice of New York pizza.

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