How to do more in less time: Tips to help students who struggle with productivity and time management Part 1

As a student, you might hear your parents and teachers telling you to ‘study harder’, but how do you ‘study smarter’? Regardless of whether you are in primary school, secondary school or tertiary institution, here are 4 tips for you to help improve your productivity and reduce your procrastination while still taking care of your mental health!

  1. Brainstorm and group tasks – Brainstorm the tasks you have to do and lump similar tasks together as doing this helps you be better organised and deliver the tasks more efficiently.

    For example, if you have to do a topical revision practice for maths and science and also need to run an errand for your parents, you may wish to do the revision practices together so it can help you get into the flow of working on the practices. This helps prevent you from having to “restart your engine” as compared to doing the maths practice first, running the errand next and then continuing with the science practice.

  2. Learn how to prioritise – When you have a list of things to do, take note of which tasks are important (for school or exams vs things you do for fun) and urgent (due tomorrow morning vs due in 3 month’s time). Prioritise and do the important and urgent ones first.  Do the less important and less urgent ones during your free time or when you have some time on hand. It may also be wise to say no to requests or tasks which are not urgent or important if you are already on a tight schedule.
    Tiny people doing priorities checklist flat vector illustration. Cartoon characters prioritizing important tasks and making notes. Work planning and management concept

    Additional tip: Priorities can change in different periods, so don’t be afraid to adjust what is in your priority list. (Eg: during the holidays, your priorities should be to recharge, not just do work for most of your time.)

  3. Make it easy to achieve your goals – Set up short term achievable goals to work towards and include mini rewards along the way to motivate yourself. Goals can be as simple as completing the recap section for chapter 1 of your Science notes, while rewards can be crafted in accordance with your usual preference.

    Eg: If you are a nature lover, you can reward yourself by going for a short walk in your favourite park after finishing 3 things on your to-do list.
    If you are a foodie, you can reward yourself by going for a snack break after finishing an assignment.

  4. Take charge of your mental health – Do you know that getting enough sleep and reducing screen time will enhance your mental health, which will in turn, help to increase your productivity?

    Getting more rest means having more or at least sufficient energy for the rest of the day, which can then be channelled to improve your mental alertness. This will help you to accomplish more things as you are more focused.

    Reduction of screen time allows you some time away from the virtual world to reflect on what you would like to achieve at the end of the day/week.


Try out these tips and strategies and see whether they work out for you. If you need advice, remember that you can always ask your parents or the Special Educational Needs officer in your school for help too.

If you are an Upper Secondary or Tertiary student, and you feel you need guidance and help, click on the following links to find out more on how DAS can help you!


Useful links: 


Written by:
iStudySmart™ Facilitators

Rosalyn Wee
Melody Chang Zi Xuan
Charis Chiong Zi Qi
Premadevi d/o Perumal


Published on 10 April 2023