Productivity – The Ongoing struggle

As you can probably see from my comprehensive exam reading lists, I have a large task for this summer. Some days all the reading definitely seems daunting. I’m imagining this size of reading list would seem daunting to most people. In my case, not only am I prepping for comprehensive exams this fall, I am also refreshing my French to pass a proficiency exam for grad school and working on research for presentation at conference and publication with my Anthropology advisor. I realized last week I was making decent progress, but was getting easily distracted, so I opted for a to do list to help me stay on track this week. It’s definitely helped some, but I find myself wanting to settle into summer and putting off my work.


I was reading this post over at GradHacker on productivity today and it made me realize I just need to buckle down, make myself work more efficiently so I can enjoy the free time I do have this summer.

Ashley Wiersma describes four challenges to productivity:

  1. Delayed reward
  2. Lack of self efficacy
  3. Perfectionism
  4. Embodying our own work

I am very excited to try some of her suggestions for increasing my productivity, while reminding myself that, “I am not my work. My work is not me. Neither my work nor its reception defines who I am as a person.” I’m very excited to see if any of these goal tracker tools for work me and to work at practicing mindfulness so I can continue to work well, but not get as stressed.

Do you have any favorite tips for productivity or self paced work? Do you struggle with the same issues?



  1. I have kitchen timers in every room. If I am logging in to check email, I set the timer, if I’m cleaning the bathroom, I set the timer.
    It keeps me from getting distracted for too long. Especially cleaning bathroom or meal planning- I always end up organizing the cupboard or fixing something, or getting absorbed somewhere.

    Also, if I think of a great and irrelevant idea, it goes right into my Erin Condren life planner. It eases my mind knowing that I WILL get to it, but there’s a time and a place and now is not the time haha.

    I have never heard of Ashley, but I like it. I’m going to check her out. Thanks for the share!

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