How To: Get Sh*t Done

by Katelyn Block on February 1, 2012 · 18 comments

I have focusing issues. For anyone that knows me in “real life” (whatever that is), I am a literal space cadet and I do not joke about that. When it comes to getting work done, it’s typically a struggle that involves getting really excited about going to the bathroom after studying for five minutes or opening my MacBook “just for a second” to check e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, oh and then blog comments, my Google Reader, and it’s all downhill from there. Before I know it, an hour as passed.


The way I deal with things? Behold: My guide to Getting Sh*t Done.

1. Crank up house music, hard-core whatever it is that you listen to, or even NPR if that’s what you’re into. Whatever works for you, friend. Currently, my playlist of choice is titled “Rager”. Earbuds in, volume up. The more it makes me want to fist-pump, the more work I bust out. Boom.

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2. Get natural light. There is nothing I hate more than fluorescent lighting (my family can vouch for this — I am always turning off ceiling lights and turning on accent lamps). Do as much work as you can during the day in a room with natural lighting. That’s right, open up the shades and stop working in your basement.

3. Bring a highlighter and pen but DON’T USE IT until you have read the section // paragraph // sentence at LEAST once. Take tons notes once you have read once, read again, and highlighted. You’re welcome.

4. Make a plan and stick to it. Don’t let your brain go elsewhere or you will fail. I make this mistake all the time and start to wander and think about other things like what I’m going to wear this weekend, why the sun is so hot, and why Syracuse is so windy. Serious questions. I refer you back to Tip Number 1: Crank up your music and you will stay focused on the music and what you are doing. If my mind wanders, it goes only to fist-pumping. Then back to paper-writing.

My “I have focusing issues make it stop” face.

5. Eat something yummy. Ya know, so you don’t go crazy.

Quinoa, fruit, and Chobani yogurt. {from the dining hall}

6. Last, but certainly not least: Drink lots of coffee. The way to get anything done is to be an energizer bunny. #truth

How do you Get Sh*t Done?


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ Busy Living Healthy February 1, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Ahh girl!! I love this!! & I definitely need to read this right now because I am having major issues focusing on getting my homework done. ;) I sometimes have to lock myself in a quiet room so I can read my chapters for my classes haha


Elle February 1, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Here’s a little trick someone taught me once about how multi-tasking is bad for you. Time yourself, then first, write out:

Multi tasking is not effective.

Then write out:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 … all the way to 26.

Next, time yourself again, but write the first letter from the sentence followed by the first number in the sequence… like this…

M1u2l3t4i5t6a7s8k9i10n11g12… etc.

Everyone in the class I was with doubled the amount of time it took them to do the second exercise. (Now, granted, when I did it, there was only a 7 second difference, so I proved to be a freak-of-nature AND the only one who left the teacher confused and speechless. Then she hired me to do some free-lance work for her. But that’s not the point. What was the point? Oh right. Well… I think I’ve made my point then, huh…)



Katelyn Block February 1, 2012 at 7:43 PM

Oh my God. You are a darn-tootin stinkin genius. I WILL FOCUS. I repeat, I WILL focus!


Lauren February 1, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Making a realistic plan works for me – choose 1-2 things to work on, not a whole long to-do list of things to get done (won’t happen all at once). Also, choosing a place you can actually focus like the library or a coffee shop rather than your room/apt. Planning breaks (to refill your coffee!) is so necessary for me because even as a senior, I can have major procrastination issues.


Olivia February 1, 2012 at 8:32 PM

This is such an amazing post. Being back at school for a month now, it’s soooo needed. I was totally lazy. Last night I had some 1/2 caf coffee and got shit DONE! I made a delish quinoa salad and trimmed up a whole head of romaine for salad for the rest of the week. Lunches?! MADE. Room? Cleaned up. Assignments? Handed in on time.

I rocked last night. Caffeine is key, totally!


Karly February 1, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Oh my God… you have Chobani in your dining hall? I’m having serious Greek yogurt withdrawals on my meal plan. Actually, serious real food withdrawals.

I get sh*t done by following this “little productivity tip of a zen master”: “Deal with something once. Do it now. Then it’s off your mind, and you can fully focus on the next matter… What this means is that you deal with each thing in the moment, and then move to the next. Your mind isn’t pulled in a million directions at once.”


Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 1, 2012 at 9:27 PM

you have quinoa in your dining hall!?!?!??


Hillary {Nutrition Nut on the Run} February 1, 2012 at 9:32 PM

perfect timing! i’m making my half-marathon race playlist. good tunes!


Kayla February 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM

the app for mac “self control” saved my butt last semester during finals.
you can block yourself from specific websites (for me facebook and twitter) but it allows you to go on other sites. You set a timer for how long it blocks these sites.
Since I lack self control, the self control app does it for me, but still makes it possible to use the internet for a research paper. I usually start off with 40 minutes, and after 40 minutes of being highly productive I just keep going and no longer feel so tempted by everything else.

I’m also a big fan of the mini rewards system based on how much work I get done. If I’m writing a paper, I can treat myself to some twitter, facebook, and social networking fun when I reach a milestone in the work load.


Chuck February 1, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Strnage clouds is a hot song


Katelyn Block February 1, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Agreed, Chuck. Agreed.


Ann @ Day By Day February 2, 2012 at 3:31 AM

Coffee, coffee, coffee. And my door shut. And Pandora on, but not TOO loud- just enough to drown out any noise coming from outside my room!


Moishe February 2, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Thanks for the help on how to get things done. I’m very similar, especially when it comes to opening the Macbook, but just for a second. Why even right now I was supposed to be doing things, and yet I’ve ended up on your blog, which was highly enjoyable, I might add.

I’ll have to check that music out.


Kate @ Run with Kate February 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

“There is nothing I hate more than fluorescent lighting” ME TOO! It actually makes me depressed. This girl needs NATURAL light. Which is why I live in San Diego now. :)

Coffee is my key to getting sh*t done. Without it, I am a waste of space.

P.S. I want that blingin’ strarbucks cup in your previous post!


Lee February 4, 2012 at 10:43 AM

DOODE. I am super jealous of the quality of your dorm food. Quinoa, Chobani, and Mixed Fruit…I woulda DIED to have that Frosh year. All we had were overly ripe nanners and gross strawberry flavored yogurt.


Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee February 4, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Thanks for the studying tips! I usually highlight as I read something for the first time, but I think I’ll try it your way for once. Your dining hall meal looks so tasty! I can’t wait till college. :)


Natasha February 4, 2012 at 8:12 PM

DUDE I am also OBSESSED with rager music – it is my addiction!!!!!!
I also have similar problems with staying focused – I’ve self-diagnosed myself with ADD problems
It is so bad. hahah but I’m learning to overcome it! Usually when I’m studying I get really annoyed that I have to sit down for long periods of time and I always want to go for a walk or something to get my body moving lol!


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