Over the years one spends studying at university one inevitably gains a few tricks of the trade. Today, I’m going to impart you with mine. This is a short (but very genuine) list of some of the fastest ways I have found to improve my workday.
1. Caffeine + L-Theanine
You’ve probably already tried to boost your productivity using a black coffee in the morning, but for many, this also comes with the added effects of jitteriness, anxiety, and restlessness; if you’re trying to concentrate then these by-products can be really distracting.
Enter: L-Theanine. L-Theanine is an amino acid extracted from green tea leaves and produces a mild calming effect when taken in isolation. However, when it is combined with caffeine, you get all the ‘get-up and go’ of a coffee but none of the anxiety and jitters. It’s the ultimate safe, cheap, and (very much) legal study combo.
I’ve put this at the start of the list because it truly is fantastic. L-Theanine is incredibly well researched and deemed to be incredibly safe – in fact, since it’s an amino acid, you don’t even receive deteriorating effects if you took it every day. Feel free to read up on it more, and I’d really encourage you to try it before dismissing it.
2. Bullet Journaling
I’ve actually written a whole other blog post about the merits of bullet journaling – you can find it here: However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth an honourable mention. For the uninitiated, bullet journaling is a way of keeping track of all your: work, play, to-do’s, to-don’ts, and general notes.
When I entered 3rd year I began my journal to keep track of my new full-on Honours work schedule and I’ve honestly never looked back. It keeps me extremely organised and has boosted my productivity massively – what’s not to love? Check out my previous blog post for more details.
3. Overnight Oats
It’s often pretty grim trying to get out of bed in the cold, dark, winter mornings of Scotland; particularly if the only reason that you’re actually getting out of bed is to work on an essay. If this situation sounds at all familiar then I guarantee that some overnight oats will promote some more morning motivation. Overnight oats mean that breakfast is prepared before you even get up and is also absolutely delish.
Oats, milk, frozen berries, honey, banana, yoghurt, (+ whatever you like, etc). Put it all in a bowl, sit it in the fridge overnight, and by the time morning comes it will have become a beautiful medley of flavours. The berries thaw and release their juices, the oats soften and soak it all in, and it all turns a lovely shade of purple. It’s a delight to wake up to.
This works well heated up from chilled or just eaten cold straight out of the fridge. Either way, you’ll feel the amazing benefit of complex carbs energising you throughout your day.
4. Cold Showers
This one might make you recoil. That’s fair enough.
However, there has been plenty of research into it and it can do wonders for your mental and physical health. For me, there’s something monumental about making through a cold shower every morning. Being able to get out of bed and achieve something that most people wouldn’t dream of doing makes you feel good. Believe me.
If you can’t bear to take a full-length cold shower, work up to it by exposing yourself to a cold blast at the end of a hot shower – that’s still pretty intense.
When you get out, the world’s your oyster. The ball is rolling. You’re gonna nail that essay. Go get em, tiger.