How Netflix Ruined My Life: 5 Tips to Help Boost Productivity

How Netflix Ruined My Life: 5 Tips to Help Boost Productivity

I’m an English student and I plan on going to grad school, suffice it to say that my getting good grades on essays is quite important. How do you even get good grades in English? You read the books. What have I not been doing? Reading the books. I lack focus and productivity. So how do I boost productivity and learn to focus?

I have a terrible habit of procrastination and what’s worse is that I get easily distracted. I’ll be at home and plan to study or read but then I get hungry so I make food and well you can’t read and cook at the same time so obviously I’ll just watch an episode of Friends while I cook. And then, well it’s easier to eat and watch than eat and read so I should just watch another episode. And by then I’m just watching Friends and it’s 9 pm and nothing’s been done.

Why do I do this? Easy: I can’t focus. Everything I’m studying is interesting, I enjoy reading and writing, but I have a hard time sitting down and just reading.

I get stressed. I stress about the fact that I can’t focus and read which leads to me stressing about not getting the work done which makes me stress about my future and by the end of this I’m just stressing about stressing. By then I just give up and don’t do anything.

All of this results in me never reading the books and doing my essays the night before. And while I don’t get bad grades (I’ve mastered this habit to the point of being able to get solid 80 range on assignments) it’s not ideal. And I hate it because I have all these things I’d like to do but I just can’t do them.

I’ve tried many things, and I’m getting better, but I haven’t found a quick-fix to the problem. Probably because it doesn’t exist. I have to train my mind, that’s all there is to it. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder than you’d think and all those posts that are like “10 Tricks to Instantly Boost Productivity” are a lie. I’ve tried them and look at me not doing my work. Oh yeah, I went there.

No, they can actually be really helpful, instantly helpful… not so much. I’m instead going to list the steps I took to start focusing on things and help boost productivity. Now they’re not instant, and it takes time, I’m still learning as you have read, but they do help. You’ve got to keep working on something to see progress, it doesn’t happen overnight.

  1. Productivity Planners

    I absolutely love these things. I’m not talking about day planners, no, these bad boys are day planners but taken up a notch. Instead of just listing things to do you list everything by priority. For example, recently my biggest priority has been an essay I have due soon, so until I finish it my priority every day is something related to the essay (i.e. annotating poems, drafting a skeleton, writing a draft, etc.). But that’s not all, you write your goal for the number of Pomodoros (I’ll explain these next) you want to dedicate to the task and then you mark how many it actually took you. At the end of the day, you rate your productivity and it’s a way to actively track your progress in productivity over the year.

  2. Working in Pomodoros

    No, not the tasty Italian dish, it’s a technique to boost productivity. Basically, you set up your workspace, grab everything you’ll need, get your music going, have your tea/coffee/water/whatever handy and then you set a timer for 25 minutes and work uninterrupted for those 25 minutes on one task. You don’t let your mind drift or let distractions happens, and if you start to notice that you’re not paying attention you slowly pull yourself back to attention. At the end of the 25 minutes, you get a 5-minute break. Then you reset and go again. As simple as this is, it’s extremely effective for people like me who can’t focus for extended amounts of time on a single task.

  3. Find your workspace

    I cannot work at home. It’s literally impossible, the last resort that typically adds more stress than it relieves. To me, my home is a place of relaxation – I don’t see it as a work area. I get distracted easily, I talk to people, play with my dogs, watch Netflix, reorganise my room, whatever. I can’t get the motivation to get any work done there so if I need to do something I leave.

    Personally, I prefer cafés. The music, background chatter, access to simple snacks and soothing drinks puts me in a mindset where I need to work, I genuinely crave working when I’m in a café. I know I’m a cliché, the person who goes to a café and pulls out their laptop and starts writing their novel while sipping on some soy vanilla latte, but I don’t care. It helps me and I enjoy it. Plus the cafe’s I frequent get a lot of business from me, there is proper etiquette after all when you’re leeching Wi-Fi. So you need to find where you focus the best and then seek that place when you need to work.

  4. Take those breaks

    As I mentioned at the start of this post, I get stressed, a lot. I need those breaks when I am working. Even if I know that I have an essay due Monday and I need to work on it because I’ve dedicated barely any time to it, I’ll go grab a drink with some friends for an hour on Friday, it helps. It rejuvenates your mind, induces happiness, relaxes you. Your mind needs a break sometimes, take them, you’re being stressed doesn’t help boost productivity, it hinders it. It really can make a huge difference in the productivity and quality of your work at the end of the day.

  5. Set goals

    Yeah, this seems obvious. I mean what are you working towards if it’s not some kind of goal – even a deadline is a goal. No, I mean set goals that will boost productivity and bigger picture goals. For instance, my goals are to get an 80% in all my classes this semester, my next goal is to stay on top of readings for my Fall semester of 2017. My long-term goal is to achieve grades that’ll get me into grad school. So when I’m at home contemplating Netflix I remind myself how badly I want to move to NYC and go to grad school there, and the motivation returns. I mean this doesn’t always work. Sometimes I’ll think at the same time that there’s always tomorrow and not to do the work anyway, but I’m getting there. Like I said, this takes work, it takes time.

    So those are 5 tips I have for people trying to boost productivity. Like I said, they aren’t an instant success, I’m living proof of that. But coming from someone who is a serial procrastinator and is easily distracted, they work. They help. I mean you’re not going to read this and tomorrow, or next week, or even next month, be the most productive person in the world. But it gets you there, it keeps you going.

    If you have any tips for productivity I’d love to hear them (really, I could use them). Leave a comment below!


16 Replies to “How Netflix Ruined My Life: 5 Tips to Help Boost Productivity”

  1. Hi Caitlin,

    HAHA, oh man the struggle is real. I am so glad that Netflix wasn’t around when I was an undergrad, back then we used the school network in res to access each others media. And we would borrow box sets from each other. I remember binging every season Sex and City in second year.

    Sometimes I wonder how A. I got As and B. how I even graduated. But, as distracting as entertainment and Netflix can be, it helps me to relax instantly and take a much-needed break after like 4 hour stints of working on my blog.

    So what I do is I as you suggest, I grab a snack + beverage, throw on the tunes and work work work for like 3+ hours straight. Then I get up, move around and go watch an episode of something, then do it again.

    Netflix keeps me productive, it’s like the treat after working hard. Speaking of a break, there’s an episode of the 100 that needs watching.

    Thanks for the encouragement,

    Nadalie, It’s All You Boo
    NEW POST: 26 Inspiring Self-Love Quotes

  2. Great tips! I was just talking to a friend the other day. He was questioning my ability to make full-time income from my blog. “The space is saturated,” he told me. And I told him, “Yes, everyone talks about starting a blog and making income from it, but not everyone does it! Half of them will watch Netflix instead of working on their blog.” So thank you for writing this! Definitely helps to remember your long-term goals

    1. I’m glad you liked them!
      It’s so true, most people I know who talk about falling behind in a goal cite Netflix as the culprit! You’ve just got to constantly remember why you started the task to begin with!

  3. I really like how you broke down these elements of productivity! I use a ️Planner for most of my goal setting and I don’t know what I would do without it!! Now I need to take your advice and create a workspace other than the couch! 🙂

    1. Oh man I know where you’re coming from! Although I try and justify my Game of Thrones binging with the fact that I’m reading it in a fantasy lit class! Nothing wrong with a little Netflix here and there… just have to stay focused!

  4. Damn that Netflix, it just sucks you in and before you know it you’ve spent the whole day watching 3 seasons of a series you’ve already watched. Not that I’ve done that myself,

    1. It is quite addictive! The majority of my time on Netflix is re-watching Friends which I have seen at least 15 times through! That’s what I struggle with, you don’t even realise you’re starting the next episode until you’re half way through.

  5. Thanks for the article, really interesting tips! I’m a digital nomad so productivity is something I’m always looking to improve (it’s easy to get distracted by the nice weather and the places to visit when I’m travelling)
    I liked the one about setting goals, it’s soooo important. I usually set them on Monday and check on them on wednesday and sunday.
    Great tips thanks!

    1. So glad you liked the article! Setting your goals for the week is one of the handiest things I’ve started doing, being able to actually see what you need to do is a great motivator, not to mention the guilt you feel when you look at the list and realise you’re not far along.

  6. Great tips Caitlin! I need to set a list of goals to boost my productivity. I binge watch on Netflix a lot lol, it really takes away from everything I have to do. Such a distraction, but it’s good to be aware of it and start working towards working on achieving your goals. First step is to get them written down 🙂 … one day at a time..

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