Bad Productivity Habits You Picked Up In College


As graduates around the country end their academic careers I’m reminded that college is great for many different reasons. It’s a chance to expand your mind, meet lots of new people, get involved in new activities – the list goes on and on.

The one thing college is not so great for is your productivity.

The college lifestyle is structured completely differently to your typical working week. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means you might have a bit of a shock the first week of a new full time job.

Here are some bad habits you might have picked up in college that might still be sticking with you today:

Working Until the Early Morning – Everyone has a story of that one paper they left until the last second. Drinking coffee to stay up until 5am, desperately trying to write the whole thing in one night — you remember the scenario. This is fine when you have nowhere to be the next day, but highly impractical if you work.

If you get used to the idea that you can leave things until the last minute without consequence, it can be quite difficult to shake. Try to give yourself a fake deadline, a week in advance. This way even if you leave everything to the last minute you will still have some extra time to polish and refine.


Being a Flake – When you first start college you take on a lot of new commitments. Elective classes, sports teams, school newspaper – there is so much to get involved in. It’s quite normal to sign up for too much, and then have to let things go.

However as we get older, when we take on too many responsibilities it’s not quite as easy to skirt responsibility. I don’t want to discourage you from taking on new projects, but before you do, really think about whether or not you will be able to see them through.  Remember, it’s OK to say no.

Cramming – A survey at the University of Indiana showed that 99% of students admit to cramming at some point during their studies. But cramming is not only ineffective, it’s deceiving. The problem is that after several hours of staring at cue cards we start to become very familiar with the material. Our brains confuse that familiarity for memory. A study at the University of California found that spacing was far more effective than cramming. So bear that in mind next time you have to give a presentation or pitch an idea. There is no substitute for preparation.  Remember, this is coming from a procrastinator!

Poor Sleeping Habits –  Late nights and early mornings, when you’re in college you find yourself bouncing between too much sleep and not enough. We manage to get by on irregular nocturnal patterns when we’re young, but as well get older we need a good night’s sleep more and more. Getting a full night’s rest doesn’t make you boring, it’s a necessity.  I don’t apologize for getting to bed between 10 and 11pm every night.  I need my beauty rest!

What are some bad habits you’re trying to shake?


2 replies
  1. Daniel lee
    Daniel lee says:

    I’m still struggling to go to bed at the same time everyday, and the blue light that comes from the electronic devices won’t help at all. As always, great post.

    • Paula Rizzo
      Paula Rizzo says:

      Thanks for your comment Daniel. What if you set an alarm to nudge yourself to go to bed at the same time every night? Set it for a half hour or 45 minutes before you want to go to bed. It might give you the push you need to get to bed! Good luck!


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