How To Work Like A Student Every Day: A Back To School Guide For Everyone

Summer is winding down and we’re all “going back” in one way or another. Back to college, back to work, back to the daily grind. With all of the Back To School prep upon us, we started thinking about what it was like to be a student and how our starry eyed, party hard, go-get-‘em attitudes let us tap into a special kind of productivity during those formative years.

Here are some back to school tips for everyone at any stage in life – college students, professional executives, high schoolers, parents, and entrepreneurs – to help you get back into that magical mindset where everything is possible and each new challenge brings its own excitement.

School tip: Be inspired by that cool professor
Life tip: Find a new mentor

Remember that awesome teacher or professor that totally inspired you to see the world differently? We’ve all had our own Mr. Keating, and those people who touch our lives at a time when we’re searching for something deeper. Before you get too jaded and chalk that up to youthful optimism, keep in mind that every one of us, regardless of age or experience, can still be profoundly changed by meeting the right person. You may not be looking for a major life/ career shift right now, but spending time with a trusted mentor can spark a new beginning. Recapture some of your younger inspiration by finding a mentor (or teacher) that can open you up to new possibilities.

Thumbs up for youthful naiveté and blind enthusiasm!
Thumbs up for youthful naiveté and blind enthusiasm!

Feel like the world is your oyster
Life tip: Envision what you will be remembered for

Ignorance isn’t just bliss – it’s oftentimes opportunity as well. Embrace that as a student and never think about what you don’t know, because at this point in life, being ignorant to your own limitations is a huge asset. Live out your student days in positively overextended bliss. You’ll take the kinds of bold risks that characterize your growth and push you to new heights.

Hard is for amateurs. And people without task apps.
Hard is for amateurs. And people without task apps.

For those of you already further in life and perhaps holding yourselves back, it can be harder to revive the uninhibitedness of earlier days. Instead, think of what you will be remembered for. You can even take it a step further and think about the time you have left before the end of your life (a somewhat morbid exercise, but works for some). Taking stock of the distance between where you are now and where you want to be can be a great motivator and tear down any self-imposed restrictions or barriers.

School tip: Attend the campus Meet & Greet
Life tip: Reconnect with company departments, old friends, associates

Ah, campus events and all the first-time jitters that come with them. Resist the temptation to skip out on these. A lot of lifelong friendships start with a name tag and some awkward smalltalk. It’s not networking, it’s connecting, and the same goes for the office and life in general. Make it your job to reconnect with different departments in your office and learn how the company works from someone else’s point of view. Before Indra Nooyi worked her way up to Pepsi CEO, she worked at a textile factory in India, and even though there was no formal training program, she took it upon herself to meet every department in the factory, “talking to each worker, no matter how menial, to learn each aspect of the business.” Don’t skip the Meet & Greets of life, regardless of what form they take or when they happen. Make a point to connect and reconnect with the people in your world.

School tip: Put the syllabus in your calendar
Life tip:Take control of your schedule

It’s all right there at the beginning of every semester – every due date and deadline right in your syllabi, and yet students around the world will forever be saying “OMG I just found out I have an English exam tomorrow!” Do yourself a HUGE favor and spend one hour at the beginning of every term to add study-related task reminders to Any.do (we recommend the Any.do Web App to make it easy) and add exam dates to Cal.

Yes, you can be her. She knows everything and hates disorganized people.

Same goes for life after college as well. Don’t expect to remember everything. Even the small tasks can gnaw away at your brain, taking up unnecessary headspace. Just dump it all into Any.do and rest assured everything will get done on time.

School tip: Brag about your awesome grades
Life tip:Take a Moment to review your productive day

If you’ve earned it, flaunt it. A productive day is just as good as a productive semester. Any.do Moment is great for when you want to review your tasks in the morning, but you can also set it up to launch in the evenings as a satisfying cross-off ritual. Review everything you’ve accomplished and go to bed feeling like a badass task slayer, fighting the evils of distraction, saving humanity one to-do list at a time.

Life is a classroom, right? Grab some coffee and make sure to put it all in Any.do.

– Any.do Team

Jasmine Bina