• Yvone Yang

My Productivity System

Over a year ago, I was not very proud of the way I spent my time. I wasted hours on social media, binge-watched shows regularly, and waited around to kill time between classes. As a result, I had poor balance between my schoolwork, social life, fitness, sleep, and extra-curriculars. Since then, I have implemented a productivity system that enables me to get more out of my time. Not to say this system is suitable for everybody, but what I have found works for me.


Time Blocking

I usually plan out my days in detail 2-3 days in advance using Google Calendar. I dedicate blocks of time to specific activities and if they take more/less time than expected, I have the flexibility to adjust accordingly.


Why I like it:

  • A line goes through my schedule to show what I should be doing at the current time

  • I can hold myself accountable to follow what I planned

  • I can better visualize patterns in how I spend my time, which means I can better evaluate my use afterwards

At the end of the week my calendar looks something like this:

Color Legend:

Grey: Unavoidable activities (Eating, showering, waking up/ getting ready, commuting)

Turquoise: Class (Lectures, tutorials, labs)

Yellow: Socializing (Facetiming a friend, going out for coffee, spending time with family)

Dark Blue: Studying (Time spent on schoolwork outside of class)

Periwinkle Blue: Extra-curriculars (Involvement, workshops, conferences)

Dark Purple: Exercising

Red: Appointments

Pink: Tasks (Errands, dishes, cooking, laundry)

Sky Blue: Personal goals (Self learning, reading, side projects)

4-Month Calendar

Using a physical 4-month calendar allows me to see my long-term goals, future events, and keep track of upcoming deadlines.


Why I like it:

  • Crossing off days and seeing nearing deadlines creates a sense of urgency

  • I can make up personal deadlines for myself (e.g. Finish reading "Outliers" by June 24th)

  • I can reference to future events to prioritize tasks when planning out my days

Kanban Board

I use a corkboard as a Kanban board to keep track of everything outside of school and work. These include side projects, books I want to read, classes I want to take, and skills/hobbies I wish to pick up. This system is suitable for people who tend to start many projects but finish few.


Why I like it:

  • It is fulfilling to see the processes of my personal development beyond school and work

  • I can effectively keep track of all my ideas

  • I am never bored because there is always something in the "To Do"


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©2020 by Yvone Yang