Homework Icon

How To Be A More Productive Student: 8 Tips (& Things To Avoid)


A happy and attentive child in a classroom

Distractions that sap productivity are a challenge for every student. With new assignments, social activities, after school clubs, and sports taking up your child’s time each day, getting everything done can be difficult.

When it comes to being a more productive student, there are several things that can help your child make the most efficient use of his or her time.

8 Productivity-Killers For Students To Avoid (& Tips To Help)

From obvious distractions such as social media to not taking proper study breaks, students can struggle with productivity in a number of ways.

Keep reading to learn about the top 8 productivity killers students face and how your child can avoid them to become more productive in school.

1. Letting Homework/Assignments Pile Up

How It Kills Productivity: Feeling overwhelmed can lead to procrastination and halt all productivity. If your child is overwhelmed by homework, he or she may not know where to start⁠—and ultimately end up never getting started at all.

The Solution: Teach your child how to prioritize tasks so he or she knows what he or she should be working on. Work with your child to use a day planner, whether it’s a physical planner or a digital one. Having a to-do list and scheduling time for each task can help ease your child’s stress and boost his or her productivity.

2. Not Taking Proper Study Breaks

How It Kills Productivity: Trying to tackle all work in one sitting rather than breaking it up with proper study breaks can actually lead to increased frustration and reduced efficiency.

The Solution: Have your child learn how to take proper study breaks. Taking a 10-minute break every hour helps the brain better process and retain information. It also refreshes the mind and allows new ideas to form, increasing your child’s productivity and reducing any frustration your child may be feeling. Even a 5-minute break is great for refreshing the mind and get the blood flowing to help your child feel more alert (and productive).

3. Studying In Loud, Busy Places

How It Kills Productivity: Loud, busy places can make it very difficult for your child to focus. This leads to assignments not being completed as quickly or as thoroughly as they could be.

The Solution: Pay attention to where your child is working. Is it at the kitchen table where members of your family are constantly coming and going? Is it in his or her bedroom with music on? These aren’t necessarily bad places for your child to work, but they include more distractions that may need to be reduced. This could be dedicating the kitchen space to homework for an hour every evening.

Another solution is creating a dedicated study space for your child away from any distractions or noise, such as a spare room where your child doesn’t have the normal distractions of his or her own bedroom.

Pro Tip: A change of scenery can help inspire and motivate your child and boost productivity. Try switching study spots to see which one your child works in best:

  • School or public library
  • Home common area (like dining room)
  • Bedroom
  • Outside (like the back deck or balcony)

4. Procrastinating On Large Assignments

How It Kills Productivity: If all your child’s energy is spent getting all the small, easy tasks completed, there isn’t much energy left for larger, more difficult tasks. This leads to last-minute stress, frustration, and assignments not done to their full potential.

The Solution: Get things started by creating a plan of attack for larger assignments early. Have your child work on larger, more complex tasks first so they are completed (or at least started!) while he or she has the most energy. After those assignments are out of the way, the rest of his or her tasks feel like a breeze.
Tackling (or breaking down) larger assignments first also helps keep your child organized and motivated. This can help to boost his or her grades and improve confidence in tackling these types of tasks in the future.

5. Texting And Social Media

How It Kills Productivity: Digital devices are an essential part of our daily lives and are very helpful for students. But they’re also major distractions. Every time your child checks social media or answers a text, his or her focus is lost, taking more time to refocus on the task at hand.

The Solution: To make sure your child is being as productive as possible during homework time, limit access to his or her smartphone or laptop.
If it’s necessary for your child to use a laptop for research, taking online quizzes, or typing up assignments, productivity apps are a good option. These apps allow you and your child to block certain websites or applications for a set amount of time so he or she can’t access them while working.

6. Distractions And Daydreaming

How It Kills Productivity: Daydreaming takes away valuable homework time. The longer your child drifts into a daydream the more effort it takes to refocus (and complete) his or her assignments.

The Solution: Teach your child how to catch when he or she is becoming distracted from a task. The ideal outcome is your child notices his or her wandering mind, stops, and says “I have to finish this task”. This allows him or her to refocus and continue on with the task.

7. Socializing Too Much With A Study Buddy

How It Kills Productivity: While having someone to study with can be a great motivator for some students, it can be a big distraction for others. In cases where students study together but get distracted frequently by each other, tasks can take much longer to complete and the quality of work can suffer.

The Solution: If your child and the other student spend more time socializing than actually doing work, give them a gentle reminder to refocus whenever they get off task. Offer an incentive like taking your child and his or her study buddy for a treat when they complete the assignment. If distraction is an ongoing problem, it may be beneficial for your child to study alone.

8. (Poorly Time-Managed) Extracurricular Activities

How It Kills Productivity: If your child is overbooked with too many extracurricular activities, they can start to cut into dedicated homework time. Hobbies are great and essential for a child’s development but they can be a productivity-killer if time isn’t managed properly.

The Solution: Encourage your child to choose 1-2 favourite hobbies or extracurricular activities to participate in outside of school. Create a schedule together with your child for these fun activities outside school and homework to ensure he or she has time for everything.

A Productive Student is A Well-Performing Student

These tips are not “one size fits all” so experiment with your child to see what works best for him or her. When your child learns how to use his or her homework time efficiently, it will show in grades and confidence.

Find an Oxford Learning® Location Near You!

We Have Over 100 Centres Across Canada!
Contact A Location

Our Privacy Policy has been updated to meet new regulations. Please read it here.