Hi everyone. I want to welcome Michelle Fabio from About.com: Law School as a guest blogger to The Legal Watercooler. As we just spent the last two posts questioning WHO and WHY anyone would go to law school these days, how about some productivity tips for those who have made the leap to 1L status.

How to Increase Productivity in 5 Easy Steps

The law school year is just starting up, and I’m guessing many of you 1Ls are already behind in your reading assignments. I hear you (I’ve been you!), which is why I’m offering you some ideas on how you can be more productive now and throughout your life.

Indeed, these tips are for everyone, not just 1Ls, because really, who among us hasn’t gone to bed wishing we had done more, gotten more accomplished that day, crossed just one more item off the old to-do list?

Here are five easy ways you can become more productive:

1. Sleep.
See, I told you these would be easy tips! OK, what I really mean is to sleep better, more regularly, and get the right amount of sleep for your body–and it *will* tell you how much you need if you listen closely.

Just by getting better, more regular sleep, you’ll see an increase in concentration levels, energy, and focus, and this will likely turn into being more productive as well.

2. Move.
“But that’s the opposite of sleep,” you may be thinking. Why yes it is, and just like all things in life, balance is key, which means as important as rest is, so is movement.

Particularly if you’re at a desk most of the day, it’s vital that you get up and move around, whether it’s a walk to the office bathroom or an hour at the gym. Your mind also needs that time to clear itself, refresh, and process new information, so don’t underestimate the importance of physical movement regarding your productivity levels.

3. Group distractions.
Take one or two days and write down everything that interrupts you as you try to work or study; returning phone calls, email checks, Facebook status updates, dog walks, whatever it is, write it down.

From now on, try to group some of these together on your breaks from work, which, by the way, I highly recommend planning through the Pomodoro Technique. It’s worked wonders for my productivity, but there are many other time management methods out there for you to try if it doesn’t suit you.

4. Group errands.

In the same vein as the #3 tip, unless you have to go to the post office today because your lights will be turned off otherwise, wait until the end of the week when you have a list of errands to run (*and* your desire to work or study has perhaps waned a bit), or even until the weekend.

By doing a bunch of things at once, you’ll not only create more time to be productive doing other things, you’ll also have a nice sense of accomplishment when you finish–which tends to inspire you to do even more.

5. Track your progress.
One of the best things you can do to be more productive is to *see* how productive you’re being. Why is that?

Because we love to know that we’re actually getting things accomplished.

Whether it’s through a journal, diary, spreadsheet, or some other application or tool, keeping track of what you’re getting done really does inspire you to do more.

What are your productivity secrets?

Guest post by Michelle Fabio, About.com Guide to Law School, who also writes about how to become a paralegal at BecomeaParalegal.net.

Follow Michelle on Twitter: @michellefabio or @lawschoolguide