Archive for the ‘High School Life & Advice’ Category

5 Easy Mental Hacks that Instantly Boost Your Productivity

productivityIn the pursuit of being successful and making dreams come true, productivity is the lifeblood. In the age of social media and the 24-7 digital distraction machine, productivity is a big issue with even the most ambitious students. How do you get past the urge to procrastinate? Most of us love to laugh at videos on YouTube, chat it up on Facebook, or simply daydream about not having to do what’s necessary, but before you know it, 40 minutes have passed and you’re doing anything but the task you set out to do. With technology continuing to offer more and more interesting means of instant gratification, what can we possibly do to drop those distractions and maintain focus and productivity?

There are many great ways to boost your productivity, but we’ve put together a list of the five best ways to give you impenetrable momentum and powerful focus that will help you plow through even the stickiest and most mundane tasks.

1. Listen to Background Music

Some music simply sets the mood for getting things done. In a recent New York Times article, Dr. Teresa Lesiuk, assistant professor of music therapy at the University of Miami, found that those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t, because the music improved their mood. Listening to music during your times of serious work and focus can make a notable difference. You might be tempted to play your favorite tunes, but for this purpose, it’s best to choose music with no words or at least words that you cannot understand, such as classical, atmospheric, opera, jazz, new age, etc. If you’re stressed out, try listening to nature sounds or calm, meditative music to help reduce your stress so you can focus better and get more done.

2. Get a Productivity Accountability Partner, a popular blog on entrepreneur lifestyles, recently started connecting their blog readers with each other as accountability partners to get their personal tasks done. They used actual money as a penalty if the task wasn’t completed. This is an extreme example, but simply having someone else who can hold you accountable for your tasks can really keep you on track to getting things done. Reach out to your classmates or use social media to find someone you can work with to keep each other accountable for anything from daily homework assignments and studying to research projects and papers. Establish times to check in with each other on the status of whatever you’re working on. Knowing that someone else will be checking in on your progress can provide great motivation to get started on — and ultimately finish — that project.

3. Positive Affirmations

Before it all comes out, it starts from within. We can change what is within by telling ourselves in advance what we can accomplish. Many people use the power of positive affirmation to start their day off right. Simply beginning your day by telling yourself that you’re going to have a great and productive day puts your brain in the right mode to do just that. Apps like Singulaa allow you to record your own voice over soothing music so you can play those positive messages back to yourself. Write down your best and most powerful ideas, speak them into existence using the app, and listen to them daily or whenever you find yourself in need of a productivity boostEventually, your mind will absorb the positive messages and you will find yourself working more efficiently and with greater purpose.

4. Identify and Destroy Bad Habits

Take some time to sit down alone in a room or somewhere else private to do a simple self-assessment and identify any bad habits that you’d like to change. Charles Durhigg, author of “The Power of Habit,” says that with every habit is a cue, an action, and a reward. Put some thought into identifying what cues your bad habits and why you do each one. What is the reward? Why do you continue that action over and over? Through this exercise, you can identify patterns and learn how to change your bad habits while keeping the same rewards and cues, thereby creating a more productive lifestyle.

5. Accomplishment Journal

At the end of each day, write down everything that you accomplished that day. Take note of all the big things (finally finished that big paper, received a scholarship, got an internship, etc.) and all the small things (got your laundry done, tried a new food in the cafeteria, made it to the rec center to work out, etc.). Giving yourself recognition for and being excited about what you did each day can create a habit of looking forward to all that you can do the next day, giving you more purpose and reason to be productive.

This is an amazing time to live in. We have more access to powerful and positive resources that can give us the type of life we want to have. Using these five clever mental hacks will not only allow you to boost your productivity, but will also improve your general outlook on life.

Russel Cooke is a journalist and business consultant based in Canyon Country, CA. and Louisville, KY. He thoroughly enjoyed his time spent in college, and considers it his best series of learning experiences to date. You can follow him on Twitter @RusselCooke2.

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#CongratsGrads: Dedicated to Graduating High School Seniors

You did it! The countdown to the end of the school year is finally approaching the number “zero” (for some of you, it’s already there!). It’s bittersweet, but you can now reminisce and be proud of everything you’ve accomplished. As you transition to incoming college freshman status, now is the time to start preparing  for college life and anticipate all of the discoveries, opportunities, and experiences that the next four years will bring. Via Facebook and Twitter last week, we posed two big questions: What are you going to miss the most about high school? What are you looking forward to the most about college? Check out what several students had to share below:


I’m going to miss my easy-going classes and most of my classmates! I’m looking forward to the dinner hall, meeting new people, and exploring a whole new state while I move off to college! In other ways it’s pretty much an adventure! – Cindy O.

I’m going to miss my friends who have become like family to me, but as their doors close, I hope to expand my family in college while never forgetting the ones that got away. – Quiah V.

I’m going to miss the high school atmosphere being with my friends. But I think mostly the teachers because they support you so much and want you to succeed – they want to help you grow and push you to go to college. What I’m looking forward to about college is being away from home and meeting new people, because college is all about having new experiences and by throwing myself into a new place with all new people, I have a chance to grow, be myself, make new friends, and have new experiences. – Adrian H.

Surround yourself with people that share similar interests. Be in control of yourself, because in college it’s all about you! There will be guidance, but you will have to go on your own. They will help prepare you for everything! Have essays to write? There are computer labs, peer mentors, student advisors, etc. Trust me, the universities have every resource you need, so do not be afraid to ask! Feeling stressed? Re-evaluate your goals and mission, because that will remind you why you are there and why you want to make a change in your life. Don’t let one wrong turn bring you down! We are humans, we all make mistakes – just stand up proud and wave your hands up in the air like you just don’t care. Oh and college professors will be direct with you! Remember you’re an adult now, so they will treat you like an adult. Have fun :) – Dalia G.

At Cappex, your college decision headquarters, we understand the questions, excitement, and apprehension you might have about the years ahead, because each of us has been through the experience. After looking back on our college years, a few Cappexians have bestowed the following words of wisdom:

“Make sure to take advantage of your school’s cultural activities. If you have a slow evening, don’t watch TV. Instead, go to a lecture or free concert, there’s one almost every night.” — Mike F.

“You’re going to change your major ten times. That’s okay.” — Elijah C.

“Be responsible with finances. Don’t take out a credit card.” — Ben A.

“It’s okay to be undecided to figure out what you want to study later. Take classes that interest you. If you find a class that you love, you may want to stick with it.”  -Marissa G.

From all of us here at Cappex, Congrats #Classof2014!

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The Cappex #ClassOf2014 Playlist

If you could have one theme song for the school year what would it be? This past week via Twitter and Facebook, we asked YOU to share your favorite songs from the past year.  The ones that kept you motivated through those all nighters and even the ones you danced the nights away to. Check out the list below for songs that students like you couldn’t get out of their heads:

“The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” – Ylvis
Submitted by Armando M.

“Make Me Proud” – Drake featuring Nicki Minaj 
Submitted by Brittany

“Iridescent” – Linkin Park
Submitted by Arlynn A.

“Rock around the Clock”
Submitted by Patrick K.

And enjoy the following video-accompanied submissions! If you have a favorite song not featured on this list, share it with us in the comments below, Facebook, or Twitter.

“Hey Brother” – Avicii
Submitted by Natalie N.

“Forever Young ” – Jay Z | Mr. Hudson
Submitted by Husein H.

Happy” – Pharrell
Submitted by Jonathan J.

“Roar” – Katy Perry
Submitted by Chi N.


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