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How to stay “productive” during boring lectures

By Freeha Anjum, February 13 2024—

We’ve all been there: sitting in a lecture hall and all of a sudden, you notice that you don’t care about what the professor is saying, at all. You get hopeful for a second, thinking that class might be ending soon — but nope, it’s only been 12 minutes. You think: it’s okay, I’ll just try to focus and I’m sure the class will be over in no time. You use all your brain energy into comprehending the words your professor is speaking and after what feels like an eternity you check the time in desperation: it’s only been another three minutes.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. We’ve got your back with these tried and true methods to stay productive, even in the most boring of lectures. 

Practice your straight lines

The iPad kids know what I’m talking about. When you’re really bored, it’s strangely satisfying to make random shapes with those perfectly straight lines you get when you keep the pen held down. If you’re especially bored, you can also colour in the shapes over and over — so exciting, right?

Draw/write notes on your neighbour’s page

If you can’t pay attention, just be a menace to others too. Use your pencil (or better yet, take theirs) and start doodling on their page. If they get annoyed, just write a little apology note with it.

Online shop

I’ve seen this one endless times in lecture halls, so it must work. If you aren’t going to be able to focus anyways, it can’t hurt to use that time to feel the immediate reward of purchasing something new (or imagining what you’d purchase if you weren’t deep in student loans).

Put up Subway Surfers gameplay

To really pay attention to someone’s rambling, all you need is some subway surfer gameplay and it’ll shift your focus in no time (if you know, you know). 

Write down literally everything

Did the professor just say something insanely obvious? Do you already know that thing and definitely won’t forget it? Is it also already written on the slide? Doesn’t matter. Just write it down anyway. It’s torture, but it’ll force you to listen.

Catch up on your texts

Remember when your friend messaged you for help with something and you read the text, thought of your exact response, and then completely ignored it for two weeks? Well, lucky you, because you now have 50 minutes to catch up on all those messages!

Imagine how you would save the whole class if the building burned down

If you say you’ve never daydreamed about a scenario like this while sitting in class, you’re lying. I know you think your intuition would get you celebrated as a hero.

Write your notes really slowly

Just really take your time with it. Pick one thing the professor said and write or type it out as slowly as you possibly can. Try and retry as many times as you want! If you become an expert, you might even pass the full lecture time with just one sentence.

Look at your distant classroom crush

We’ve all read those UofConfessions about classroom crushes that you will most definitely never talk to…Sometimes all you need is a little eye candy to make time fly.

Reopen all your apps over and over

Maybe you magically got a DM over Instagram in the last 30 seconds. No? Okay, let’s check messages again. Okay, maybe discord. Alright, it’s been another few seconds, time to check Instagram.

These are just some ideas to get you started, but everyone stays productive in their own way while sitting in a boring lecture. Feel free to ask your friends if you need some more suggestions.

This article is part of our humour section.

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