How to Get the Most Out of Your Study Time
We’ve all felt it before: you have exams approaching, due dates breathing down your neck, and you just really really really want to do ANYTHING but study. Follow a few simple tips to get your mind focused, your motivation pumping, and brain ready to get work done.
Clean up your study space
Whether it’s your bed, your desk, or your dining room table, it’s always good to have a neat and tidy study space. It feels sooo good to work in a clean environment, and it does wonders for your concentration.
Invest in nice stationery
If at all possible, consider spending a little extra on school supplies and a little less on other things. Nice, smooth gel pens and mechanical pencils, as well as better notebooks, make you more motivated to get work done. If you’re really in a slump, it might help to go to the store and buy a little something, like a new pen or notebook. (Be careful about this, don’t go overboard or buy unnecessarily expensive things.)
Throw your phone across your house if you need to! (ok fine don’t do that, but I find that I am 100x more productive when my phone is out of sight) I suggest turning it all the way off and put it in another room. Maybe give it to a family member (that you trust) to hold on to for a little bit while you study. That way, you’ll be deterred from going to go get it.
If you need your phone for your homework, I suggest putting it on airplane mode. If you need your Internet to get things done, consider turning off all your notifications in settings.
You can also try to eliminate your need for your phone for studying at all (especially if you can’t turn it on airplane mode). Make a habit of using a real calculator instead of an app, and use a computer or tablet for internet connectivity instead of your phone. But whatever you do not leave your phone easily accessible to social media you will be tempted and you will regret it later.
Your phone isn’t the only distraction around–find a quiet place to study. Libraries and cafes can be good choices, especially if your family is loud and/or you don’t have a desk in your room (although I highly highly recommend having a desk in your room if you can, even if that desk is just a table and a chair). Be aware of cafes though. Sometimes they can be crowded and you might find yourself eavesdropping on someone else’s juicy story about their ex instead of getting your work done. Bring a pair of headphones if you need to! (In fact, I’m at a cafe writing this article right now with headphones on and it’s working great).
Finally, there are applications on your phone (and your computer) that help make sure you stay on task. I’m not going to list specific ones here, but I may in future articles. In the meantime, you can do a quick search to see which one is best for you.
Write a checklist
This is the best way to keep track of what you need to get done, and it makes you feel like you’re being productive. Every time you complete a task, you can check it off, which always feels great. (Also look up bullet journaling!) As a bonus, you can write down how much time you want to spend on each task, and what time you want to finish each task. This helps prevent you from wasting any time.
Take out your materials
Once you’ve written your checklist, take out all of the materials you will need to complete your tasks and have them out in front of you for easy access. That way, you won’t have to get up later in the middle of your task to go searching for something you need.
Play some music
Music can help you concentrate and/or get you in the mood for what you’re doing. It can also help block out distractions if you happen to be in a noisy environment. You can study music with words in it if it doesn’t distract you, but studies have found instrumental/wordless music helps your brain focus on the task far better than other genres. Consider jamming out to a few of your favorite songs before you begin studying to get you motivated. Be careful though–if the music is coming from your phone, be sure you turn it on airplane mode or at least turn off your notifications! If you think you still might be tempted (and you’re at home) try using a Bluetooth speaker and place your phone far away from your desk (but close enough that it still connects to the speaker, of course).