These Tips and Techniques Can Help You Improve Your Study Habits – Which Work Best for You?
Edward Young once said, “Procrastination is the thief of time”; and his affirmation is entirely valid. When we procrastinate, we cheat on ourselves. Have you ever felt good when putting off? Proud? Proficient? Genuine? Exemplary? I highly doubt it. In fact, you might have felt precisely the opposite. When you are procrastinating, the act itself is always on your mind. You unconsciously blame yourself for neglecting your work. You inevitably think about what-you-were-supposed-to-be-doing. You secretly disprove your behavior.
According to Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University, the amount of people who are chronic procrastinators today is around 20%, shares SelfMadeSuccess.com. This makes us question ourselves. Why are we procrastinating? What are the reasons behind our actions? Why are we running away from responsibilities?
Even though the rate of procrastination is high in general, students find it even more challenging to focus on their tasks and respect deadlines. According to the same source, roughly 75% of university students have considered themselves to be chronic procrastinators.
When faced with these statistics, we should reconsider our attitudes and work structure. So, dear student – I’m glad you are here. I’ll try to help as much as I can. Let me teach you how to create a successful study schedule and stick to it!
1. Figure Out When You’re Most Productive
Being productive is the key to success — and also, the key that puts an end to procrastination. If you find out what the most effective moment of your day is, you’ll have no problem staying on top of your work. Below you can find a step-to-step guide on how to figure out your peak productivity time.
Step #1: Pick a light day – a day in which you don’t have to stress about anything. Avoid exam days.
Step #2: Track your progress and your feelings throughout the day – see how work does during different times of the day. Notice when you feel the freshest. Log your activities in a notebook to keep track of them.
Step #3: Track your procrastinating time as well. What are you doing when you procrastinate? Find the alternate activity and observe it. Now ask yourself why – why do I choose to scroll down on Facebook or Instagram instead of focusing on my task?
Step #4: Analyze – at the end of the day, take time to analyze your feelings and actions. Answer the remaining questions. Decide when your peak productivity time is.
Step #5: Manage your time. Now that you have a clear idea when to work, structure your time accordingly. Create a timetable. Prioritize your tasks wisely. Last but not least, set goals.
2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
“Setting goals is inevitable if you want to finish your tasks on time. However, they should not be any goals. They should be S.M.A.R.T. goals,” shares Anne Cathleen, reporter at EssayGeeks and content writer at MindTools. Here is what Anne proposes. “Your goals should be:
- Realistic, and
When setting goals, one must analyze his or her short and long-term intentions. What do you want to accomplish? Which one of your goals is the most important? How much can you work per day? How can you achieve your goals? How realistic is the goal? How relevant? Asking these questions is crucial if you want to have a better understating of your inner motivations.
3. Make it a Routine
Think about your morning routines – you wake up, exercise, shower, brush your teeth, have breakfast, and leave the house. These habits are already impregnated into your subconscious. You do them because you must. Otherwise, you’d feel uncomfortable leaving.
That’s how you should approach studying as well. Study time should be part of your daily routine. Design two or three hours per day to it and stick to your schedule no matter what. While you’re studying, disconnect from social media or any other distractions. Ask your parents/roommates not to disturb you. Focus solely on your tasks. Learn how to say ‘no.’
4. Plan it Out
- Before starting, design a strict plan. Don’t forget to prioritize tasks in the order of their importance.
- Schedule breaks. Set timers every 50 minutes; take a 10-minute break. Have a quick snack, go back to work.
- Vary your tasks. For instance, if you must study for three subjects and have three hours study-time planned per day, take one hour to study for each subject. When that hour is up, don’t procrastinate. Move on to your next subject.
- Test your knowledge. After every break, revise your notes and come up with three essential questions about your recently-acquired knowledge. See where you must improve. Come back to it later if you must.
5. Choose Your Working Space
Here, you have two options – either design your perfect, most comfortable working space at home or study in different locations throughout campus. If you choose the first option, make sure your study zone has everything it needs. Keep your desk clean and books ordered. Minimize the items on your desk. Don’t leave trash or yesterday’s leftovers nowhere near your working space. Use your desk only for studying. Avoid eating where you study.
If you choose to study in different locations, pick places that you feel comfortable in. A library, a cafeteria, a classroom – these are good places to try out.
6. Pay Attention in Class
Studies have shown that attention is the gateway to cognition, it directly impacts school attainment for students, and lead to school success and long-time happiness. Here is how you can improve your attention span:
- Avoid using smartphones or any other type of digital device in class; instead, opt for papers and pens
- Include meditation in your daily routine
- Take time to relax during breaks, not scroll down on social media channels
- Avoid useless conversations
7. Find a Partner
If you’re still not giving out the best results, one of your best options is finding a study partner. Surprisingly enough, you can do that online too – so if you don’t find anyone interested at your school, try MoocLab out. Here, you can find and connect with your perfect online study partner based on your subject interests, courses, and study preferences.
Creating a studying schedule is not so complicated once you’re determined to put an order in your life. Make studying a routine, establish S.M.A.R.T. goals, pay attention in class, and figure out when you’re the most productive. Good luck!