Changes to your study routine, and even your daily routine, can make studying a lot more difficult. And right now, there are still a lot of changes to adapt to, almost daily.
There’s still opportunity to try something new despite all the changes. If studying has you down, try these tips to create a productive study session and get your work done.
These are life-long tips that you can use now, in university and even when you’re in the workforce.
1. Set up your ideal study space. Your physical space has a lot to do with how energized you feel. Try creating a workspace that’s just for studying. Before you sit down to study, pretend like you’re going somewhere (maybe take a walk around your street). This will help your brain and body recognize it’s time to work.
2. Get organized with everything you need in reach. Hot beverage? ✔️. Snack ✔️. Highlighters? ✔️. This way, you avoid excuses like, “If I just had this, I could study better.” Preparing this way will help keep you on task.
3. Avoid distractions. You have what you need in reach, now keep things you don’t need out of reach (i.e. goodbye cell phone). Consider trying a focus app to block online distractions, disable pop-up notifications on your computer and turn off Netflix – do it for the grades!
4. Stack your priorities so they don’t overwhelm you. Start with your semester’s responsibilities and split them into monthly tasks, weekly tasks and then daily tasks. This will help you focus only on what’s important now instead of everything you have to do.
5. Make a study routine and stick to it. Now that your responsibilities are separated into more manageable chunks, write down your school and other commitments in a weekly schedule, then schedule blocks for studying. Try to stick to the same study times each week because you’ll get into a rhythm and spread out your responsibilities, which helps ease stress.
6. Talk and write about what you’re learning. To help you retain new information, review the content in a new way. Try taking notes, reading your notes out loud to yourself and talking about the information with a family member. Since we all learn in different ways, you’ll soon see which method helps you remember the content better.
7. Take breaks. It’s important to schedule breaks so that you can absorb the information you’re learning and recharge. Take a walk, do a workout or try another activity until you’re ready to study again.
Sometimes you can turn off all your notifications and have the perfect study routine, but it doesn’t stop your own brain from distracting you. If you’re having trouble focusing – try the Pomodoro Technique.
1. Break your study time into 25-minute-chunks. Each chunk is called a pomodoro, which is Italian for tomato. (Why? Because Francesco Cirillo, inventor of the Pomodoro Technique, named his method after his kitchen timer, which was in the shape of a tomato.)
2. Set a timer for 25-minutes to focus on your task, then take a 5-minute break.
3. When a thought comes into your mind during the 25 minutes, write it down on a separate piece of paper so you can come back to it later.
4. During your break, address those thoughts you wrote down.
5. Repeat for four cycles of 25 plus the 5-minute break, then do something else.
The Pomodoro Technique helps eliminate the chance you’ll be interrupted while you’re focused on one task, and the time limit helps motivate you to finish the task in 25 minutes. And all those pesky interruptions in your mind? You’ve written them down so you can come back to them later, so they’ll stop distracting you because you have a plan to do them later.
And if these tips are the right ones for you, don’t forget to reward yourself with what might otherwise distract you (TV, snack, Tik Tok, etc.). That will help, too!
This article was adapted in part from Laurier’s “Golden Guide to Success in Online and Remote Learning” for current university students.
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