Guess what? It’s week 5 of university. Mid-sem break is on the horizon for the most of us. But assignments are looming as well. Soon enough the burdensome work won’t be on our shoulders, but crash land on our head.
As humans, we cannot help but do exactly the opposite of what’s good for us. And that includes finishing work on time to reduce stress and anxiety. No matter how bad our study habits get, we never learn our lesson and end up pulling that all-nighter either way. And many of us do not realize the small things we do to ruin our study time or things we could do to improve it.
So here are various tips that tackle the the root of this issue.
This tip may seem to some, a bit of an over exaggeration, but keep in mind that this tip is for people who struggle with procrastination. This is how it works: As soon as you wake up, read through what you have allocated yourself to do. This can be during breakfast, train rides, before getting out of bed, or any time before starting the day. It can be a notification for an assessment, a to-do list, something marked on your calendar or questions to answer. Then throughout the day, keep giving yourself mental reminders about your tasks, set alarms on your phone, literally anything that will force you to remember it.
Say it out loud to yourself if you have to (well…not in public because that might be somewhat embarrassing). When you finally get home and actually sit down to complete your work, the reminders you gave yourself all day will help you stay focused, motivated and potentially more organised.
Now when you get home and settle down to get your work done, distractions would be the last thing you’d want to deal with. That takes us to topic number 2:
2)Dealing with distractions
Distractions are horrible. Let’s take your phone as an example. The electronic box of miracles that has Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and Youtube.Its almost inevitable that you check it. So when you work you need to keep them out of sight, right? Not quite.
Some people need to completely cut out distractions, but it works differently for others. An opposite effect is created where their curiosity bites at them, urging them to look back at their phones. This is how it works: Every 20-25 minutes of solid work, give yourself a break to scroll through your phone for a few minutes. After all, when we get short term rewards, even if its 5 minutes of time with our phone, we’ll work rather than have long term rewards.
Along with this, there is a more definite technique to follow which is discussed in our next point:
3)The Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is a time management technique which requires the breakdown of time into intervals of 25 minutes with 5 – 10 minute breaks in between. This technique is effective as it gives you a good amount of time to focus on your work and a short break to rejuvenate you! But if you get too distracted by your phone, Youtube videos, music videos or anything that involves the excessive movement of pixels on your screen, you and electronics probably don’t go too well together (especially on short breaks). Try getting up to stretch, walk around or grab a snack from the fridge.
4)Best place to study: Home or Library?
This has been a universal debate for a while now. Which place is the best to study? Home or Library? (That rhymed)
The answer is that it depends on you as a person. First, lets look at both the environments and make sure we know exactly what they both hold.
A home environment means you have pretty much everything readily available. To name a few, you have unlimited coffee, food, pajamas and a bed for napping. On the other hand, i the library, its a little less confortable. The environment is more disciplined as you are there for one reason and one reason only: to study.
Some people work best at home because they find it mentally and physically comforting to work in the comfort of their own home. As for the other majority of people, they find it hard to concentrate. This is because the comfort of their house is in fact, a distraction. For eg, when we sit on bed to work but it just turns into a progression of sitting up, to laying down and eventually falling asleep.
Some people love working in the library. To those people, good job! Other people prefer to work at home where there’s coffee readily available, food in the fridge, pajamas and a bed for quick naps. Honestly, you cannot work in an environment that provides excessive comfort. First off, with the food you have, you’re at a risk of overeating while studying if you tend to comfort eat. As for your bed, you’ll just be tempted to sit there and work, because “comfort” means a progression from sitting up to laying down to instantly falling asleep.
So it’s a Saturday afternoon and you want to work with a friend. So you call a friend. Let’s name him Bob. Bob is great! You both get along real well. He’s funny, he’s goofy, he sets the positive vibe, you two get along like Lee and Carter.
The day finishes before you know it. You both say your goodbyes and leave. Later on when you look at your books, an impending feeling of doom stirs in your gut. You finished no work.
What does this story tell us? No. Not that you shouldn’t work with friends at all. It just means you need to work with someone who motivates you to work too. I mean Bob was great, but he was also distracting. If you know you won’t be studying with your partner-in-studying, then you might want to reconsider. This doesn’t mean you need to break it off with your friend! It just means you need to prioritize work over them sometimes.
These tips aren’t genies hidden in lamps, they don’t magically make your dreams come true! Life isn’t a Disney movie. If these tips don’t work, do what works for you! If it’s your thing, then it’s your thing. The only person who can make you work, is you! Don’t let anything stop you from working hard! Dominate and conquer like you must!
I know that it’s easier said than done. But trust me, there will always be times when you feel like a cat that can’t catch the red dot.
But stay strong and trust yourself with this, you can do it!
Last modified: April 1, 2016