As the exams near, nervousness starts creeping in and the to-do lists begin forming a pile on your desk. This inevitably leads to procrastination due to fear or lack of focus. But, worry not, we have just the solution for you! Here are 5 ways to be more productive in your studies with a little bonus.
Start by making a not-to-do list! And this list includes — poor habits you need to stop, screentime, tasks that drain you, etc. This will help you identify and prevent activities that waste your time. Every time you find yourself gravitating towards binge-watching entertainment videos, or scrolling through social media apps, you will remind yourself of the not-to-do list and stop. This method will help you remove tasks that are not a priority and allow you to focus on the important ones. It saves you time and energy.
For example, when you cut down on binge-watching content, you can use the time to revise a concept instead. Besides, a not-to-do list is a perfect way to start when you’re overwhelmed with the prospect of finishing a vast syllabus in a limited time. You can take a day to draft your not-to-do list — remember to jot down habits that waste time. This method is ideal if you have a tendency to procrastinate or get distracted easily.
Time blocking is an efficient way to manage your time and properly plan your day. In this method, you divide your day into several blocks of time, and to each block, you assign a task that you must complete. This method helps you visualise your day. This, in turn, ensures that you don’t take on more than you can handle and also do not miss out on completing important tasks. Here’s how you can go about time blocking to make you more productive in your studies.
The first step is to make a to-do list of tasks that you absolutely need to complete along with the estimated time. Ensure that you add both study-related and personal tasks here. For example, you can allot 2 hours to study concepts of 3 different subjects in a day. You can also include 1 hour of exercise to help you stay active and refreshed. You can even club similar activities in a block – this method is called task batching.
Time blocking can help you be more productive as it enables you to get many things done in a day. It also helps you uncover hidden blocks of time that you can use productively. You can always start small by planning your tomorrow, today. Time blocking is the best method for you if you like to plan and prioritise your tasks.
Multitasking may not work for everyone and it can even become a distraction for some. Especially because giving 100% attention to all tasks is impossible. If you’re someone who doesn’t like multitasking, then single-tasking is definitely something you need to try. This method was put forth by Devora Zack in her book, Single Tasking: Get More Done-One Thing at a Time. Zack says that multitasking is a myth and we can actually be more productive by taking up one task at a time.
This method operates in 3 steps. The first is to eliminate all distractions. Pick a quiet place to study and keep your desk is clean. And, ensure you only have the relevant study material in front of you. The idea is to focus on one task for a period of time. This can be difficult but achievable with the use of the Pomodoro technique or deep work. For example, you could attempt to solve a practice test for two hours or revise concepts in a subject for one hour. This method helps you be productive and improves your focus too. And, a bonus? It reduces stress and leaves you less overwhelmed.
One of the easiest ways to be more productive in studies is by making the most of the time when your energy levels are high. This method is called biological prime time – a term coined by Sam Carpenter. If time is on your side, then you can take about 3 weeks to observe yourself and understand at what time of the day are your energy levels high and when are they low.
Once you have identified this, you must plan your day accordingly by slotting difficult tasks in the high energy period and easy ones when you’re low. For example, if you are active in the morning, then make sure you use the time to study difficult topics in Chemistry or practice Maths problems. And, you can keep it light in the afternoons by taking up practice quizzes on important topics on learning apps. This method will make studies a breeze because you are functioning at high energy levels. However, be mindful about eating healthy and getting adequate sleep to make the most of this productivity method. This method is ideal if you like to be in control of your day and concentrate better.
Getting things done on a daily basis without a goal is not helpful. There needs to be a long term goal to be more productive in your studies. This goal can be something like, “I will score above 80% in this term.” To do this, you will have to note down your short and long term goals. Make sure that you focus on what you want to achieve.
One way to do this is to set SMART goals. The other is Agile results. Here, you identify the things you need to accomplish at daily, weekly and monthly levels. For instance, your goal could be to score more marks in Physics. Then your daily goal is to read through the concepts. Solving ‘x’ practice papers becomes the weekly goal. And, finally, the monthly goal is finishing a significant amount of syllabus in Physics. The agile results method is doable and helps you progress on your goals. It is perfect for you if you are results-oriented and love long-term planning.
Even with planning that’s on point, sometimes it is difficult to accomplish everything you set out to achieve. On those days, you need a little nudge to get through the long task lists.
So, here are 5 more tips for difficult days.
We know there are plenty of productivity methods to choose from and this might leave you confused. But, just keep in mind is that an actionable and good productivity method helps you complete your tasks and achieve your goals. The key is to adopt the right framework that works for you.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to being productive because all of us operate differently. Therefore, when choosing a productivity method, keep in mind your personality – ask yourself if you have a tendency to procrastinate, or if you have trouble focusing, and what are your strengths? – and then decide on a method.
We hope that these ideas will help you achieve your goals and chase your dreams. Do tell us in the comments below, if they worked for you.
1. What is the most productive way to study?
- Set up your study space - Listen to soothing music - Stick to a routine - Practice previous years' questions - Revise with flashcards
2. How do I enjoy studying?
- Try studying with your friends - you could quiz each other and share insights to understand concepts better - Take regular breaks to engage in activities that make you happy - like playing a sport, watching a TV show, talking to a friend, etc. - Organise your study area - Try to focus on the process and not the outcome
Sara started her professional journey in a newsroom and quickly realised that words and stories are her happy place. You may have noticed that she adores her alliteration. She’s also an ailurophile who needs her fix of cute kitty reels to unwind. A warm cup of coffee, chocolates with hazelnut, and a Netflix binge on a cosy chair are all she needs in life. Trees and beaches make her very happy too.
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