College and grad school are indeed pivotal phases of any person’s life. As a student, there’s a new whirlwind of responsibility, from coursework to extracurriculars. Sometimes, this might even involve balancing family and work.
With the added stress that comes with being a student pursuing a degree or higher certification, you need to work SMART, not harder. This article is a guide dedicated to helping you maximize your productivity. You won’t just get by, but you’ll get the best results. Let’s go!
1. Make Prioritizing a Priority
What that means is to recheck your priorities each day. As a student in higher learning, new things constantly pop up on your schedule. So, as impeccable as your diary might be, you’ll still need to constantly recheck and finetune it.
Understand your short-term and long-term goals. This will allow you to tailor your study habits accordingly.
2. Do Not Procrastinate
Procrastination is always a comfort, sweet when you do it. That due date always seems like it’s far off, after all, what difference would one extra day make? That’s where you trip. The negative momentum that one or two extra days of putting off work will accrue will both strain and frustrate you.
When given tasks, work on them as quickly as possible, even if they seem easy. In fact, as you move along, try to always get easier tasks out of the way. This will give you the oomph and drive to tackle the bigger, more complicated tasks. If you do run into hitches and have to postpone your work, always use services like RoyalWriter to improve your workflow.
3. Learn to Single Task
It probably seems like multitasking is a good idea since humans can naturally compartmentalize. However, you don’t necessarily achieve more when you multitask.
Working on a single task helps you cover more ground within less time. Let’s say you were working on a 2000-word research paper that’s due in three days. Splitting the work over the three days will slow you down since each time you pick up work you need to refresh again. That takes time.
Instead, you should set aside about three or four contiguous hours to do some research, develop an outline, and get your citations. In this way, picking up the task a day later will be quite enjoyable, not to mention smooth.
4. Thoroughly Understand Your Schedule
If you are a student who has to balance a ton of other activities outside of school, then it is a must that you understand how each hour will be spent. This point is crucial if you have a side gig, job, venture, or even a family that you’re running. And who could blame you?
Sometimes, opportunities come by while you are still a student that you simply can’t pass off. This ties back to the first point of learning to prioritize each day.
Understanding your schedule in-depth enables you to handle commitments with ease.
You won’t need to make last-minute rushes because you forgot about that meeting or seminar two weeks later. Better yet, you won’t need to deal with the heartbreak of missed classes, assignments, or exams, which dents your confidence.
5. Personalize Your Study Environment
Everyone has tastes and preferences when it comes to a great study spot. If you don’t have a place where your mind can relax and start working, you need to do this ASAP!
Whether it’s a particular spot in your school library or even a quiet corner in the common room doesn’t matter. Find a place that works for you. If you love nature, heck, try the school gardens and get yourself a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.
If you are a grad student engaged in research, be sure to find a place where you can easily access other students. This will help you with discussions and for moments when you need to seek clarification.
6. Banish Extracurriculars to the Weekend
Mid-week activities are always a bad idea, especially if they are physically or mentally draining. So, if you have a hobby that takes up a lot of your time and effort, the best time to partake would be over the weekend.
Likewise, any movement outside of campus should be limited to the weekends if you can avoid it.
Develop a culture of focusing on intense studying and revision during the week, and plan your activities around this. Once it becomes a habit, you’ll see a drastic improvement in your productivity.
7. Divide and Conquer
Always break down large or complex assignments and projects into manageable chunks.
This applies to undergrads handling multiple coursework and grad students navigating lengthy research projects. Smaller tasks make the workload seem more manageable and facilitate progress tracking.
8. Cherish Group Work If Possible
College is always competitive. Sometimes, you may find yourself tending towards an individualistic model of study. This is always the wrong approach unless you are Sheldon Cooper or some other genius.
Those numerous hours or days that you could have used trying to research a complex topic would have been shrunk down to size with a group.
This will allow you to also pick the minds and opinions of other students, providing a holistic model of study. If groups just aren’t your thing, find that one study buddy that you know is always available for discussion.
9. Use Active Learning Techniques
Trying to study by “cramming” or just reading endless pages of material is counterproductive. It takes up a lot of time and also leaves you fatigued and helpless when you can’t recall anything afterward.
Make a shift from passive reading to active engagement with the material. Use techniques such as mind-mapping, summarizing, or even gamification and quizzes to engage with the material better. Explain concepts to your roommate or study buddy to reinforce your learning.
Always start with your class notes and the study resources assigned by your lecturer or instructor. Answer the questions they give and always work on homework with enthusiasm, as this is where much of your knowledge will be tested.
10. Practice Wellness
There’s no use studying when you are burnt out. Instead, always take a break when you need to. Slot in a 10 to 30-minute nap in the afternoon to refresh your juices. Eat a balanced diet and plan out your meals if you can.
Always exercise to refresh your body. This doesn’t need to be athlete-level training, just something light to stretch and improve blood circulation. Take some time off if you are dealing with overwhelming personal issues.
With these 10 productivity tips, you will not only be more efficient and productive; but you’ll also be healthier and more rejuvenated.
Time management, whether through prioritizing or keeping a diary, is of the essence when it comes to productivity. Having control of your time down to the minute is crucial to getting all your work done.
Besides, practice self-care and take breaks when you need to. Your mind can perform at its best if it is well-rested. Good luck, and hopefully, you will nail it!