Vivienne Kruckow shares her top tips for making the necessary evil of studying a bit less daunting, and a bit more efficient. Fun fact: sometimes to get the most of the time you do study, it’s important to think about some time not studying.
Do a bit at the beginning of the week.
Whether that be your Sunday night or Monday afternoon, it’s totally up to you. Not only will you feel *amazing* by starting your week off productively, but you may even end up with extra time up your sleeve! When Friday rolls around, you’ll be feeling way less pressure to cram everything into your weekend and dig a grave for your previous(ly social) life.
Something is better than nothing.
Even if you only do an hour’s worth of study, at least you did SOMETHING. At the end of the day, you’ll feel much better knowing that you put your head down for an hour before logging back onto Netflix. If you’re a list-maker like me, then you can successfully tick “yes, I read two chapters of that totally boring textbook, and yes, I am still watching.”
Do a little every day.
This tip follows on from #2, but it’s a good strategy to implement early on. Breaking your homework and assignments down into manageable daily chunks will make the whole thing a lot less scary.
If you set time frames or study blocks for each specific day, it will be MUCH easier to stick to and schedule in.
Pick a slack day – and stick to it.
Okay, I know this isn’t very studious advice to hand out, but I’m trying to be realistic here. The truth is that we can’t put pressure on ourselves to study every single day. Think of it like this: you can either pretend that you’ll make time for study/assignments sometime during a stupidly busy day — and end up doing nothing — or you can look at your calendar for next week, accept that Monday is going to be a total write-off, and plan your study blocks around your schedule. Doesn’t that just sound so much nicer?
Sometimes life just gets in the way of our meticulously planned schedules, and not even the most expensive daily-planner can stop that. So it’s important that we learn to adapt, reschedule, and possibly adapt again last minute when the back-up plan goes awry. I recommend scheduling in activities and tasks in smaller time blocks (e.g. 30 minutes, one hour) so they are easier to move around in the day, and can be swapped with something else if necessary.
Pick something you enjoy and do it for 20 minutes each day.
This can be anything from reading a book to listening to your favourite playlist to checking your horoscope. Whatever it is, just make sure that it’s something that gives you joy, and you’re doing it for that reason only. That way, you can always feel like you’ve had ‘me time’ at some point in the day.
P.S. Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram does not count. I know you can be more creative than that!
Tackle your procrastination.
Now. Not tomorrow.
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of procrastinating. Don’t worry, I raised my hand too. We all have those activities that we justify as “taking a quick break” — even though they are 100% just an excuse to avoid the books. Yes, it’s very important to find out whether or not Hopper died at the end of Stranger Things S3, but does it really need to happen right now, with three assignments looming? Probably not. It’s time to get uncomfortable with how much (and often) you procrastinate, and put some strategies in place to avoid the cute-but-endless hole of cat videos and stay on track.
Don’t neglect your hobbies.
The end of the year is an exciting yet extremely stressful time. A lot of us have a full schedule between study, friends and jobs, so it’s important that we don’t let go of our hobbies just because our calendars are a little hectic. At the end of the day our hobbies — whether they’re dancing, painting, swimming or Monopoly — are important parts of our lives. They’re activities that we do because we love them, so it’s essential not to push them aside when we need them most.
And there you have it: study tips from a girl who spent 16 years studying (thanks, school and uni!). I hope these tips help you in some way, or at the *very* least encourage you to take 20 minutes to finally finish that final Harry Potter book (it’s worth the tears, I promise).