We all have 24 hours in a day. Quite a large chunk of this goes into sleeping, and then there is eating and being with family. That leaves all of us with just a few hours for getting things done each day, including studying.
If you are juggling studies with work, it means your time is divided even further, so you have fewer hours to put into study.
With all these commitments, how do you ensure that you remain on top of all your study? The secret is to maximize the use of each hour, each minute, and each second of the time you have set aside for study. In other words, find ways to become more productive with the limited study time that you have in a day.
While that may sound rather general, you are in luck because you are reading this piece. In a bit, you are going to learn not one, but five strategies to get you started and help you become more productive with your study time. Let’s dive right in.
Start by identifying a productive place to study
The environment matters a lot when it comes to studying. Trying to study at a place that is unconducive to your learning style is only going to amount to wasted hours that you cannot recover. Right away, this underscores the essence of first identifying and understanding your learning style. That’ when you can know the place that will support such style of learning.
Overall, there are four main styles of learning, namely:
Reading / Writing learners
These are people who learn best by reading and writing the material that they are studying.
They learn best by seeing the material that they need to study. If you are a visual learner, you respond best to things such as images, diagrams, color-codes, patterns and video.
These are people who learn best by listening. If you are one, you respond better to audio cues such as music, speech, rhymes, and more.
These are people who learn best by doing. If you are a kinesthetic learner, you enjoy role playing, drawing diagrams, building models, making flash cards and such other acts. You learn better by putting the subject into practice or simulating the content of the material you are learning.
Once you know the type of learner you are, it is easier to adapt your ideal learning methods and effectively determine the place to study.
Suppose you are an auditory learner for instance, you might want to find and listen to podcasts about your topics or subject of study.
For a visual learner, drawing up mind maps or extensively using color while note taking could be a great place to start. Even better, learn by watching YouTube videos related to your subject or topics of study.
If you learn better by dong stuff practically, it will help to keep simulating the subjects or material that you have learnt. Every time you grab a concept, take some of your study time actually putting it into action. You’ll find that you excel at more practical subjects such as engineering, computer programming and medicine rather than the more theoretical subjects.
Reading / writing learners on the other hand can benefit from the fact that the internet and physical libraries are awash with learning materials that they can read and learn from. Be sure to take notes each time you read something. As a reading / writing learner, traditional study will appear much easier for you than other learners.
With these in mind, it should be easier to choose a learning setup that supports your learning style. This is especially important if you are preparing for an important test or examination such as the GRE exam.
Put away any distractions from your learning environment
Whatever your learning style is, be sure to keep distracting elements like your phone or TV away from your learning environment. While it could be tempting to keep the TV on when you are a visual learner, the fact that it carries unrelated content can easily take your mind off the material that you were to study.
The last thing you want is an intended quick peek at your favorite TV program becoming 45-minute or hour-long detour into your study time. It can often be difficult to refocus your mind after drifting off for several minutes.
Perhaps the most problematic distractor to watch out today is your smartphone. It is extremely difficult to pay attention to what you are learning if you keep shifting from one social media to another, responding to texts or taking and making calls at the same time. You’ll be processing a lot of information that hurt your ability to acquire new important knowledge. So it’s best to avoid having the phone with you in the first place.
Use planning tools
Entering each study session with a clear idea of what you are going to accomplish can make a huge difference between a perfectly utilized time and time wasted mulling over competing study objectives. The surest way to ensure you’ll avoid the latter is to prepare a clear plan of activities.
Get into the habit of writing down lists for each day, and set reminders in your phone to avoid forgetting an item in your to-do list.
Today, the internet is awash with useful calendar and homework planner apps that you can look up and use to automate your planning. It helps to use these so you always know what is coming up next.
Complete tasks that can go together simultaneously
Multi-tasking can be extremely distractive. However, when it comes to studies, there are those things that you can do simultaneously, such as taking notes during a call, or researching a topic and writing about it. It won’t help to read about it first, only to come and write about it later on.
So, look at your study and identify those activities that are related, then consider accomplishing them together to seal off any room for time wastage.
Do the least time-consuming or most vital tasks first
Having too many items on your to-do list can appear overwhelming. Yet there are those items that take less than 2 minutes to complete. If you have such tasks, such as making a quick phone call, it helps to get them out of the way first.
You will be able to focus better or feel motivated to work more effectively when you feel like you have accomplished something. Just be sure to consider the order of priority so you don’t get to a point of last-minute rush and frustration.
How you approach these tips may vary from one learner to another. However, so long as you follow them properly, you can be sure to see the desired results.
Subscribe to our mailing list
Join Hundreds of readers who have access to exclusive downloads and content