Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Remaining Productive During Intense Studying                     

I have a super intense personality. It has been confirmed by multiple sources, namely my mom and my best friend. Sometimes it's really awesome and sometimes its just a lot to handle. With this personality comes the drive and often the need to produce, produce, produce. In college that can be a really great trait to have, but it has its limits. I entered college as a high school valedictorian determined to make my GPA match the one I made in high school. As someone who has literally committed days to studying I can fully attest to the need to take breaks while you study.
I used to fully believe that if I cleared my schedule to study I would accomplish all I needed to do in one day, while this might be possible for some people I think only a superhuman could do it without taking breaks. 
Based on my experiences the more refreshed you stay, the more productive you are. After a lot of trial and error, I feel like I have finally figured out the best ways to stay refreshed and focused while you study.

  • Take a 5-10 minute break every hour - seriously if you don't do this you will end up on Facebook for 30 minutes, so just do it. Stand up and stretch and make sure you keep your blood flowing.

  • Do your best to study before 6p.m. - The book How To Become a Straight-A Student by Cal Newport seriously changed my perspective on this. Studying for a short while during your body's peak hours will allow you to take in so much more then you could during later hours when your brain is tired. I now wake up earlier to get studying instead of staying up later

  • If you feel like you need coffee or food to stay awake go to bed and wake up early - this relates to the above principle.  It's easy to fall into the trap of drinking of coffee to squeeze in more study hours, but for the most part at that point it is wisest to simply go to bed and wake up a bit earlier when your brain is fresh.  

  • Study in an environment you can focus best in - this might seem like it goes without saying, but honestly if you are going to study with your best friend  who you haven't talked to all week then chances are you are going to get nothing done.  I've been there too many times, trust me it doesn't work. Another tip I have applied religiously from Cal's book is to find secret study spots. These are places where I know there won't be a ton of activity or distraction. It is here that I am often able to produce my best work in the shortest amount of time. I really enjoyed a tidbit from his book which is paraphrased as follows, "Would you rather get mediocre gossip between classes [this would apply to being in an area where people would stop and talk to you to] or would you rather have all your work done so you can attend the social that night." I hope you can guess which one I would pick.

Obviously different things work for different people, but throughout my time in college this is what I have found has worked best for me. Hope this helps some of you dedicated students out there whether you be in college or high school. 
                                                      Happy Studying!
How do you stay focused during intense study sessions? Comment below to let me know.

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