The 2022/2023 college and school term has kicked off with a bang! For many students, secondary or third level, the hardest part of September is trying to get back into good daily habits and routines, especially a good study routine.
The most effective way to get a good jump on the new school term is to design a good study routine early. This will matter later in the year, when friends are running to the library for stressy cram sessions, you’ll be revising old material and watching Netflix guilt-free.
We’ve included a handy downloadable infographic too at the end!
1. Use A To-Do List
It doesn’t matter if it’s on paper or a digital list, as long as you have one. Planning your tasks ahead of a study session will give you a a solid base to work from while also allowing you to recap quickly and efficiently. Tick off each completed task as you go, this will give you a sense of accomplishment which in turn will motivate you to complete more tasks. Save your lists each day and at the end of the week you’ll have a list of all topics and tasks covered, this will help you create next week’s lists faster.
2. Use a Timer (Pomodoro)
We’ve all heard of the term “deep work” by now. Deep work is the work we complete when we’re at our most focussed, naturally meaning that deep work will be our best quality work. Deep work doesn’t come easy and the catch is that we cannot stay in a state of deep work or “flow” for long without needing a break. One of the best ways to achieve deep work or flow is to use a timer. Many people use the Pomodoro Technique. This method means setting a timer for 25 minutes and working hard and focussed before taking a 5 minute break, then the cycle repeats. We’ve found the Pomodoro Technique to be highly effective and if you do it well, you’ll find that each 25 minute session produces more and better quality work than a two hour session would have given you previously. You can use an automatic Pomodoro timer here or search for one on YouTube.
3. “Study with Me” Videos
“Study with Me” videos have become hugely popular online in the last number of years. The idea is similar to that of “Shut Up and Write” sessions where students would meet up for a couple of hours and literally shut up and write together. Study with Me’s are arguably more accessible and for some, more beneficial. A person will record and upload a video of themselves studying on YouTube for other people to watch and study along to. Some of these videos will have a Pomodoro timer or music incorporated. One of the most beneficial things about having a Study with Me video on in the background is that when you get distracted and look around, you’ll see someone else focussed which will redirect your energy to your study. There’s loads of Study with Me videos available online and even live Study with Me groups so have a look around to see what suits you. Here’s one of our personal favourites.
4. Find Your Productivity Sound
Some people physically cannot study without listening to music and some people hate the distraction of having music play while they’re trying to focus. There’s a couple of things to consider here on both sides. If you’re a person who needs music, one of the best things you can do is to make sure there are no lyrics to the music you choose. Listening to music with a catchy melody or with words to sing a long to can be really distracting and will add to the number of things your brain is trying to do. Instead, try to find music with a slow and calming melody. Some people love Lo-Fi (ourselves included), others love classical piano or atmospheric soundtracks. Another option is to listen to white noise, brown noise, rain or thunderstorms. We can vouch for all of the above. Take some time to browse around on YouTube and Spotify to find what suits your flow.
5. Set Up Your Space
Before setting into a study session, take some time to get your space right. A couple of traps to avoid – thinking you need the best stationary or the trendiest chair or standing desk (we all do it). The truth is, any space where you feel calm and have enough light can be used to find your flow. Some bonus tips – try to find a desk or table that will give you plenty of elbow room, remove any distractions from the workspace (papers, stationary etc) and have water with you at all times.
Those are our our top 5 tips for setting up a daily study routine early in the school or college year. We’ve included a handy, downloadable file with these tips for you. If you’ve found this post valuable we’d love if you shared it. If you want to see more content like this, let us know on social media!