As uni students, our lives are full of deadlines.
Assignment deadlines, exam deadlines, census date deadlines. When you’re studying, remembering what you’ve learnt in order to effectively meet these deadlines means fitting study into your routine.
But if you’re finding yourself getting distracted every time you sit down with a pen in hand, you’re not alone.
Luckily, there are ways to maintain your focus, stop getting distracted and study more effectively.
We’ve all sat at our computer ready to knock over important exam preparation and picked up our phone instead of our pen or logged into Facebook instead of logging into our Student Portals.
Why do we do this? Because we’re procrastinating – we’re finding everything else to do instead of study because we’re not disciplined.
A good way to stop procrastinating is by working backwards, figuring out when the assessment is due, making note of everything you need to have done by that date, then building a study approach.
If you’re looking for more tips, register for one of CSU’s free online workshops on Overcoming Procrastination.
Give yourself space
How often do you find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper or Word document wondering where to start? You’re getting nowhere but you also don’t want to move onto something else because all that does is edge you closer and closer to the looming due date.
Giving ourselves some space from the task at hand can help us come back to it with a fresh mindset and a new perspective.
Going back to re-learn content will also help you remember it for longer, so forget pre-exam cram and give yourself space when you need it so you can retain the information for longer.
Study when you’re feeling fresh
Some of us are morning people and some of us are afternoon. When it comes to studying and making our study effective, we need to fit our study routine into our natural daily cycle.
Work out your daily routine and when you feel most productive. If you plan to do work when you don’t feel like it, you’ll struggle to work effectively.
Give yourself rewards
Whether it’s an afternoon break from exam preparation, a trip to the movies, or a weekend away with friends, rewarding yourself for dedicating time to study is one of the best ways to stay motivated.
By focusing on the outcome, rather than the process, we can become more motivated to study. Building motivational mechanisms into your study period will help you work towards your end point.
Have a ‘study buddy’
I know what you might be thinking – surely studying with someone else screams high levels of distraction, right? Chatting about unrelated things or wondering what the other person is working on can make you lose your focus.
But when it comes to problem-solving activities, having a study buddy can actually help you learn something new.
Study buddies help you workshop ideas and come up with the best approach possible to work through your studies. Plus, they also keep you accountable. If you’re not getting work done and they are, you might find yourself motivated to work harder.
Take the stress out
Time never seems to be on our side when it comes to due dates. We find our anxiety peaking when we realise next week’s project is actually due tomorrow and instead of working effectively, we panic instead.
By preparing ourselves, we give ourselves structure and can work towards our goal in a less stressful environment. Being organised is key to studying effectively.
Building in breaks also takes the stress out of study and helps our mind from going into overdrive.
As hard as it may seem, being strict on yourself may actually help you study more effectively in the long run.
Most people don’t get excited about the thought of sitting down for eight hours to study for an upcoming exam or important assignment. By disciplining yourself to recognise what you want and if it matters to you, you might find your study becomes more efficient and more effective.
When you eliminate procrastination, you boost production. After all, the more productive you are, the quicker you can complete your study goals.