Studying can be hard. Even studying something you enjoy takes a lot of dedication, let alone something you just need to pass a test and never think about again. It can be overwhelming to start, even more so as the clock ticks and the deadlines get closer.
But fear not, today we’re solving that!
The trick to a healthy study schedule is to set goals and be realistic with the time you have. It will take discipline and perseverance regardless, but you can make your life a lot easier by following these tips. By the end, you’ll know exactly how to create a study routine!
So first things first:
Define your goals
Defining your goals early is crucial because it will be the key to figuring out everything else.
First of all, you may have a short-term goal or a long-term goal – maybe you’re just studying for a test coming soon, or you’re immersing yourself in content for a specific project.
We’ll talk about deadlines in a separate topic, so for now, just focus on defining your main goal.
In other words, what’s your success condition? Getting straight As? Passing the test? Presenting a TedTalk? Finishing a book?
Decide that, and then let’s move on to the next step.
Now that you have a goal in mind, it’s time to take note of the amount of content you have to get through.
If you have to read plenty of books or watch courses, you want to know exactly how much content that is. Put it on a list of everything you have to study so that you can start planning accordingly.
For example, if you have to watch a number of videos, check out how long they are. And is it important to watch them, or can you just listen to them?
If you have to read books and essays, do the same. Check how long and complex those are so that you have an idea of the time it will take to get through them.
Learning how to make your home more relaxing and peaceful can also help you concentrate!
Let’s talk about the deadline
Now that we have the goal and the content, we’ve arrived at the big one – the deadline.
This will dramatically change your plans, depending on how much content you have to get through. If you have a test in about a month, that’s pretty chill (in most cases, anyway). But if the deadline is a few days away (no shame, we’ve all been there), you may need to adapt.
With your deadline in mind, look through your list of content and start spreading it over a few days. And be realistic about it!
If it helps, you can use an app like Trello to visually organize each study block. I find that having this visual feedback really helps with planning your days better. You can also sketch a visual schedule on a black page and stick it to the wall, if you prefer.
Define your priorities
If you’re running short on time, you may not have enough time to read/watch everything – at least not at regular speed.
So, try to simplify your list of contents. Set your study to focus on what’s the absolute most important, and take a few shortcuts with the rest.
For example, if you had to read a book about a specific subject, you could instead watch a video on it or read a summary. It’s not the same, but if you really don’t have the time, then it’s enough to keep you on track.
Besides, YouTube videos can be sped up, so if really necessary, it’s an option to cut down on time a little bit.
Obviously, it’s important to note that you should only cut these corners if the deadline is imminent. Otherwise, it’s always better to plan your studies around taking your time and absorbing the content little by little – your mind retains and learns much better like that.
Careful with music
Many people like to listen to music while studying/working. This is fine, but you have to be careful.
Music can affect your mood and also distract you. This is entirely subjective so you’ll have to rely on your own judgment.
For example, I simply cannot write while listening to songs with lyrics. It’s way too distracting. But calm instrumental or nature sounds actually help me since it phases out any exterior sounds that would otherwise distract me.
Everyone is different in this regard, so if you find yourself struggling to concentrate while listening to music, consider changing your playlist a bit.
For the duration of your studies, try to stay away from your phone and mute notifications wherever you are.
A lot of people struggle to remain focused, especially when trying to consume a large amount of content all at once. Getting distracted is normal, but if you can help yourself get away from any noise, your studies will flow a lot better.
BONUS: Stay hydrated!
Finally, drink water! You’ll be dedicating a lot of energy to your brain, but remember that your body needs nutrition to keep going.
Drink water and remember to eat properly. The more you neglect these basic needs, the harder it will be to concentrate on your studies.
Your body is your superpower, so take good care of it! =)
If you can’t concentrate on your studies because of outside noise, consider installing acoustic tiles. They greatly reduce noise and help you focus much easier!