Hello friends, how are you? I’m here with a slightly different post today, looking at some simple study tips, as I wanted to chat a bit about studying and balancing that alongside life and work etc.
As you may know, I am studying part-time for a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing with the Open University. I’m in my second year and am really loving it so far. I study around my full-time job however so I really have to make a conscious choice to free up time to study and dedicate time to reading or writing.
As you can imagine, it’s much easier to write ‘STUDY’ in my diary than it is to actually sit down and study. Boy, do I love to procrastinate. But, there are some things that I find really helps me focus, especially when I’m tight on time, so I thought I’d share these simple study tips with you.
Tip Number One: Prepare your workspace
Naysayers will argue that this is also procrastination, but the first thing I like to do is to prepare the area that I’m going to work in. For me, that’s the dining room table, so I give the room a bit of a tidy first because we use it all week for work (and occasionally eating). It’s worth spending 5 minutes folding that laundry and clearing the table of junk to get you in the right frame of mind. I also like to get a coffee and light incense before I start, that way my brain knows we’re settling into study mode. Perhaps a playlist would work for you instead. Whatever it is, get in the zone.
Tip Number Two: Put your phone away
I know, it’s usually glued to my hand too. But put it in the other room or at the very least on flight mode so you won’t be disturbed. (I’ve heard the app Forest is helpful too.) It’s so easy to get distracted and even when I’m on my laptop I find myself less likely to browse than I am to sit on Instagram for 15 minutes without noticing. It’ll still be there when you’re done, honest.
Tip Number Three: Set Yourself Goals
These don’t have to be huge goals such as ‘write my essay’ or ‘read 10 chapters’ because these sound daunting and horrible, which means you’re much less likely to start. Break your studying into smaller, more achievable chunks that you can tick off. Things like, ‘create essay plan’, ‘read the first chapter and make notes’, or ‘research x topic’.
Tip Number Four: put a timer on and stick to it
This is particularly good for when you’re struggling to fit whole days of studying in or trying to balance a lot at once. I find it can be a lot more beneficial to do 1 hour of really focused on studying compared to 3 hours sitting in front of the laptop, mainly faffing. Put a timer on for 1 hour and say to yourself you’re not going to do anything else during that time. Once the hour is up, you can crack on with the next thing and you have it in the bank.
Tip Number Five: Know When Enough is Enough
This applies to everyone but I really think this is an important point to bear in mind if you’re studying alongside other responsibilities. Your brain can only stay sharp and focussed for so long. Take regular breaks or something I like to do it study in the morning, take a long talk, then do a bit when I come back. But sometimes, know that when you’re pooped, there’s not a lot going in. So write it off, get an early night and do it the next day.
I hope that you found these simple study tips helpful. If you have any others to share, please pop them in the comments so we can all help one another! My studying journey is going to be a long one, so they are certainly welcomed.