Updated: Dec 13, 2021
Success in school is largely dependent on how productive you are. But let's be honest, becoming productive isn’t as easy as it sounds. In this world of constant push notifications, tempting distractions, and fun things to do, no one really feels a rush of motivation to study hard subjects.
That’s not all, high school students across cultures report high levels of stress due to academic demands. The survey further showed that 55% of students feel very anxious about school testing, despite preparing well for it.
If you’re reading this, you know that you need to stop procrastinating and get to work. But it’s also important to do so while keeping your mental health in check. The tactics I share in this article will teach you how to get more done in less time. But you’ll see the results only if you put the advice to action.
The 5 Fail-Proof Methods:
1. Schedule your task
Sounds easy, right? Yet, most students don’t write down what they’re supposed to do. This leaves things messy, and you can easily forget that important assignment. A study by the psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University showed that you are 42% more likely to accomplish your goals if you write them down. It doesn’t matter whether you’re defining your tasks in Google Docs or a physical notepad, the point is to write down your tasks. Divide a big task into subtasks so you know exactly what you’re supposed to do when you start. For example, don’t just write “study for the Biology test.” Instead, clarify what exactly you need to study–which chapter, which sections, what questions you’ll solve, etc.
2. Optimize work environment
Where you work affects your productivity significantly. Working in a noisy environment will become a source of distraction and not allow you to focus. Choose to study in a quiet space. If lo-fi music gets you in the zone, put some music on as you work. Keep your desk clean–a cluttered space will make you want to avoid work. And lastly, have everything you need before you start studying. This includes books, pens, a water bottle, etc. Oh, and ditch your smartphone while you study.
3. The Pomodoro Technique
The idea behind the Pomodoro technique is to work for short periods and take micro-breaks in between so that you don’t exhaust yourself. So, you set a timer for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. You can set a timer for however long you feel you can sustain your focus. Use the short break to stretch, deep breathe, or grab a healthy snack. Don’t use social media during the break as it can easily suck up hours. There are tons of free apps available based on this technique, you can download any of them.
4. Ask Questions
This one simple tip will save you so much time. Whether it’s a tough math problem or a physics concept you don’t understand, get help. Know that your teachers will be more than willing to help you with a topic. If you can’t ask your teacher, ask a friend or search for the explanation on YouTube. Research shows that simple repetition – rote learning – is ineffective if used alone. However, practicing retrieval through recalling information and creating concept maps promotes meaningful learning.
5. Health is wealth
Never negate long term health effects for short term goals. While your brain is just 2% of your body weight, it accounts for 20% of your total energy requirements. Your brain won’t work at its 100% if your body isn’t healthy. Have you tried studying while sick? How well were you able to concentrate? It probably felt impossible. Taking care of your health goes a long way in boosting productivity. Drink water more than coffee, eat a balanced diet instead of packaged snacks, get enough sleep, and exercise at least 3 days a week. Do meditation daily, even if only for 5 minutes. Evidence suggests that adopting a mindfulness practice reduces stress and anxiety in students, even if practiced only once per week.