Today’s post is a guest post by Melanie of Unicorners.co, and is perfect for students currently going through final exams (like me!) or students planning to take summer courses. I am so excited to have her featured on my blog, and I know you will love this post! 🙂
We all have them: days where we feel lazy and don’t want to do anything but to lay in bed and eat. If you feel like you are struggling daily to motivate yourself and get things done then this post might be exactly for you! I have tried so many different things to improve my productivity as a student. Now I want to share what has worked best for me. These are my top 5 tips on how to become more productive as a student.
1) Plan your day, week, and month
I can’t stress this one enough. It is my number one tip that I always share with people who feel sluggish and don’t really feel like doing anything. People tend to be very visual, and writing down all the tasks for the day seems to be very effective.
But don’t just plan the next day. Try to divide your workload into days or weeks. When seeing all the tasks you have to get done in a week you won’t feel like procrastinating that much because you know that each task that stays undone will fill the next day with even more tasks you don’t really want to do. This helped me to sit down and check things off the list step by step. It is a wonderful feeling when you look at the to-do list in the evening and everything is crossed out.
2) Set a timer
I wish I would have known that tip at the beginning of my studies because I struggled a lot to find a way to motivate myself. The problem was, that I sat on my desk the whole day literally just looking at all the notes in front of me. At the end of the day, I didn’t get a lot of things done but felt exhausted because I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, even though I studied a lot. If you just give yourself the span of a whole day you will never be as concentrated as if you set a timer and have a good break afterward.
I recommend trying the Pomodoro technique, but you can also just set the timer for 60 minutes. Turn off all devices, get everything off your desk and JUST STUDY. When the alarm goes off, get up and do something completely different. Allow yourself to do anything you really like in that short break. I like to set a timer for 60 minutes to study and then take 20 minutes to have a break. I get so much more done in a day now that I use this technique. I even feel like I enjoy studying because it is very intense and productive but I also have time to do whatever I feel like doing during the breaks.
3) Have something to look forward to
My days have become so much more productive when I started planning something for each evening. This might be going to your favorite café and eating that delicious piece of red velvet cake, or watching the new episode of your favorite tv show. I get so excited and work faster to be able to do whatever I want to do in the evening. Sometimes I even jump out of bed in the mornings and want to start as soon as possible because I just can’t wait to be finished with my work.
The tricky part is, that you have to be really strict and you have to have a lot of self-discipline. Otherwise, you won’t wait until the evening or until you finished that boring assignment. Having something to look forward to each day as a kind of reward, you will find it a lot easier to study hard.
4) The biggest workload comes first
This one is very important as well. I like to start with the easier tasks because it feels good to cross off things on the to-do list. But actually, it doesn’t do you any good, because after all the easy tasks you will feel tired and won’t feel like doing the really big and annoying task. Often we just procrastinate and leave it for the next day.
However, by starting with the biggest workload first, you won’t have that problem anymore. Your mind is the sharpest a few minutes after waking up. Using it for the biggest task will make it a lot easier to finish it fast. All the little tasks that come after will be done soon and you will feel satisfied in the evening.
5) Have a goal in your mind
This is not comparable to number 3 of this list. Number 3 is important for your everyday motivation. But – it can fail you on those days that you really want to buy a ticket, get on a plane and leave this country forever. That’s when this tip comes into play: have a bigger goal in your mind. This might be your dream job that you can only do if you finish your studies, or maybe the car you’ve been longing to buy but can’t afford if you don’t get a well-paying job after your graduation. This might even be the accomplishment of finishing your studies with a magna cum laude. Whatever it is, keep that in mind. If you are, like me, a very visual person, make a vision board. You can find a lot of examples online but the idea of a vision board is, to print pictures of your goals; your dream house, a job, a bag you want to buy, vacation etc. You can draw, pin and decorate whatever and however you like it. Put the vision board in front of your desk and look at it every day.
This helps me to do whatever it takes to get to my goals.
I hope my 5 tips on how to become more productive as a student have helped you! Tell me your favorite tip, as I like to get in touch with my readers.
Melanie is 23 years old, a half Colombian and half Dutch girl living in Switzerland. She applied to a University in Amsterdam where she will start her Bachelors in International Business Administration in September 2017. With her blog she likes to share her journey of moving abroad, and all her tips and tricks on how to study smarter, not harder. www.unicorners.co