nounA thing that motivates or encourages someone to do something.
One of my most used tips for getting anything done, is giving myself incentives. I am a terrible procrastinator, so while I certainly have long term goals, they don’t really make me get my butt into gear and do things. I work better with short term incentives and (near) immediate gratification. Let me give you an example:
The other day my mum asked me to run to the shop for her and get her some cream cheese. I didn’t really want to, because I’d just sat down after getting home from work. However, I would likely say yes, because I know it would make my mum happy. But at that moment, keeping my butt in the chair seemed more appealing, so I would likely postpone it until she absolutely needed it. Then she told me “I need it for a cake I’m making tonight, and if you go to the shop for me I’ll make some extra cake for you,” and in 0.3 seconds I was out of the chair and in the car on my way.
As soon as I sensed a reward shortly coming my way, I was much more inclined to get the task done, because that meant I could get the reward. That’s how most of us operate, and while much can (and have) be said about that, being away of as much as helped me work more efficiently.
I am a big fan of the study tip “Give yourself a reward”, be it by placing gummy bears on the pages of your textbooks, or scheduling your breaks and having snacks available. As important as it is to have long term goals, which I do, I know I’m more likely to get stuff done if there is something in it for me in the short run.
So after this PSA on my favourite study tip, here are a few incentive suggestions:
Basically it can be whatever you want. Literally, make it what you want to be doing that moment. If you really want to watch my newest youtube video (sorry not sorry for the shameless self promo), but have to study, tell yourself that “After I study for 20 minutes, I’ll watch that, then go back to studying,”
I hope that this was useful to some of you, and that it might help you get something done when you’re going back to school this year!
“Stock Photo” credit: Death to the Stock Photo (They are really awesome and you should all check them out!)
This will be the last study tip post of 2014, and therefore I wanted to make it something that I think is very important, and that I have definitely learnt during this term. I have never studies as hard as I have done during this term, or had as much to do, and from that experience I learnt that to keep that momentum going, you’re going to have to slow down, and take some breaks.
There are definitely different kinds of breaks, and they are appropriate at different times.
The short break, of just a few minutes, is good when you’ve been studying for maybe half an hour, and just need a couple of minutes to relax, check your phone, refill your water bottle, make some tea or get yourself a snack. When it comes to these kind of breaks I think it’s very important to be structured. Of course, if you’re in the middle of something, don’t stop just because you feel like you should have a break. Stop when you’ve worked for a decent amount of time and when you’ve reached a point where it’s convenient to stop. However, it might be a good idea to put up a “schedule” of approximately how long you plan to work for before taking a break. Here’s a post I did over on my studyblr on these kind of breaks, and here is a list over fun things to do in these breaks.
The rest of the evening off is good when you’ve covered everything you wanted to cover that day, and you know that you can go without doing anything more that day. When I do this, I usually have about an hour before I’m heading to bed, so I like to maybe take a shower or watch an episode of my favourite snow, having an evening snack or just hanging out with family. However, you should make sure that this doesn’t turn into you getting to bed late, which is easily the case if you’re watching a tv show.
A day / A few days off I usually limit to when I’ve finished a bigger project, and I haven’t got anything looming in the immediate future. These are so nice and are usually a good time for catching up with friends that you’ve been too busy to see, or get to non-school projects that you’ve been wanting to start. Just make sure that you set a number of days to take off, and then get yourself back into good routines when those days have passed. This is the hard part.
And that was it for the last study tip post of 2014! I’ll have a bit of a 2015 announcement post up tomorrow, and on Saturday there will be a walkthrough type explanation post thingie on my Bullet Journal for 2015!
I hope you all have a marvellous New Year’s Eve, and I’ll see you next year!
This post was supposed to go up last Wednesday, but I completely forgot about the whole thing. Not like I usually do, where I remember late in the evening and have to stay up to write it. No, this time I didn’t remember until Saturday. So I’m sorry about that, and I hope you survived. But let’s get on with it.
We all know that sleeping is important. I have always known this, but it wasn’t until this year that I really realised the meaning of this. The last years I’ve been going to bed around midnight, and then getting up at 6:15. I was doing pretty well, but I was always tired. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m still always tired, but I can still say that there has been an improvement.
This year I realised that I needed to change things. I started getting ready for bed at 9 pm and actually shutting off my lights at 10 pm. This gave me more than enough time to get ready, as well as wind down before I actually had to go to sleep. This helped me fall asleep so much quicker than I used to.
I said that I’m still tired, and that is true. I’ll probably always be tired. But I still feel much better than I used to, and I have much more energy to spend on things like studying. My grades have also gone up and I’ve gotten way more effective when I work. I won’t say that this is entirely due to the increased sleep, but I think it definitely plays a role.
My tip to you, is therefore to take care of yourself. Budget your time so that you sleep doesn’t suffer because you have more stuff to do. Try getting more effective instead of working later in the evening.
Now I’m curious. When do you guys go to bed/get up?
So the year is winding down and the rest of these study tips posts aren’t going to be study tips per say, but rather posts about the self care side of getting good grades. I’ve never really considered this before this semester, as I have never been properly busy, but after this semester, I definitely get it. So today we are getting started with “Taking care of yourself”.
The above photo is from my little self care session today, and that in itself goes to show that self care doesn’t have to be fancy or difficult. Whenever I would hear self care earlier I would think of spa nights. Well, as much as I would love that, it’s not really my thing. So for me, a night of self care included a hot shower, putting on actual pyjamas instead of just sweats, making hot chocolate and spending the evening doing what I wanted the most, which happened to be playing Skyrim.
I have learnt over the course of this semester that self care is important to prevent burnout. We need to take care of ourselves to keep both motivation, discipline and productivity up, and all those things are important to get the results that we want.
While self care can be taking an evening to yourself, it could also be going out with friends, or staying in with them. Whatever you prefer.
The key to self care is to listen to yourself. As an introvert, going out and partying rather stresses me, while I have several friends who are never more at ease than when they’re jumping up and down in the middle of a crowd. It is individual, and that is important to remember, especially as I think a lot of people have the image that I did; Spa night. While that might be perfect for some people, others might despise it. You do you, that’s the short answer.
While doing like me and taking an entire night, or several, to self care might be good, it is also important to remember to take care of yourself while you’re working. This included drinking tea/coffee, getting enough water, eating enough, taking any necessary medication and getting enough sleep.
And on that note, I will leave you hanging until next Wednesday, where the next topic will be sleep.
But first, let me know, what do you do for self care?
Since I started changing my school routine and entered the studyblr community I have found that much of my increased productivity comes from having good routines. What also works, although only in the short run, is just being very busy. However, in the long run that education mostly is, routines or habits are often a better bet.
One of the first steps I took towards starting a routine was printing out this. It is a concept called “Don’t Break the Chain”, that you can read about here and learn about here. I don’t rely as heavily on this anymore, but is still motivating. Because of this I’d say that this might be more for the newbies (not said in a negative sense), the people just starting out in their quest to establish a good habit.
Basically you set a goal, for me this was one hour of schoolwork, and then for every day you do this, you cross off. Eventually you’ll get such a long streak that you won’t want to break it.
When you have started to more get into the habit, and it has actually become a habit, you can start maximizing the efficiency of it. Find out when you work the best and when you’re more productive, so that even if you only study for an hour a day, at least you’ll get maximum productivity out of that hour.
For some, setting up a schedule of when they are doing different things or studying different subjects are the way to go about this, for some it isn’t. This will also depend on how you school schedule is. If you have one class now and one then, and you live on campus, you will to a greater degree have the ability to go home between classes and crank out a good few hours of studying. For people like me, who are basically forced to stay at school from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm every day from Monday to Friday, this is not as easy. So I work around it.
Lists, like I have talked about before and will talk about again, will also be helpful in keeping up with your routine. If you have a goal of studying one hour of Chemistry every day, put it on your to-do list, every single day. Then when you complete it, you will have the satisfaction of crossing it off.
Also, on a final note, what I think is the most important about routines is that they should be strict enough that you don’t break them just because you feel like it, but at the same time flexible enough that it doesn’t really matter if you have to break it. Again, my Don’t Break the Chain calendar is an example of this. I have studied every single day since 14th of September, except on the 1st of November. That weekend I was staying with my cousin in another city, and that was the only full day I had with her. I wasn’t about to spend that studying.
So just remember that even though routines are good, sometimes you need a break for whatever reason.
And now I’m interested. What are your routines like? And I mean any kind of routine. Morning routine, study routine, after school routine. Tell me, I’d love to know!
Let me just say that I have strong feelings for this particular study tip. You see, until just over a year ago, it was the only thing I did to study. Of course, i read the material, but after that it was all quizzing. And I got the best grades at my school.
So quizzing. What do I mean by that? Well, there are several ways to do it. What I did was that I’d read through the material, and then my mum would ask me questions about everything, and I mean everything, that was covered in those pages. We’d discuss around my answers and she would correct me where I was wrong.
However, you can also do this if you don’t have a mum that’s as patient as mine (because seriously, we’re talking every test in every subject, for 11 years. Bloody hell). To this day I quiz myself in preparation for my tests, even though my mum can’t help me anymore. The main thing I use, is Quizlet.
Here you can create flashcards, and then you can either just practice the flashcards, you can have the website make them into a test, or you can have it, you guesses it, quiz you in them. I think this is super useful for subjects like History where I need to remember dates, or for Chemistry and Economics when I need to memorise definitions. You could probably also use it for formulas though.
So yeah, I’d definitely recommend quizzing, whether you get an actual person to quiz you, or just use a website like Quizlet.
If there is something that I have learnt this week, it is that being ahead is never bad. Rather, it is very very good. This week has been absolutely insane this far, and if I hadn’t been ahead it would have been even worse.
So really, if you are looking to improve your studying, the best tip I can give you is to get ahead. Figure out when your tests/exams/stuff is due and make a plan for how you are going to get there. If you know in advance, it is easier to adapt as well, as pushing things one day then won’t make you deliver late.
To help you get organised when it comes to this, creating a study schedule / to-do list might be good idea. Grab a calendar (or just write a list) and figure out what you’re going to do each day. Then just work your way through it. Try getting through what you set up, or even get ahead, but don’t stress it. Also, if you finish what you’d planned for that specific day, get started on the next one if you’re still feeling up for it.
This is possibly the most cliché tip ever, but it honestly work so well, and if everyone were using it and was able to beat procrastination for long enough to do this, I think everyone would be less stressed.
So how are you guys doing? Are your exams coming up, and if you, have you already gotten to work on them? Let me know!