As a college student, I feel pressure to perfectly balance my schoolwork with my social life. On some days this seems nearly impossible. I either have to bury myself in schoolwork for a majority of the day and miss talking to my mom on the phone or grabbing lunch with my boyfriend, or pull an all-nighter since I hung out with friends. On some days, there seems to be no in-between. But there IS. I present to you 3 of my secrets to getting some serious sh*t done:
That word is terrifying, I know. But even those who claim to live by the seat of their pants need to have some sort of schedule or organizational method in place to keep track of what’s going on. Personally, I use a planner I got at Walmart and carry it with me everywhere (although I am dreaming of buying the Emily Ley planner for next semester). First, at the beginning of every week, I sit down and write out what’s going on with school (assignment due dates, tests, etc) and next jot down already scheduled dates with my boyfriend, lunch with friends, and other social stuff. Based on what I have to do that week and the heaviness of the schedule, I designate a certain time everyday to study. By planning a study hour everyday, you might find that organizing your week becomes a breeze. When friends ask to hang out, you know when you’re free and you know what your schedule can handle.
For example, on Mondays and Wednesdays, I only have class from 2-3:15, so I might study from 10-12 or have a lazy morning and get to work around 4. On the contrary, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I am in class from 11-4:45, so I study on those nights from 7-9, starting a little late so I can have some time to watch TV, talk on the phone, or grab a quick dinner with friends before I have to buckle down. My study hours during the week do not budge. Becoming consistent with your plan and sticking to it makes you feel good and organized in the long run! On the weekends, I am a bit more flexible. I might move around when I do homework depending on what’s on the agenda for the day.
Everyone talks about putting their phones on Do Not Disturb or not looking at notifications for the duration of their study period, but I could not preach more about the importance of this secret. Do Not Disturb doesn’t even do it for me. I have to completely turn my phone off when I’m over my head in assignments because using it is SO. TEMPTING! I recently read a book by Michael Harris called The End of Absence, where Harris explores the pros and cons of connectivity and even tries to unplug for a long spread of time. It’s hard. Really hard. But distractions can (obviously) break your focus and result in you only putting in half of the effort towards an important assignment. Remind those around you about your study hours. Tell Mom not to call on _________ for a certain amount of time. Plus – its always a good feeling to turn on your phone and see what you missed 🙂
When I’m studying or doing homework, I have to snack. But that doesn’t mean I’m finishing off a bag of candy or drinking some crazy energy drink. There are plenty of snacks functioning as “brain food” that nourish your brain and boost its power. Some examples are a bowl of fruit (blueberries are the best brain food), peanut butter spread on top of apple slices or a handful of nuts. Having food ready while you work will prevent you from having to break away.
Well, I hope these three secrets help you improve your study habits! I hope you get some serious sh*t done after planning, unplugging, and having a snack nearby.
Question: What do you do to focus on work? How do you plan and stay organized?
ALSO: Do you have a planner that you love? Recommend it to me, please! I’m desperate for a new one, preferably weekly-view.