The key to being a successful student is not working harder, it’s working smarter. That means finding ways to be productive and efficient – getting the most work done in the shortest amount of time. Procrastination and disorganization can derail the best laid plans for success. Finding ways to be a more productive student can get you on the road to success.
You can learn to become more productive by making small changes to your routine. Here are a few steps you can take to become a more productive student:
Pay Attention in Class
You are sitting in class for an hour or two hours to learn the material. Don’t waste that time by daydreaming or doodling in your notebook. You’ll only have to make up that time with independent study later.
Paying attention in class also helps you to learn the material better so you don’t have to study as hard later. Listening to lectures, actively taking notes, and participating in class discussions can help you to process and learn the information more quickly, helping you to save time when you have to study for exams later.
There are many tools to help you get organized and stay that way. Apps for your smart phone can help you create to-do lists, manage schedules, and oversee project management. Online programs help you to store documents and access data.
Figure out a system that works for you to keep track of your schedule, deadlines for important projects, tasks that you need to do, and more. Getting organized will ensure that you are spending the time you have on getting work done rather than figuring out what you need to do. I highly recommend you to read the post about MindMap, it helps be more efficient and organized.
Keep a Schedule
When you schedule your time, you are more likely to perform the task at hand. For example, if you write down that you will study from 2 to 5 p.m., you are more likely to actually study from 2 to 5 p.m. If, on the other hand, you don’t schedule your time, you are more likely to flit from distraction to distraction, always “meaning to” get to that project that is due but simply running out the clock instead.
When you set your schedule, remember no to overdo it. Have realistic expectations about how long a task will take so you don’t schedule yourself to do too much in too little time. Remember to also maintain a balance. You need to set aside time for play as well as work so you don’t burn out and you can stay energized and focused when it’s time to work.
Nowadays, we do everything on our computers: Write papers, do research, chat with classmates, connect with friends. It’s easy to open your Web browser to check your e-mail and then lose 30 minutes stopping by Facebook, scanning Reddit, or browsing the latest on Pinterest. In fact, 30 minutes may be a generous estimate!
Keep your browser closed when you sit down to study or to write a paper, and you will stay focused on the task at hand. If you have to open your browser for research, or if you just don’t have the discipline to stay off Facebook, there are programs that will block specified sites during a certain window of time to help you stay productive.
Take Care of Yourself
When you are exhausted from lack of sleep, you can’t focus, and you certainly can’t do good work. The same is true when your belly is rumbling from hunger or is queasy from that fast-food lunch you just ate.
Taking care of yourself by eating a good diet, sleeping enough each night, and getting regular exercise is key to your productivity. When you ensure that your basic needs are met, you are better able to concentrate for optimal performance. Finding ways to minimize stress is also key to taking care of yourself and becoming more productive.
You don’t have to chart every second of your day on color-coded spreadsheets in order to be a more productive student. Simply learning smart habits like getting organized, making the most of class time through participation, setting a schedule and taking good care of yourself can go a long way to becoming more productive.