The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you maintain consistency in studies. An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through high school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your studying in if you don’t know how to study smarter.
Do you struggle with consistency in studies? Did you start studying with high energy but then found yourself starting to fizzle out after a week? You’re not alone.
Many people face challenges when it comes to maintaining consistency in studies. That’s why I’ve created this simple process to help you create the habit and stick with it.
1- MAKE THE TASK UTTERLY SIMPLE
If the task that you have set for yourself is already big, you would never get the courage to start it. So the trick to doing something when you are even having a bad day is to keep it so simple that it becomes ridiculously easy to perform that habit every day just like playing. This can be done by breaking the task into very small chunks. This will help you to get small accomplishments every day which will result in goal achievements in no time.
2- CREATE A PLAN AND PUT IT ON A CALENDAR
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail, as the old adage goes.
Preparation is the key to successful studying. When you plan what you are going to do, studying becomes much easier. The software is easier to develop when you create a plan for what you are building. Books are easier to write when you spend the time doing the layout first along with the points you are going to make. The same principle applies to learning.
One of the impactful changes I made in my life is utilizing Google Calendar. In the beginning, I worried about the constraints of a calendar. Yet I persisted in using it to plan small events at first. Then, I started to plan when I would work out. Then it was for reminding me to go to meetings with people.
Now it has come full circle, to the point where I actually feel liberated by the sheer amount of planning I do. When someone asks me if I am free this weekend, I can check my calendar and know for sure. The mental capacity that it has freed up has been staggering.
Planning your day on a calendar is the first step to creating a study routine. This may sound easy enough, but there are still some important tips for beginners I recommend:
3- START WITH THE MOST DIFFICULT SUBJECT FIRST
I always use this strategy to maintain consistency in studies. As your most difficult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should start with it first. Once you’ve completed the most difficult work, it will be much easier to complete the rest of your work. Believe it or not, starting with the most difficult subject will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions, and your academic performance.
4- RUTHLESSLY CUT DISTRACTION AND EMBRACE DEEP WORK
Nowadays, the world is hyper-connected. Media has now become 24 hours with every site trying their best to hog your attention. What you pay attention to decides where you are going in life.
With so many distractions, we need to become better at separating ourselves from them. My solution for this is simple. Embrace what has now become known as the low-information diet.
This includes cultivating and embracing ignorance around information that is not useful to you. For example, news media rarely has something to say that I find useful to my own life. So I made the decision to not keep up on the news and current affairs (including sports). Within five days of doing so, I found myself getting less anxious and enjoying more free time. If you think that you are suffering from information burden. That’s why if you need consistency in studies, you may follow my methods. The following steps could be helpful.
5- MAKE SURE YOU’RE NOT DISTRACTED WHILE YOU’RE STUDYING
Everyone gets distracted by something. Maybe it’s the TV. Or maybe it’s your family. Or maybe it’s just too quite. Some people actually study better with a little background noise. When you’re distracted while studying you lose your train of thought and are unable to focus — both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying find a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. For some people this is a quiet cubical in the recesses of the library. For others is in a common area where there is a little background noise.
Establishing a great study routine is not just good for students; it is also the perfect way for working adults to rev up their careers. In 2013, I set a goal of teaching myself to code and getting a coding job. I have no doubt that learning the skills involved with studying is what helped me succeed. When creating a study plan, we must first start planning when we are going to study. A plan forces us to recognize and respect our time. Next, create a study habit through rewards that teach our bodies to look forward to studying. Finally, beat distraction by consuming a low-information diet and embracing deep work. This allows us to smash through plateaus more easily.