Studying. Ugh. President’s Day weekend is over, and spring break is a loooong month away. Needless to say, my motivation is definitely not at its peak. Lately I’ve really been trying to find anything and everything to motivate me to get my work done and done WELL. Here are some of my go-to’s to doing homework and studying effectively. I can’t promise your grades will rise dramatically, but I can promise you will feel a difference in your work ethic:
- Stop trying to make your notes so aesthetically pleasing. You know those pictures that always appear on VSCO? The ones where someone took biology notes in adorable handwriting, complete with five different highlighter colors and three different bubbly fonts? They’re so cute! But unless you’re a master calligrapher, or you have all the free time in the world, this is such an ineffective way to take notes to study from. I’m a strong believer that rewriting your notes will help you memorize the content better, but dedicating all your time to making your notes as pretty as possible is not worth it. You’ll save so much time by sticking to your natural handwriting, and you’ll be able to spend that saved time reading over those notes.
- Make note cards. Again, I believe that rewriting your notes will never do you wrong. Obviously for subjects like math, it’s not always logical to make note cards since a lot of the subject is problem solving. However, for biology, world language, and social studies, note cards are so helpful. Not only are you benefiting from rewriting the notes again, but you’re also compiling your notes into a handy, accessible format.
- Be in a rush. Often we stress about not having enough time to study or do homework, but sometimes this rush is good. By not having time to waste, you have more motivation and focus, making you so much more productive. Join a sport (spring sports are just around the corner!), look for a job, or volunteer. Not only are you exposing yourself to something that may turn out to be your passion, but you are also simultaneously increasing your productivity.
- Find a place where you can focus. For me, that place is in my backyard. Sadly, the weather in Pennsylvania isn’t always ideal for backyard homework sessions, so I usually end up doing my homework on my living room couch. I’ve never been the person who sits at a desk or a library while doing homework. I need comfort to focus, but others need that scholarly atmosphere to stay concentrated. Find wherever works for you. Make it a place you can bare to spend a few hours in, but not one you’ll be distracted in. Even if you’ve had the same study place for years, don’t be afraid to switch it up if you feel like your chosen place is not as effective as it should be.
- Listen to productive music. As a person who can’t listen to certain songs without feeling the intensity of the emotion they carry, I can confidently say that these heartfelt songs won’t help you focus. I literally search “homework music” on Spotify and alternate between the playlists that pop up. The Lumineers are one of my go-to’s when I need good music that helps me stay focused.
- Get away from your phone. I’m terrible at this. I check my phone every ten minutes, using the excuse that our minds need breaks to be able to focus better. While breaks are necessary, we really don’t need them every five minutes. If we can stay relatively focused through 50 minute class periods, we should be able to make it through at least a half hour of solid focus at home before we take breaks. Put your phone on “do not disturb” and leave it on the other side of your work area. You’ll still hear your music, but you won’t be distracted by the notifications. Side story: Since I’m terrible at controlling these breaks, I decided to log out of my finsta for a bit. For those who don’t know, a finsta is an Instagram account in which your posts can be more “real”. It’s almost like a public diary where you can post whatever you feel like. I used to be addicted and would post at least once a day, so I decided I needed a break from the account to refocus. I’ve kept myself logged out for about a week now, and I really do think it’s helping. I used to spend at least a half hour per day on that account alone, so not having it gives me extra time to study. I’m a huge fan of backing up from Instagram once in a while. You don’t have to permanently delete all your social media accounts, but a break is sometimes so necessary to refocus yourself on your real-life priorities.
I truly hope these help!. Everyone studies differently, so the most important tip I can offer is to do what works for you! Finding that motivation is hard, but by knowing your work ethic is solid, hopefully you’ll be able to get through these mid-year blues.