Have you ever felt so frustrated while studying? Do you catch yourself drifting off in the middle of your schoolwork? If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
According to recent surveys, the average attention span is only eight seconds. What’s more, statistics from My Medium state that readers begin trailing off if the piece they’re reading takes more than four minutes to finish.
That said, there are easy and effective ways to “hack” your study habits. By following these tried and tested tips, you can develop sustainable self-discipline that will have you studying more efficiently.
1. Choose a study time when you feel the most alert
For starters, it helps to carve out a specific time for studying. This doesn’t mean randomly picking a time in the day. Rather, you need to identify the time of the day when you feel the most mentally alert and focused. As discussed in Dr. Micheal Breus’ book on chronotypes, some people are genetically predisposed to perform better at different hours of the day.
Depending on your chronotype, this may be early in the day or late at night. However, since most classes are scheduled around the 9-5 timetable, what you can do is find a happy medium. You can opt to set your study time at 5pm, 8pm, or even 10pm. What’s important is that you stick to that time. This way, you can maximize your focus while also conditioning yourself to be more receptive to learning during this hour.
2. Remove distractions around you
It may be tempting to do other things during the time you’ve allotted for studying, and this only gets harder to resist if these distractions are too easy to reach. Thus, if you have any recreational devices that could catch your attention, keep it far away from your designated study area. If possible, try keeping your gadgets out of sight completely.
Researchers from the University of Chicago have found that the simple presence of a smartphone can drastically reduce the cognitive ability and lead to distraction. So, if you use your gadgets for brain breaks, then keep them tucked away until then.
3. Treat studying like a habit
Inevitably, there will be times when you really just don’t want to study. During these moments it’s important to recognize that it’s not that you can’t study, but that you won’t. As shared by author Peter Hollins on the science of self-discipline, you need to be able to break free from excuses in order to successfully reach your goals. One way that he suggests is to begin forming healthy habits that specifically strengthen resolve.
In this case, you can treat the whole act of studying as a habit. From you getting up, to you choosing a soothing song to play, to finally cracking open those books. When your body and mind get into the rhythm of this habit, you’re less likely to feel lazy or unmotivated as it now feels familiar and uplifting.
4. Use Tools That Make it Easier for You to Get Work Done
Believed to boost productivity and time management, powerful productivity tools can help keep you on track. For example, while applications like Brave Browser can help block distracting ads during research, Todoist can help you create lists and timed reminders. By making use of these apps, you can optimize your study time without having to constantly check the clock, your daily planner, or your phone.
These tools can even help you before and after your study session by reminding you of when to start, when to take a mental breather, and when to call it a night. This way, you get your work done without burning out or undercutting your study time.
Developing self-discipline is an asset that will not only serve you well as a student but also in your personal and professional life.
By taking baby steps and tailoring a method that helps build self-discipline for your unique circumstances, you are more likely to harness it easily and benefit from it in the long run.