Study productively with these tips


graphic by Jocelyn Wang


  1. Before you start studying, get organized. Make a to-do list and organize your tasks in order of priority. When ordering your tasks, first do anything that takes less than five minutes. Next, try to split up large projects into smaller tasks since this makes them feel more doable. Getting everything organized will make your life so much easier and there’s nothing more satisfying than checking off completed tasks.
  2. Put your phone away so that you’re not tempted to look at it. If you can, turn it off and put it in another room. Apps such as Forest and Tide also provide study timers that block you from accessing other apps on your phone and keep you focused. If you must have your phone to listen to music or wait for a call, make sure that it is at least somewhere far from you so you have to make an effort to look at it. Or, try timelapsing yourself so that you can look back on your progress later.
  3. If you’re having trouble getting started, give yourself a small goal: tell yourself you will study for five minutes. If that seems like too much, try three. Stop the task from being intimidating, and you’ll find it easier to get started. After a few minutes, you might find that it’s easier to keep working. If that’s the case, keep going for another ten or twenty minutes. If not, take a break and come back later.
  4. Study in short bursts rather than long chunks. The Pomodoro Method suggests taking a five- minute break every 25 minutes of studying. During your breaks, get a snack, take a walk or stretch. Try to avoid checking your phone, but if you can’t resist, set a timer to make sure your short break doesn’t turn into something much longer.