Studying at home has its perks: it’s a comfortable, low-pressure environment. However, there are a few reasons it can be difficult to study at home; with so many distractions, it’s easy to procrastinate—when you do start, it’s easy to get off track.
At home, procrastination and distraction can prevent you from accomplishing what you need to get done. Watching TV, taking a nap, scrolling through social media, or other activities (maybe even cleaning your room!), are big productivity killers that take you away from your goal of studying for or completing that assignment.
Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to help you be more productive. Here are 8 ways to help you stay focused and get more done when studying at home.
1. Try Active Studying
Active studying is as simple as asking questions before, during, and after study time. Not only does this help to give your study session direction, but it also helps keep you on track and reflect on how to improve for your next study session!
Questions to ask yourself before you study:
What am I about to learn?
What do I already know about this subject?
Questions to ask yourself while you study:
How does this information fit into a bigger picture?
Do I understand what I have just read?
Can I paraphrase it?
Are there any key words or ideas that I need to write down? Why are these words and ideas important?
Questions to ask yourself after you study:
What can I take away from this study session?
What do I need to review or learn next time?
2. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Students of all ages should get at least eight hours of sleep every school night. It’s the best way to ensure that the brain is refreshed and ready to process all of the information learned during the day. It may be tempting to stay up late to cram, but it’s more beneficial to get enough rest.
A full night’s sleep is especially important the night before a test—a good night’s sleep makes you more alert and improves memory for test material, leading to better test results.
3. Study At The Right Time
Every student has his or her own daily highs and lows. Some people are night owls while some people prefer the morning. Take advantage of the time of the day you feel most productive, and don’t try to force yourself to study when your brainpower isn’t at its peak. Try to study when you are most alert, so you are able to process and retain the information that you are studying.
4. Have A Designated Study Area
Whether it’s the kitchen table or the desk in your bedroom, create an area to study that is a designated study zone. Try to reserve your bed for sleeping and avoid studying in it (it can be all too easy to take a nap!). Most importantly, keep your study space clean and organized so you can put more time into studying (and less trying to find a pen that works).
5. Eat Properly
Don’t forget to eat! Your body (and your brain) needs fuel to help stay in top form. Plus, it’s difficult to focus when your stomach is growling. Have healthy snacks while you study, but make sure they’re prepared in advance so you don’t spend too much time away from your work. More time away means more opportunity to be distracted!
6. Get Chores Out Of The Way
Take care of daily chores before starting your study session to avoid interruption, or being distracted by an unfinished to-do list. Getting chores out of the way makes it much easier to focus on the task at hand. Plus, you can look forward to relaxing when your study time is done rather than dreading the chores that need to be completed.
7. Create A Timetable
Creating a timetable helps organize your time, schedules your breaks, and is especially useful when you have multiple subjects to study. Write your schedule down so you can remember it and refer to it often. Set reasonable limits for how much time you spend studying each day, and break your study session up into manageable chunks of time.
8. Use A Timer
Use a timer to help keep track of time and to make sure you stick to the timetable you created. Setting a timer helps keeps you focused on the task at hand, committed to working until the timer goes off, and helps keep you on track to cover all the material you need to. Above all else, it helps keep your break time effective and guilt-free (because you’ve earned it!).