It’s Easter and for a lot of you that means lounging on the sofa eating chocolate and crisps. For my family it means going skiing every day and eating oranges and loads of hard-boiled eggs. (not necessarily together). For me, and for most students, at least here in the UK, it means deadlines are fast approaching and whether you have essays due or exams to prepare for, it can be difficult to sit down and study when everyone is sending you snapchats from their holiday breaks. If you can relate, I’ve got you covered. As a professional procrastinator who has made many mistakes, I’ve got some advice to help you avoid making them too.
- Wake up early. Really early.
I try to stick to this, even if it just means leaving a book on my nightstand the night before so that I don’t have to get out of bed to start studying. I set an alarm for 6:30 and start reading without looking at my phone, because if I pick that up first thing, I’m guaranteed to spend close to an hour on YouTube, and suddenly there was no point in waking up early! Why, you might ask, when I can just study a bit later in the day? There’s something in the feeling of having done something early on in the day, and checking the time seeing that you still have the entire day in front of you that keeps the stress at bay.
2. Download Forest – Stay Focused, if you haven’t already.
(not a sponsored post, btw.) Forest is an app that has really saved me the last few years. I would never admit to being addicted to my phone, but it takes up a lot of my time. With Forest, you plant a tree for a set time (from 10 minutes to two hours), and if you leave the app, your tree dies. Once the tree has grown you gain points you can use to buy different tree types, or donate your points so that people living in poverty in Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Tanzania can learn about agriculture and plant a real tree as well as other plants, to help support them and their families so that they can either eat or sell the produce. It’s a win-win situation!
3. Write a list of what you need to do each evening.
If you write the list before you go to bed, you won’t waste hours on just faffing about not really sure about what to do. I use one of those ready-made Microsoft Excel calendars and fill in everything I need to do each day, and try to stick to that.
4. Figure out your best study habits!
It helps me work if I know someone is watching me work, it’s too easy to just open Netflix if I’m the only one who knows. Find out where you’re most productive, if that is in your room, in a cafe of in a library. After two years in uni I’ve figured out that I read the quickest when I’m outside in a park (really unfortunate these days as it is so cold outside), and write best when I’m in a library. Hopefully you have found this out about yourself by now, if not – do not fall into the procrastination trap where you spend ages finding the perfect spot and the perfect mood – no spot will ever be perfect if you’re stressed.
5. Study with a friend!
I stay longer in the library if I go there with a friend, and it also makes the lunch break feel like more of a break. Just make sure that friend has a good work ethic, or works similarly to you. If they are a huge procrastinator, that might drag you down! Bonus: if both of you have the Forest app, you can plant trees together and compete in planting the most trees! (Seriously, I’m not sponsored!).
6. Make the breaks count!
Taking a ten minute walk around your neighbourhood / wherever your library is located will leave you feeling fresh and ready to get back to work. Allow yourself breaks and make them good ones, just make sure you get up from your chair and move around. Twerk. Do a handstand. Preferably in a public library – the embarrassment will distract you from the stress!
(from that one time my flatmate and I took a veeery long study break and went to Somerset to study there instead. Bit extreme?)
These are my best tips and tricks. Thank you for reading!
Do you have any advice you would like to share?
Good luck with your studies!