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5 Tips to Improve Your Study Habits

5 Tips to Improve Your Study Habits

Whether you’re having trouble because your subject is difficult, time consuming or – let’s be honest – boring we have some tips here that can help you improve your studying habits. Keep reading for 5 ways you can study smarter from Kristopher Quaioit over at Bright Brain Learning:

Feel like you’re working hard but still can’t reach your study goals? Here are some quick tips to help you make the most out of study time.

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1. Study with a partner or in groups, and peer teach.

Rather than living in a cave with your nose in the books all day, grab a friend from your class and study with them. Group studying helps you to engage and process the information more deeply. Of course, it means more than just carpooling to the library and studying with your headphones on. Have fun with it. Play charades guessing the characters of The Great Gatsby. Draw a picture of your modern interpretation of the Boston Tea Party. Race to solve an algebra problem first and discuss it afterwards. You can also divide the class topics and take turns teaching them as creatively as you like. Sometimes the best way to learn something is to teach it, even if you haven’t mastered it yet. Actively engaging the information with someone else not only helps you to learn, but makes studying more enjoyable. Just avoid turning your sessions into social hour.

2. Step into your teacher’s shoes.

Ask yourself “If I am the teacher, what would I put on the test?” You have probably experienced a few of your teacher’s tests and quizzes by now. Learn from them for the next test. The structure is usually the same, and teachers have specific types of information that they want you to learn. Remember, teachers don’t expect you to memorize every single detail, just the ones they feel is important. It’s your job to figure out what that is. And not everything is important. Don’t be that student who turns a stack of notes into a highlighter coloring book. If in doubt, by all means, ask your teacher.

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3. Paint bigger pictures.

Find ways to connect what you are learning to real life or to other related concepts. It’s harder to remember each piece of a puzzle individually than it is to recall the completed picture. Find ways to relate pieces of information to each other and cluster them.Try this exercise: memorize these numbers in order.6…….2…….9…….1…….3…….8…….4…….0…….5

Now try to memorize these numbers 629….138….405

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The bottom is easier right? It is the same order of numbers, but put into the context of bigger numbers. Creating context gives information meaning and also turns learning into an experience rather than simple absorption.

4. Feed your brain.

A hungry brain is an ineffective one. Those Snickers commercials were not kidding. Your brain needs the proper nutrients to keep it going. Because of this, what you eat and drink also play a huge role in how sharp your brain is. Healthy foods provide nutrients to your brain cells to keep them energized; junk foods increase fatigue and tend to lead to the infamous food coma. So ditch the bag of fried potato chips for a healthy snack bar and a yogurt.Don’t forget the H20. Hydration is equally important. Your brain cells need water to function properly and increase their efficiency. Staying hydrated is known to combat anxiety and increase short-term and long-term memory function.

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No need to break your piggy bank to buy that bottle of high-end water. You can turn any bottle of H20 into “Smart Water” by simply drinking it.

5. Take breaks.

Your brain is like a muscle. It needs exercise to make it stronger, but it can also tire if you overwork it. Imagine that each minute of studying is a push-up and you have to complete 100. If you try to do them all at once, you’ll fatigue to the point where you can’t continue. Essentially you burn out and, despite how hard you try to push, you can’t get your chest off the ground. Your brain is no different. You can try to pound the information in after studying non-stop for an hour, but learn little. On the contrary, if you divide the 100 push-ups into 10 sets, taking a 2-minute break in between, completing 100 is not that bad. If you divide studying into 15-30 minute blocks with quick breaks in between, your brain will feel refreshed, grateful and ready for the next challenge you throw at it.

 5 Tips to Study Smarter | Bright Brain Learning

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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