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6 Techniques to Study Effectively

6 Techniques to Study Effectively

Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. It is without doubt that we all have to study, and many of us never stop. However, there are techniques that are pivotal to know in order to study effectively and properly. These techniques could be the deciding factor as to whether we pass or fail. These 6 techniques to study effectively are extremely practical and will aid you in your studies.

Note Making

In order to study, a person is required to understand what he or she is learning. A great way of understanding/learning is by making notes of the content you are reading. Note making comprises of linear notes, diagrams, charts, and so forth. The key to any note making is that you make points of the work you understand and not simply rewriting everything you read. An exceptional note making style is using summaries. Summaries are a written record of all the important points in a short and concise version. They’re excellent for using when an exam is fast approaching.

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Practice

Studying is meant to enable you to apply your learned knowledge to real life situations. If you’re in the accounting field, the best way to study is by practicing with examples and questions. Answering questions and past year exam papers equips you with knowledge on what to expect from an exam. It’s important that you have all the necessary tools at your disposal, such as a calculator so you don’t waste time on simple equations.

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Study Environment and Room temperature

Often enough, we study in a place that we feel comfortable in, but this has both pros and cons. Make sure that the room you’re studying in is not too cold or too warm. A cold room will make you feel uneasy whereas an overly warm room will make you feel lethargic and lazy. Be sure to have a proper ventilation system or simply open up a window. Choose a room/place that you’re well accustomed to, a place you feel comfortable in with good lighting.

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Distractions and Interruptions

You may need to decipher between a distraction and an interruption. A distraction is something like your computer or Facebook whereas an interruption is something like a phone ringing or a noisy person. Keep all distractions away from yourself while you’re studying, and choose a time when you’re alone or it’s quiet enough for you to study. It takes a lot of concentration to study properly, and there’s no guarantee that you can focus again once your train of thought is disturbed.

Goal Setting

In order to make progress with your studies, it’s great if you set mini goals or objectives for yourself. Set out an allocated amount of work you want to complete for a day and make sure you do it. Every time you accomplish a mini goal, reward yourself with some free time. This will assure that you’re properly motivated and certainly won’t suffer from a burn out from over-studying.

Sleep, Diet and Supplements

To end this post, I’d like to emphasize that a healthy routine is important to your success with studying. Your body needs to brace itself for intense studying, which is why you should get at least 7 hours of sleep, keeping in mind that the time you get to bed before 12 counts the most. Have a proper diet, including not living off energy drinks or takeout. A proper diet consists of 3 to 5 meals a day with average portions and food that is lean and clean. In order to keep up your strength and mental vitality, you could try out a multi-vitamin, provided that you check with your GP first. The greatest obstacle to face is having a balanced lifestyle, as studying is very time and energy consuming, which is why an overall healthy lifestyle is highly recommended.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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