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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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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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