Studying at home, with so many distractions, can be difficult. Especially if you are going back to college or university as an older student, getting back into a study routine can be a lot of work. Often, making the time to sit down and study is more difficult than the studying itself. If you are taking a course online, studying a new degree, or taking a master’s to boost your career, here are some great tips on how to study at home (without procrastinating).
Studying is hard enough and without a good night’s sleep, you will find it even more difficult to concentrate. A lot of the time, we end up procrastinating when our brains are just too tired to focus on any one thing for too long. Establishing a great bedtime routine can help you to get up in the morning and concentrate on studying. A good sleep, especially the night before an important exam, is essential.
Sleeping better means getting enough sleep, not staying up too late, and cutting out technology before you sleep. You should also cut out technology when you first wake up, but we will get more into that later. Try to aim for around eight hours sleep each night but bear in mind that we are all different. Some people need more than eight hours to feel refreshed, while others can sleep for seven hours and feel raring to go. However tempting it can be to stay up to 4am to study, this is not the best way to get stuff done and will lead you to feeling drained and exhausted the following day.
Create a Study Area
Here is where you can have some fun and let your creativity shine. Creating a designated study area in your house can help train your brain that this part of the house is solely for studying. You should avoid sitting in your bed and studying whenever possible, as this will make it harder to sleep at night and it is not good for your mental health to sit in bed all day, even if you are studying. You can find an inexpensive desk at most homeware shops, or you may even want to head down to your local thrift store, to see if they have one.
Setting up a desk or table space will give you everything you need to study. Make sure that this is away from distractions and if you have pets or children, try to set this up in a different room to where they sit and play. Keep the space organized and clean, to ensure the best productivity. You can even add some plants to create some greenery and some motivational quotes to keep you going on those hard days!
Get Your To-Do-List Out of the Way First
If you know you still have to clean the house, take the dog for a walk, or exercise, do this before you study. When your brain is thinking of everything it must do next, it will be a lot harder to focus and study and you may leave your study space a lot earlier than you would have if you had done the other stuff first. A to-do-list is a great way to keep organized, but it can also be a distraction to studying.
Leaving your studies until last will give you a better idea of how long you have left of the day to focus on studying and it will also give you the satisfaction of knowing once you are done with studying, you have some time to relax. Just make sure that you have a reasonable to-do-list, so you will still have plenty of time for studying afterwards.
Create a Study Timetable
Planning your study time is an important part of studying. Going into your coursework and not knowing exactly where you are starting or what you are aiming to do can actually take a lot more time. Take 20 minutes at the start of each week to create a study timetable, so you can see how much time you can spend each day studying. If you have work, children, or other commitments, this is essential to ensuring you save time for studying.
This also means if someone asks you to do something, you can see when you have free time and what time is already crossed out for studying. While an invite for a meal with your friends sounds like a great idea, if you have planned study time that can’t be fitted anywhere else in the week, saying no will avoid late-night cram sessions and extra stress. Be sure to plan some time in for socializing and relaxing, though.
Get Rid of Technology
Of course, you may be studying using a laptop or tablet, but anything that you don’t need should be removed from the room or switched off. If you can have a tablet or laptop that is solely for studying, this will help you to avoid procrastination. It may even be worth looking at your screen time, to see just how much time you spend studying, compared to how much time you’ve spent on YouTube. Take your phone out of the room or put it on silent. Having your phone by you is an easy distraction and procrastination will only rise every time you hear a notification.
Looking at one message on your phone can lead to 15 wasted minutes of replying to messages or scrolling through social media. If you need your phone in case of emergencies or you struggle to stay off your phone, try using an app that will block the use of distracting social media apps. If you are going to study when you first get up in the morning, try to not let your phone be the first thing you look at. Getting sucked into this can waste time and is not the most productive way to start the day.
Use a Timer
Timers are an easy tool that can be used to get stuff done and see just how much time you’ve been spending studying. A timer can keep you focused on the activity and can help you to manage regular breaks. Studying for around 50 minutes, with a 10-minute break for stretching, getting a drink, or using the toilet is a great way to study.
While it may seem more efficient to cram all your studying into two hours, taking regular small breaks can keep you more focused. It is not good for your posture or your eyes to spend hours sitting at a desk and staring at a screen. During your breaks, try not to use your phone or watch TV and instead, give yourself a break from screentime.
Remember Why You Are Doing This
Sometimes procrastination hits when we feel like what we are doing has no purpose. Taking a step back and remembering just why we are choosing to study can help give us the motivation to get stuck back in. Having a purpose will give us drive and motivation, leading to less procrastination, even on the days where studying feels hard (and there will be days like this).
There are many reasons that people choose to study, including going into a career path that is more suited for them, or to earn more money in their current role. Having an end goal can help when making time to study and procrastinating less. For nurses looking for their next career goal, studying a nurse practitioners degree can provide job stability, better pay, and the chance to work in any state in the US.
Many students now have the option of studying online, especially when taking a degree. This can lead to a whole new level of procrastination, as there is nobody there to keep check of what you are doing. You must be your own motivator when it comes to online study, and it can help if you make friends on the course. Your lecturer will still keep tabs on what you are doing and how many hours you spend on the online portal each week, so keep that in mind when studying online.
Even if you cannot meet your course mates in the flesh, creating study sessions will give you all some accountability. You can even check in throughout the sessions, sharing with one another what you learnt and what you have done in the session, or what you need to do differently next session. This is a great way to learn from each other, as there will be parts of the course that you understand better than others, and vice versa.
Following these tips can help you to study at home without procrastinating. Create a study space and get rid of any distractions that you know will keep you from concentrating. If you are studying online, make friends with your course mates and keep each other accountable. Create a study timetable and use a timer to keep your studying efficient.