f you’re distracted by a Netflix box set, a mid-afternoon nap, or catching up with your housemates we understand. In fact, procrastination affects us all at some point or another; not just when it comes to exam season.
According to Psychology Today procrastination reflects our constant struggle with self-control as well as our inability to accurately predict how we’ll feel tomorrow.
So, while we’re not denying that the struggle to focus on the task at hand is a very real thing, we also appreciate that it can be hard to study with a multitude of distractions at play. We’ve therefore pulled together some handy hints and top tips to help you beat procrastination.
Reward Yourself for Immediate Actions
According to science and behavioural psychology research, “time consistency” helps to explain why procrastination pulls us in despite our best intentions. This refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.
Therefore, finding a way to make the benefits of long-term choices more immediate makes it easier to avoid procrastination.
Try studying whilst doing something you enjoy such as listening to music or enjoying your favourite take away.
Change Your Environment
Different environments have different impacts on your productivity.
Thinking about what kind of environment encourages you to work might require a bit of experimentation but can be particularly beneficial. Like many, you might find it best to work in quiet spots such as your room and the library. Or you may find that surrounded by a bit of noise stops your mind wandering. Equally, the type of work or studying you are engaging with may be suited for various spaces; getting creative in the confines of a library may be particularly difficult for example.
Choose Your Study Group Wisely
If you prefer to study and revise in a group environment ensure that you are spending time with people who inspire you to take action.
Break Your Workload into Achievable Steps
Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously we find the work too overwhelming for us.
Break your load down and work and focus on one part at a time.
Stick to Print
Whilst it is easy to grab your tablet or laptop and take advantage of many e-learning sites, you’re also likely to fall into the social media trap.
Research proves that when it comes to studying, traditional print materials still have the upper hand. It is suggested that scrolling on a device could hold back reading capabilities as it interrupts the reader’s mental process in a way that print doesn’t.
Note-taking is a practical way to acquire and retain information whilst also allowing you more flexibility and control to include diagrams, mind maps, and visual aids.
Whilst we appreciate that it’s hard to let go of tech, with all your questions answered at the tap of a finger, why not just give print a go.
Take a Break
Cramming in as much as you can is actually counterproductive. Studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge you need to take regular breaks.
Develop a study routine that works for you; if you’re more productive in the morning study early before taking a mid-morning and lunch break ensuring you move away from your books when you do.
It might be tempting to stay up all night in a bid to finish coursework and cram in additional study hours, but all-nighters rarely lead to positive results. In fact, they can significantly impact your health contributing to weight gain, an affected immune system, and a decline in athletic performance for example.
So, take our advice and avoid an all-nighter.
Find Time for Fresh Air & Exercise
Incorporating physical activity and a spot of fresh air into your revision schedule can increase concentration and even the capacity to remember what has been learnt.
In addition, it is suggested that exercise can help lower stress levels thus easing the pressure of the exam period. You’re also more likely to get a better night’s sleep ensuring you’re appropriately refreshed for the next day.
More Help and Information
This above list is just a handful of tips to improve studying. If you’ve got any study practices that you think are worth sharing, we’d love to hear from you. Like us on the Digs Facebook page and drop us a message.