We’re all busy, that’s just a fact of life. But just because you don’t have loads of time to spare for long study blocks, doesn’t mean that you can’t maximise your learning in the time you do have. Below you will find our best tips to help you get the most out of a short study session, and to keep you focused when you’re running short on time.
Turn off your phone and disable social media on your computer
This may sound obvious and you may have heard this a thousand times, but honestly, it’s one of the best ways you can maximise your study time.
Checking your phone and Facebook may seem like quick five minute things, but they’re not. Every time you check these sites you break your concentration. So it will take longer to get back into the swing of things.
For example, if you only have a 30 minute study slot, and checking your phone takes five minutes, you will have to add another five minutes on to the “break from study tally” to refocus. That adds up to 10 minutes – or one third of your total study time!
So when you start studying, turn off your phone. When you turn on your computer, switch on an app like Stay Focused to stop you from drifting to FB, Instagram or other distracting social media sites.
Sit down once a week and plan your study sessions for the upcoming seven days. Work out when you will study, how long you will study, and what you want to achieve in every session.
Once you have mapped out your study week, pop the plan on your wall, in your phone, or on your laptop. Check out this post for tips on how to pre-plan your study sessions for maximum effect.
Focus on one task
Before you sit down to study, have a look at your study plan and remind yourself of what you need to focus on for this particular session.
Are you reading a chapter? Writing an essay plan? Researching a particular topic? Or are you doing a quiz?
Know what you want to achieve out of your study session and focus on just doing that, rather than trying to do it all.
Remember, the journey of a thousand steps begins with one. Plan each study session to be a single step.
Get yourself sorted and settled
Make sure you have everything you need with you before you start your study session.
So, prior to sitting down, get yourself a glass or bottle of water as well as some snacks, and a pen and paper to jot notes down. Also, if you know you need music, make sure you have your selection ready to go before you begin.
Be prepared with what you will need before you start to study. This will save you a lot of time, and will help you to stay focused during the time that you have.
Use different learning tools
Keep your brain engaged in short study sessions and maximise your memory by using different study tools to learn the subject matter.
For instance, one short session you could read a chapter out loud. The next session you could convert the learning in the chapter into a colourful diagram or a map, and the next session you could condense the chapter into dot point revision notes, and the next you could enlist someone to quiz you on what you’ve learned.
You may want to consider doing something active right before you start to study.
Going for a brisk 10 minute walk, a quick bike ride, or even doing 50 star jumps will:
- get your blood pumping
- release feelgood chemicals into your body
- help you to focus
- get your brain going
Make yourself accountable to another person
Choose someone in your life, whether it is a parent, friend, partner, or Open Colleges study buddy and make yourself accountable to them.
Tell this person about what you hope to get out of your short study session, and get them to check-in with you about it after the session has ended.
It’s amazing at what a little bit of accountability can do for your motivation and focus levels!
Shorter study may actually be better
Don’t stress if you only have a little bit of time to dedicate to your study every day, or every few days.
According to research, students may actually be more likely to remember what they have learned if they undertake shorter daily study sessions, rather than mammoth study efforts once a week.
In fact, with smaller, regular study sessions you may actually be setting yourself up for some really good study outcomes!
Is it time to start studying?
Open Colleges offers over 150+ online courses covering a wide range of areas from accounting to script writing. So whatever your study dream, Open Colleges has the course to match. Study when you want, where you want and get ahead today.