Skills Earth Sciences

Easy productivity hacks to get in the study mood

Though we may know many of the core elements of studying, many of us forget to leave ourselves the time, both mentally and physically, to execute them properly4. Though it requires thoughtfulness, simple reminders like those below can help us prioritise healthy study habits and facilitate self-regulated learning more easily.

  • The power of good sleep: There are endless TED Talks on sleep and the innumerable benefits getting enough of it can have on our cognitive functioning. Consistency is key in this regard. Several recent studies5,6 showed that while no correlation can be drawn between test scores and a single good night’s sleep, achieving multiple days of quality, long-duration sleep, is strongly associated with increased academic performance.
  • The power of a good environment: Especially important if you’ve found it difficult to study in your habitual spot – switch it up! You may find that after a couple days of studying at home you’re more productive if you reserve a spot at one of our libraries or visit a new coffee spot in town. Purposely entering a study-environment often helps us set the mood for focus and concentration.
  • The power of good habits: When you’ve found your reliably productive spaces, set a schedule, and encourage yourself to keep it up. It’s easier to manage pressure when you have set times and spaces for both study and rest.
  • The power of good sound: Music is an incredibly effective stress reducer7. What you listen to is up to you – a rule of thumb for study music is to avoid songs with lyrics as they may distract you. There are many study-music playlists to choose from, from instrumental music and lo-fi to ambient noise.
  • The power of limiting distractions: A lot of the devices and applications we use daily are intended to hold our focus for as long as possible. When you’re ready to study, make sure you do it in a space that minimises annoying background noise, away from the TV and housemates. It’s often a useful exercise to keep distance from your phone as well, allowing you to be free of distraction for the length of your study session. The following apps are designed to help limit distraction in the digital world as well:
    • Trello: online project planner
    • Forest: reward yourself for avoiding checking alerts
    • Hold: app and internet blocker
    • Freedom: internet and website blocker
  • The power of good food: Temporary energy boosts from coffee and foods with high-sugar contents inevitably lead to crashes. Help yourself avoid this by packing thoughtful treats to snack on during your studying. Seasonal fruit, cocoa products, mixed nuts – and most importantly water!