8 minute read + video time
Back to school vibes fading ? Not feeling like sticking to the schedule? Here’s how you can avoid deviating from your study strategy/planner/timetable .
Do you struggle with constant procrastination of a certain schedule resulting in cramming the whole exam portion before the exam night ? Bet you will relate to this scenario:
“It is a start of a new academic year , you are filled with a lot of motivation and “I am going to nail it this year” attitude . You repent on the mistakes you made last year and promise yourself that you are going to get that desired percentage this year . Full with adrenaline you make a time table and an exam strategy to follow , initially you follow it meticulously but as soon as time passes by , the back to school mood is coming to an end , the portion and its workload is increasing. BOOM!! Your motivation and enthusiasm start fading , you start procastrinating and by the time you realise it , THERE IS A HUGE BACKLOG AND JUST A WEEK LEFT FOR THE UPCOMING TEST !!
Are you prone to get stuck in this viscious cycle every year ? Wanna save yourself from this kind of nightmare ? Well, the problem might not be your DNA makeup or your personality (“I’m just not a productive person,”) but rather it could be the way you’re following your time tables. Are you adding in buffer times between each task in case a project spills over, or are you trying to squeeze in bigger tasks into smaller slots? Are you penciling in your play time just as often as your work time to keep everything balanced ? Or maybe you’re just not being realistic enough of the lists you have created. Are you keeping track of what you still have to do, or do you just use your schedule as a numbered list you blindly follow, without looking at deadlines? See — so many factors! But don’t worry, we can crack this code together.Here are few tips to help you break this cycle .
GIVE YOUR COMPLETE UNDIVIDED ATTENTION TO THE TASK
Do you sneak onto your phone while you’re in the middle of studying ? Or do you give yourself a little Instagram break during a busy day to “give your brain a rest.” Nope, none of that. A sure fire way to keep yourself neatly on schedule is to give each of your scheduled tasks your undivided attention. Craig Jarrow, author of Time Management Ninja, explained, “One of the keys to keeping a balanced schedule is to actively focus on what you are doing at any given point in time. Remember, you scheduled items into your calendar so everything wouldn’t happen at the same time!”
Does that sound a little too rigid to you? Well, it doesn’t have to be. You know best how you stay productive, so if you need a coffee break, an Instagram pause(the Forest app can be helpful , explained in upcoming video) , or even an hour long veg-out with Netflix, put that into the schedule. That way everything keeps cruising along.
Now that you’ve made your schedule or have started following a study strategy , you’re going to need to stick to it, which is going to be the most difficult part. You can’t expect to cram 100 activities into 24 hours. You need to understand that you will have to modify or customize your strategy according to your lifestyle and that too by your own . If you have more activities to do than what you have time for, you have two options: Either have 2 different schedules that alternate between days (for example, Monday – Schedule 1, Tuesday – Schedule 2, Wednesday – Schedule 1, and so on) or you really need to prioritize and/or compromise based on your own personal daily routine. Only you can decide the best action to take here. But the whole point of this step is to make sure your schedule is possible to stick to, so make sure you do that by taking one or both of the options listed above and allowing enough, but not too much time, for each activity.
According to lifestyle writer Scott Young at self development site Pick the Brain, “If you need to set up a new work routine, I prefer the top-down approach. The top-down approach focuses you on deciding what work needs to be done, and by what deadlines. Once you know the time limit for the work you need to do, this automatically creates the pressure to come up with a productive schedule.” Stack tasks on your schedule according to their realistic deadlines, rather than breaking things into uniform time slots.
AVOID DISTRACTIONS AND STAY CONCENTRATED
smaller tips after this mega tip.
Letting your mind wander is a habit, and just with anything you’re disciplined with, you can force yourself to break the habit with some training.
Lifestyle writer Nadia Goodman at Entrepreneur explained, “Practice concentration by turning off all distractions and committing your attention to a single task. Start small, maybe five minutes per day, and work up to larger chunks of time. If you find your mind wandering, just return to the task at hand.” If you find yourself itching to check Instagram or take a quick chocolate break, just tell yourself no and keep working. Exercise that productivity muscle!
For avoiding distractions :
- Stay away from noisy places , sit in a well lit place , keep all gadgets away and only sit for studying on a study table or any other table
- If you cant stay away from noisy places , listen white noise music while studying . Alarmy app has a great collection of white noises for free .
- Use the Forest App while performing a current task on your schedule , this app is basically a timer with a small plant sapling which grows into a tree as the set time passes by , and if you use your phone while the timer is on the tree will die . You can see the app in image above .
- You can also use digital detox if you are suffering from a phone addiction , an article will come up soon guiding you through digital detox .
- You can try the below cleaning method if your own thoughts are distracting you .
For building concentration :
- You can try reading our article https://wordpress.com/post/icsestudymate.com/2538
- Try using binaural beats playlists from any music app , these beats are tunes with alpha , beta or delta brain frequency fused with normal music which helps in bringing your brain in a concentrated state
- Try meditating before and after studying , you can either go through our study effectively article or you can follow this given Heartfulness Relaxation Technique
Sit comfortably and close your eyes very softly and very gently.
Let’s begin with the toes. Wiggle your toes. Now feel them relax.
Relax your ankles and feet. Feel energy move up from the earth… up your feet to your knees
relaxing the legs.
Relax your thighs.
The energy moves up your legs… relaxing them. Now, deeply
relax your hips… stomach … and waist.
Relax your back. Fromthe top to the bottom the entire back isrelaxed.
Relax your chest … and shoulders. Feel yourshoulders simply melting away… Relax your
upper arms. Relax each muscle in your forearms … your hands… right
up to your fingertips.
Relax the neck muscles. Move your awareness up to your face.Relax the jaws… mouth … nose …
eyes … earlobes … facial muscles … forehead … all the way to the top of your head.
Feel how your whole body is now completely relaxed.
Move your attention to your heart.As you rest there, gently have the idea that the Source of Light
is illuminating your heart from within and is attracting or pulling your attention inward…
Feel immersed in the love and light in your heart.Remain still and quiet, and slowly become
absorbed in yourself.
Remain absorbed within this deep silence for aslong as you want, until you feel ready to come
HAVE A CONSTANT CHECK IN WITH YOUR TIME TABLE
A great way to keep yourself focused on what still needs to be done is to do a constant check-in with your schedule. That way you won’t be sidelined by a chunk of time that needs deep concentration and energy, and you’ll be able to ration out your concentration correctly throughout the day.
Jarrow advised, “Get in the habit of checking your schedule for not only what is coming up in the next hour, but what is coming up in the next several hours.” We usually begin to procrastinate or dabble with distractions when we begin to feel burnt out, but when you know how the whole day is supposed to look, you can psych yourself up accordingly to keep yourself running.
HAVE A CUSHION TIME BETWEEN EACH TASK
Sometimes things take longer to finish than expected — whether it’s because a task turned out particularly tricky, you fell into a slump, or dipped out on a quick coffee break. Some study sessions can take longer than usual because of some understanding issues or you got the hang of it after few attempts ,or your class got delayed or maybe there was an emergency and you had to go out and you resume after coming back . In order to make sure those unforeseen moments don’t throw a wrench into your workflow, always add in time-cushions of 10 to 15 minutes between each task so you’re giving yourself some wiggle room.
As Rebekah Epstein, publicist and contributor to Entrepreneur admitted, “I become anxious when meetings run late, conference calls go over the budgeted time or projects take longer than anticipated. The reality is this type of thing happens on a daily basis, and you can’t get too stressed out about it.” With those cushions in between, you won’t ever have to be stressed out about it.
KEEP HARD TASKS FOR FREE TIME/ OFF HOURS
When you really need to lock yourself down and concentrate, try scheduling those tasks during off-hours where you won’t run into a lot of distractions.
Sometimes your psychology plays a huge role in percieving some tasks , and it is different for different people , some may follow the easy chapter first approach so as to build concentration or to create a link for sitting for long hours , the reason being that if they take a hard chapter first they are starting the study session fear and a bit of disinterest which can lead to stalling of the whole task altogether but for some people who know the importance of staying focussed in order to achieve the completion of the schedule they dive deep into the hard chapter anyhow and give it the first priority , so that all their enthusiastic energy while starting the study session is channeled into the much required hard chapter which is under a great risk of getting postponed .
And for that reason it is recommended that hard tasks or chapters are done in a time which is usually off or there are no deadlines ,so there are no worries about any other task and all attention can be given to the hard chapter/task .
Epstein, a life coach wrote, “Pick one of these times, when other people aren’t working, to focus on projects that require a lot of concentration. Every morning from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. is my uninterrupted time to write articles, answer emails, and work on research projects.” If you know that you have a tricky task coming up the next day that’ll need your undivided attention try to pencil it in during an off-hour that you’ll feel your most productive. Though it’s not typical, you’ll get more done that way.
YOU CAN SCHEDULE STUDY AND PLAY ON THE SAME SPOT TO KEEP YOURSELF BALANCED
Ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels? You might have all your work planned and scheduled to a tee, but when a friend comes ringing to grab a cup of coffee or to grab a burger after work, your pretty schedule can take a hit. How do you avoid that skid? Simple: Schedule work and play in one place, so you can see how much time and room you have for each.
Epstein, the lifecoach mentioned earlier, explained, “When I first began my public relations work, I often canceled plans with friends because projects would take longer than I expected. I didn’t feel I was getting anything done. Then I started scheduling both my professional and personal commitments in one place and assigning equal importance to both. This way I can really see how much time I have for each.”
If you keep all your tasks (work and play) in one spot, keep an eye on deadlines and projects multiple times a day, and allow yourself some buffer time to slack and relax, you should see a complete difference on how you stay on track!
LAST BUT NOT LEAST MOTIVATE YOURSELF EVERY TIME
Be conscious of why you wanted to stick to a schedule in the first place and keep it in your mind. Also be aware of the consequences should you fail to keep a schedule, and the rewards if you are successful. Some pros of keeping a schedule: be more organized, resulting in less stress, can help you be more responsible, make you feel in control of your life, help you be successful in your business, work, school, and/or every day life, etc.