Effectively Making Time to Study

written by Andrew on

Most of us live very busy lives, making it difficult to find time to study. Unfortunately, that leads many of us to study very late at night, sacrificing sleep for the appearance of productivity. It feels like we are simply suffering for our goals because nobody enjoys the feeling of being tired all the time, but in reality we aren't being productive at all.

Sleep is incredibly important to our well being in all kinds of ways, but today we're going to focus in on studying; Learn Brigade is an educational company after all! Sleep plays a critical role in consolidating our memories to make them last. We also have severely diminished short-term memory when we are sleep deprived. It's extremely important that we organize our lives in a way that allows us to get enough sleep.

The easy solution would be to use this as an excuse to be lazy and not study very hard. However, what we really need to do is make dedicated time during our normal day to study.

Little Moments

Luckily with something like Notecards, you often don't need to cut out large chunks of time. Even just 10 or 15 minutes, a few times a day, can be extremely effective. It's amazing how many of these little moments we have in the average day; even for the most high powered CEOs. You don't realize they are there until you start looking for them. And remember, it isn't about packing your day even more fully, it is about taking a break to better yourself and achieve the endorphin rush that comes from learning something new.

If you are looking for some ideas, here are some suggestions for little moments during the day:

  • Go for a walk - If you are feeling antsy, get up and go for a walk while flipping through some of your cards. Of course, you should be careful to still pay attention to where you are walking; don't blame us if you walk into a pole.
  • Study on the toilet - Recent surveys show that 75% of Americans admit to using their phones while in the bathroom. The trick is to put your phone away BEFORE wiping and until AFTER you wash your hands. How about doing some quick studying instead of browsing the internet or playing the latest addictive game? You still get the endorphin rush and you also get the long-term satisfaction.
  • Test yourself while driving - If you have someone to test you, that is probably best, but you can also do this if you are alone. We recently wrote a post about configuring study timers. We also have a post discussing how to have cards spoken to you. Combining these two things, you don't have to look at your device at all to study (and please don't, KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD!)
  • Waiting in a line at the bank or store - We tried very hard to make Notecards usable with one hand. Take advantage of that and study to kill time where you would otherwise just be standing there. You may look like you are addicted to your phone, but you can be smug knowing you are actually bettering yourself.
  • Waiting for a meeting or class to start - Obviously you should be social in these situations, but sometimes you will be the first one there and have some time to kill. Also when someone does eventually come and asks you what you were doing, say you were using this AMAZING app called Notecards.
  • Waiting for that pot to boil - While a watched pot does indeed still boil, it certainly doesn't help. How about getting in a few minutes of studying!

This is only a small list of possibilities. There are undoubtedly plenty of other opportunities in your life that are more personal to you.

Dedicated Time

Making larger chunks of time is often a lot harder. The most important thing is to ensure the other people in your life are onboard with what you are trying to achieve. "Make your own damn dinner, I'm studying!" Ok, we can be a lot nicer than that. Your friends, your significant other, your kids, perhaps even your coworkers or employees, all need to appreciate that you need this time. Also, you need to ensure that you are there for others during the rest of your day. That is pretty much the definition of “dedicated time”. This is time where everyone agrees you will concentrate on bettering yourself. That makes you more available later to help them achieve their goals and hopefully also fit in some time for fun and relaxation for everyone.

It is harder to give a list of ideas for this one because everyones' schedule is different, but here are some suggestions on good ways to carve out dedicated study time.

  • Mornings - Mornings are a great place to build a habit because unexpected things tend to come up throughout the day. Getting things done early will minimize the possibility of being interrupted or tempted to cancel it.
  • While others are doing their own thing - Try to double up your time with the personal time of those around you. This allows all of you to optimize both your alone and together time.
  • Find a study partner - If possible, it is always extremely helpful to find someone else to study with. They will keep you on schedule, often force you to formalize your thoughts more effectively, and even allow you to combine studying with some fun.

Through some upfront planning to optimize your study time, you can ensure that you spend a lot less time studying but ultimately learn much more. Don't settle for the appearance of productivity, insist on real efficiency.