The main reason most people are not studying efficiently is because of 3 things. These are study sessions that are not focused, have an unsupportive study environment, and lack smart study skills. When you improve just these three things, you become a much more efficient learner.
Let’s look closely at them, and how you can use them to your advantage.
1: Set a goal for each study session
Time is the most important thing you have. You can spend it only once! When I look at people and how they are studying I am shocked! People are wasting so much time! Fortunately… this is not just when people are studying. It is more a thing in life in general for most people.
You, as an adult learner have many roles and responsibilities. It is very important that you take advantage of every single minute, or perhaps even second! When you waste study time, you have to catch up later. And that means you have to take time away from your family and your work, again…
That is why you MUST HAVE a clear goal for each study session. What do you accomplish in your next study session? Is it…
- simply reading 20 pages in your book (without trying to understand, but just to get an idea of what you will study)?
- memorizing 20 words in a foreign language?
- outlining an essay and adding bullet points that will make writing the essay easier?
- taking notes from the chapter you read last night and creating a mind map?
Whatever you will do, make sure you know what your result will be. This way you can study with more focus.
When I look at my own studying, I have one simple goal for each day. I want to study, understand, and memorize the main ideas from 10 pages in my book. Depending on what kind of study session I do, this may involve reading the pages, taking notes, memorizing, or using the information.
ACTION STEP: Make sure you know the outcome of your next study session! And then use the time you have to achieve that goal.
2: Create a study environment that supports studying
The moment you have enough focus and drive, the location where you study doesn’t really matter. You will get your studying done no matter what.
Until you achieve that level of focus, you are probably better off creating a study environment that helps you to focus.
I wrote a longer piece on study room essentials that you may like to read. It has a number of tips and strategies to help you focus better.
The main idea when looking at your study environment is that you reduce noise so you can focus better. This can be done by putting your phone in Airplane mode. You will not receive any messages or calls that distract you.
Another key thing about creating a room ready for studying is having no other people around (physical or digital). The only thing that could be nice to do is look online for videos of people who are studying. Put that video on and start studying while they are studying.
It may sound strange, but… how did the saying go… Monkey See, Monkey Do? By seeing someone else study, you are more inclined to study. Use this and only take breaks when the other person takes breaks.
You can also hang a sheet of paper in front of you with your end goal written on it. This could be the job you like when you finish studying, or the money you may make after graduating, or the … what ever your big dream is for getting this degree or doing this program.
ACTION STEP: Show yourself why you are studying, and you are more likely to push forward and to keep your focus.
3: Learn smart study skills
Do you realize you are probably still reading the same way as you did when you were 13? Sure, you probably picked up some new words… but the strategies and routines did not change that much.
The same applies to note-taking, memory tactics and techniques to focus. Why did you not upgrade your skills many years ago?
Now that you are studying again, you should invest in getting a study skill upgrade. This can be done really easy. The way I started was by learning how to mind map. This helped me upgrade my reading skills.
Learning smart study skills is highly valuable. You should always be improving these skills. Especially in this information age, knowing how to process and understand information at a high pace is critical.
I suggest you start by improving the way you “download” your new information. Learn smart or speed reading skills. By just reading 10% faster, you can speed studying up one of more study days per month.
Also learn to capture information faster. For example, the way you take notes or highlight information in your book. Create mind maps. Use different colors for different concepts to easily see the relationships within branches or the entire mind map.
Then you learn memory techniques. This helps you to waste less time on going over and over and over your notes trying to memorize them.
ACTION STEP: Start improving your study skills. Take your time for this. Grow every day by practicing. Start for example by training your memory or using mind maps for notes.
Action tips on how to increase study efficiency
You can increase your study efficiency easily by having a clear goal for each study session, choose and manage your study room for success, and by improving your study skills. All of this is really easy to do and can be done on a daily basis.
Don’t feel you have to change everything right now at once. Focus on your desk to remove distractions. Learn to read a little bit faster. Know what you want to achieve during a study session.
Ask me if you have any questions. Continue reading on the website to learn more on smart study tactics that help you when studying.
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I also recommend my online training Studying Made Easy. This course will help you to develop your skills for studying by using simple tactics. Or make it even more practical and efficient by signing up for Personal Coaching!