Time is precious. The older you get, the more you see the value of the time you have.
When you have to combine a family and work together with learning new ideas and concepts... that is ever more difficult. That is why I like to share with you what works really well when it comes to studying.
The Secret: Create a schedule that works for you
Creating a schedule to know what you will do in the upcoming week is vital. Don’t rely on “winging it”. You have to know where you want to be at the end of the week in order to get there. Isn’t the quote: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail? Know your outcome and work towards that.
That is why at the beginning of the week, you create a schedule for the upcoming week. Here are the steps to take to create your own personal schedule.
I recommend you do this exercise every week. Of course, you can adjust your goals during the week if you feel you should. You can do additional studying, or you take a step back and do a little bit less.
Step 1: Determine your study goals
Every Sunday evening, I sit down and determine what I want to achieve in my studies (and my work).
- How many pages will I read and study?
- How many exercises do I make?
- How many articles will I write on what I studied?
Knowing all of this helps me to plan ahead. It also helps me in being able to guesstimate how long it will take to get through my book.
Now I know my outcome, The next step is to...
Step 2. Find your schedule for the week
Depending on the work and other activities I have to do, I have a certain number of hours to study.
For me this is easy. I make sure that each and every day I study for one hour. This is non-negotiable for me. I study for one hour per day. I suggest you do the same. Pick a number. You could aim for 30 minutes in the beginning. If you have more time, choose a higher number of hours.
The most important thing in this is that you stick to the number you pick for yourself. Don’t do other things if you have study time planned.
In my situation, I spread everything I want to do over the next 5 days. This way I have 2 days for additional study time.
Don’t get me wrong… my study load is based on 7 days. I just plan to do it in 5 days (more work gives me more focus). If this isn’t for you, just schedule everything for 7 days. Be sure you schedule some time for delay! If you don’t, you may feel like you are always “failing” to achieve your planning or goal. That is not motivating…
I make it really simple for myself. If I want to go over 70 pages in a week, I have to study 14 pages during the week. So that means 14 pages in one hour. I know… that is a lot, but with more focus and the right study skills, you can do a lot.
And even if it doesn’t work out, I can always use the other 2 days…
Step 3. Make a routine that matches your study style
Just sitting down to open your book, and to study… that probably doesn’t work really well. You need to have a routine to study.
In my “Studying Made Easy” online training, I share a routine that works really well. I use it myself on a daily basis. It helps me to study smarter and faster.
For you, be sure you know what you will do when you find time for studying.
- Do you start with reading 10 pages?
- Do you begin to mind map your pages?
- Will you use a speed-reading tactic?
Know what you do, so you don’t have to guess what gives you the most value in return!
4. Plan ahead and optimize time management skills
When will you be studying? Do you plan to have time for studying in the morning? Or are you more of an evening person?
My point is… know when you will study!
What I do is I study 30 minutes in the early morning (often from 4.45 till 5.15.. Next, I study in the evening as well.
Breaking my study session up into 2 separate sessions makes it easier to get to one hour. Also, I can better revive the information during the evening.
Step 5: Eliminate Distractions and Stay Focused While Studying
So many people get distracted when studying. This is in part because most people don’t really like what they are studying (all the time). When this happens, it is difficult to keep your focus on the book or lecture.
Be sure you remove as many distractions as possible before you even start studying. Also, increase your motivation for studying (this topic). Try to find it the most interesting and valuable thing in the world. When that happens, distractions are a thing of the past.
- Remove unneeded items from your study desk
- Have a clean and perhaps even minimalistic room in which you study
- Only have the needed software on your computer desktop
- Block certain websites to remove distractions (for instance Youtube.com, Facebook, etc.)
Doing all of this will help you to keep your focus high and distractions minimal.
Right now, you should have a clear schedule for the next week. It tells you what you will be doing each day. You also know what you will achieve over the next week.
Find Time for studying, when studying
Have you ever noticed that time seems to slip through your fingers even when you have planned it perfectly?
There are 3 things you can do about this as well to help you have more time for studying. Here they are:
1. Prioritize Your Tasks, Not Your Projects
You only have to do one thing, and one thing only. That is to focus on the task you scheduled at the beginning of the week!
Don’t think about finishing a chapter, when your goal is to do 10 pages.
Don’t worry about an upcoming exam, when you are reviewing your notes
Don’t worry if (at all)!
Your only priority is finishing this task that you are working on. There is always stuff happening that may want or even need your attention. That is why...
2. Learn to Say No
Remember that study time is time for studying. You scheduled it as study time, so you better use it this way. How often when you enjoy personal time do you start working because you think about it? Don’t mix times up for the wrong reasons!
Even if your spouse, kids, or even your boss wants you to do something small… learn to say NO! Please also explain to them you are studying, and you will help them after your study session.
Working this way helps you to make faster progress and achieve better results.
3. Be Okay with Missing Out on Activities You Love Sometimes
This last point is also important. There will be times where you have to study, even though others are having a good time together.
You may have a study deadline. Perhaps there is an exam soon. Or you may have to turn in a paper.
Study a little more and finish your task. After you did that, you return to your social activity and enjoy that, knowing you finished your study task.
Understand that certain (social or family) tasks can be scheduled at the beginning of the week. Put your personal or work calendar next to your study planning for the new week.
If there is overlap, you may want to schedule a task differently to have no friction in your daily studying.
Remember that most things can be planned, and what is left over is probably a distraction or not a priority. Only a very small number of events is important enough to break your study routine.
- Schedule your study goals one week ahead
- Find the best study routine for yourself
- Focus on getting your studying done in the time scheduled
There you have it, a simple step-by-step method to find more study for studying.
If you have any questions, I would be honoured to hear from you.
Enjoy your next study session!