We all know what time of the year is coming… That’s right ― fall Reading Week is almost here! Now, I’m sure you’re all excited as I am, but we all know what reading week is truly about.
We’re meant to use this time to study for our midterms, but most times, we just end up taking a huge break from school work (a week-long break, that is). But this year, let’s change things. Let’s make the most of this reading week, and be as productive as possible!
The real question is, how can we be productive during reading week? Well, here are five handy tips to ensure that the upcoming week will be successful for you!
1) Manage & schedule your time effectively
This is probably the most important tip when it comes to studying (hence, why it’s number one). Being able to manage your time effectively is the difference between an amazing grade and a poor grade. And trust me, it’s definitely not easy, even I have troubles with time management. But think of time management as a skill - there may be a few bumps as you start learning how to time manage, but it just takes practice. And as time goes on, you begin to get better, and better, and eventually - you become an expert. On another note, let me tell you some effective ways to time manage. Keeping an agenda is very helpful, whether it be a physical agenda or even a virtual one (have you ever heard of My Study Life? If not, be sure to check it out). An agenda can help us keep track of all the tasks we need to get done, and can give us a “bird’s-eye view” of upcoming assignments/midterms. Being able to prioritize which tasks at hand are important and which ones are not is also a golden rule. Identify your most important task and work hard to complete it, and move on to the less important ones after.
2) Find the right study spot
If you’re anything like me, then you need to have the perfect study spot to be productive. It needs to have perfect lighting, a spacious desk, an area that’s not too loud but not too silent either, and it must be the perfect temperature. But of course, to get all those is pretty much impossible…. However, if satisfying some of these factors allows you to effectively accomplish your tasks at hand, then there’s no harm in searching for your ideal study spot! Once you find it, it’ll make life much easier, because not only do you save the time that you could have used searching for a spot, but you can also be more efficient and productive with your time!
3) Don’t forget to take breaks
Non-stop studying can be extremely overwhelming, not to mention very unproductive too. That’s exactly why it’s important to take breaks. It’s especially easy when you have a break schedule in place, to alleviate you from the intense studying. For example, you can study for 50 minutes, and then take a 10-minute break, and repeat! During your break, also be sure to physically get up and walk away from your study spot. You can go for a quick bathroom break, grab something to eat, or even go outside for a little while. Now, completing all three of the above-mentioned activities in 10 minutes would be more of a mission than a break, so it’s up to you to spend your break in the way that works best for you.
4) Eat healthy & stay healthy
Some people believe it’s all psychological, but eating well during midterm season is absolutely essential. Having a well-balanced meal, with some source of meat or protein, vegetables/fruits, dairy products, and carbohydrates makes the biggest difference when it comes to studying. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing a full meal, eating some snacks or “brain food” can also help you concentrate and be more productive while studying. Some brain foods include nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.), apples, broccoli, berries, eggs, and for all you chocolate lovers, dark chocolate!
In addition to eating a well-balanced, healthy meal (or snacks), it is really important to get a good amount of sleep during midterm time. Sleeping and taking naps has been proven to help both learning and memory. This is because it is during this time that your brain reactivates and reorganizes already learned material, which can result in improved memory and can help boost performance. And what’s a better time to catch up on sleep than reading week? Be sure to take advantage of this, I know I will!
5) Give your phone a break
The biggest distraction of all… phones, social media, and anything in between. Whether you’re studying for a class that you like or hate, simply having your phone beside you can be such a temptation - not to mention, it can throw you off track in an instant! I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves, taking 5 minutes to check Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn wouldn’t do any harm, will it? Well, when five minutes turn into an hour, it can sure make the biggest difference. That’s why it’s important to stay proactive! You can do so by:
- Temporarily deleting all social media apps from your phone (it’s alright, you can always reinstall them after).
- Turning your phone off (or muting it) when studying, or putting it in a different room, so that you’re not tempted to get up and get it.
- Using websites on your laptop to block your social media sites, so that you’re not tempted to go on them when your phone is put away.
On a final note, hopefully you can all use these tips to be productive during this upcoming reading week.
Good luck studying & have a great reading week!