Updated: Apr 22
Right now, most of the world is in quarantine and study rituals have been thrown into uncertain chaos with the recent switch to online courses. Here are a few tips to help you maintain productivity and study during your shelter-in-place.
1. Set the right environment
Start with somewhere that is comfortable, but not too comfortable. Make sure your desk is suited to the tasks you will be doing: using your computer, taking notes, etc. Get rid of anything that could distract you in that particular workspace: turn off video games, choose music that is conducive to productivity, try not to be distracted by social media, and maintain a relatively clean area.
2. If there are others with you, make sure they all are on the same page
Everyone has different methods of studying, so you should make sure that if you are studying with a group, you choose friends who have similar environmental preferences to you. Don't study with people who will easily distract you or cause you to work at a significantly slower rate; instead, work with people who can answer your questions, collaborate with you on confusing concepts, and lead helpful discussions.
3. Identify the specific things that distract you
Most of us are set in our methods of procrastination: some people clean and do household chores (anything productive that isn't their immediate task), some people play games on their phone or computer, some people shop online, and some people watch binge television shows and movies. Whatever your method of procrastination is, identify it early and set up as many roadblocks as possible to keep you on track. For example, tell yourself you can only play 30 minutes of video games after studying for 3 hours or completing a whole assignment, and set a timer to keep yourself accountable.
4. Create a zone of concentration within your own body
While it's important to focus on your environment and surroundings in order to concentrate, it also helps to prepare your body. Don't stuff yourself with junk food whose sugars would make you crash, have some caffeine nearby (but not an unhealthy amount), and avoid foods that would make your stomach hurt while studying. Junk food could be a reward you give yourself for finishing everything. If exercise wakes you up, do some exercise! If it puts you to sleep, don't do it!
5. Reread your notes
Your professors may have told you that rereading your lecture notes before bed helps you retain much more information, but maybe you didn't ever have time to do it because of extracurriculars or athletics. Now that you're under quarantine, now is the perfect time to do that! Not only do you have more time, but now you can dedicate that time to getting better grades and doing well on your exams. It doesn't have to last hours; a simple reread can last just ten minutes a day.