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Good Habits

For most of us, the fall semester is just starting. Workloads are generally lighter at the beginning of the semester, so you may be thinking that you don’t need to worry about developing productive study habits right now. But developing good habits now, before the work piles up and the pressure mounts, means that when schoolwork picks up and midterms loom, you’ll already have productive processes in place for handling all of that work, and things should go much easier for you. So whether you’re a freshman this year, or you’re already partway through your highschool or college career, now is a great time to develop some new, good study habits. There are a ton of sites and blogs devoted to student productivity out there (GearFire included!), these tips are just a sampling of what I’ve found that works for me.

Start assignments right away
When your professor assigns an 8-page paper, due in 3 weeks, what do you do? Chances are, you tend to wait at least a few days before you get started on it. Try starting all papers and projects within 2 days of them being assigned. You don’t have to devote a lot of time to this first effort; do 15 minutes of research, draft your first paragraph, or start developing an outline or a mindmap. I find that just getting started on some little part of an assignment makes it much easier to start the bulk of the work on it when I have time.

Develop a system for handling paper
College, especially, typically involves a lot of paper—handouts, syllabi, assignments, notes. There are myriad ways to organize it all; if you’ve got a scanner, you might consider scanning everything into your computer and organizing it digitally. Many people are also fans of having an In box and an Out box, some people use a lot of folders or folios, it’s really up to you. The important thing is to figure out what works for you early on, and then do your best to stick with that system.

Get into an exercise routine
You’ve most likely heard it all before—exercise is good for your body and good for your brain, and it’s something that’s often neglected by busy students. Try to find an exercise routine that you think you’ll be able to stick to through the semester, and make it a habit to get it done. Your body and brain will thank you!


Make time for fun
Make sure you make some time for fun stuff your first few weeks; explore your campus and the area surrounding it, hang out with your friends, play video games, whatever! As important as it is to be productive and put schoolwork first, it’s also important to make time for relaxing and taking breaks from the grind.

I hope you all have a productive, enjoyable semester!

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12 Responses to “Good Habits”

  1. I fully agree. And it will take time before all can swing natually, but it’s worth the work and time. I guess it all comes down to time management and physical and mental health.

  2. Ibrahim says:

    Looks like a great plan to start the year off right. I recently wrote a series of articles on the same topic, readers might enjoy.

  3. I am totally agree with all your pieces of advices. But my major problem as I always put aside those thing I have some time for

  4. Steve says:

    I agree with your section about starting assignments as soon as possible. I think the key thing is not to procrastinate as much as possible. If a student can master the skill to do a little work over a longer period of time it will still free them up to exercise and have more fun.

  5. DanGTD says:

    Nice tips.

    Another thing that would be beneficial is to start your day with the most important (and probably most difficult) task/project. This, after exercising and a healthy meal.

    If you start the day doing the most important thing, the rest of the day you’ll be MUCH more productive that if you start it with trival tasks, or with an hour of cofee time, etc.

    How you start the day is how you end the day.

  6. Olivia W says:

    Thank you all for reading and commenting! Dan, I absolutely agree with you on getting things started in the morning—if I’ve got an assignment that I know is going to be a challenge, I try to get up and start working on it first thing, too.

  7. paulette says:

    Have fun while working is the best advice of all. Keep on blogging

  8. While you are having a good time listing your good habits here, I am having problems with starting a project right away unless I get too excited to let it pass because I am interested in that project.

  9. Olivia W says:

    Starting things early is definitely not the easiest habit to develop, especially if you’re dealing with a lot of work that you’re not particularly excited about. With practice, though, it is (generally) possible to make that habit a part of your routine, and apply the strategy to any assignment, even those you’re not very interested in. If you need to do something creative to start your assignment (like, to come up with paper ideas and the like), and you’re absolutely drawing a blank and need to leave that until later, then at least go over your notes again, skim relevant parts of your textbook, or do a couple of quick searches online for relevant info. At the very least, those should give you a little bit of a jump on the project, and they might help you generate ideas as well.

  10. Bill says:

    Been there and done that. Some great advice, just hard to accept at the time but looking back you couldn’t be any more correct. Thanks for the great article!