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!