Nina's six top tips for studying

To say that I get distracted easily is an understatement. As a result, over the years I have developed ways to help me focus- hopefully some of them will help you too!

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Student at desk studying

In the aim of transparency, I will admit that I don’t find sitting down and focusing that easy- most days my brain is like Heihei (the chicken from Moana). To say that I get distracted easily is an understatement. As a result, over the years I have developed ways to help me focus- hopefully some of them will help you too!

Work

I try and make sure I tidy my desk every once in a while - everything is super distracting when you’re procrastinating! I also keep some reminders of my accomplishments on the wall next to my desk as a motivation boost.

The library is a good place to go if you need a change of scenery or don’t have an adequate workspace at home.

Sound

for the longest time I could only work in silence! Not the easiest requirement to have. This will be different individual to individual - for some the chatter of a café is the best environment, while others like me need it to be super quiet. Headphones and earbuds are essential kit here- you can get noise dampening headphones or wax earplugs pretty cheaply nowadays. For those missing their favourite café- there are a lot of videos on Youtube that simulate that environment. Creating dedicated playlists is also a great way to increase concentration, just take your time creating it so that you don’t break your concentration when you’re forced to skip a song.

The magic of lists

Creating an action plan or list is a great way to breakdown whatever you’re working on- just make sure you clearly define each task- don’t make it too broad otherwise you won’t feel like you’re getting anywhere. You can use a good old piece of paper and tick things off, a whiteboard (added satisfaction of wiping actions off) or online tools like To do list. I also recommend using a calendar and blocking out time to do each goal- this way you can factor in final checks and breaks as well.

Time

We all function differently- from early birds to night owls and finally permanently tired pigeons, we all have different times of day when we feel most productive. Try and find what times suit you and work around them. Be careful though and make sure you get enough sleep though, otherwise none of this will really work.

Sleep and food

Not to sounds like a mom but… making sure you’ve had enough sleep, enough to eat and drink is really important. Sometimes when I’m struggling to focus, having a quick snack will make all the difference.

it’s ok to take a break

Some days nothing we try will work and we need to step away for a little bit to refocus ourselves. Walks, chatting to a friend or a quick workout are great ways to ground ourselves before moving back into focusing on work/assignments. Just make sure a short break doesn’t turn into a week long one


Of course this list isn’t exhaustive - finding what works for you is the most important thing!

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