This guest post was written by Marcia Windsor Waite, StudentJobUK.
Studying during the Covid-19 pandemic has brought challenges to most students. Although it can be stressful, there are plenty of ways you can manage that stress and still be productive.
It’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed at the moment. The world is a stranger place than usual right now, and we’re all having to make adjustments. Yet as a new academic term approaches, it’s important that you bring your A-game to your studies. To help you out, we’ve outlined seven top study tips to help you keep learning during periods of stress.
Prioritize Your Time and Objectives
Let’s start with one of the essentials of any successful study. No matter what’s going on in the world, time-management always plays a critical role in productivity. If you’re feeling a little stressed with your workload, setting priorities can go a long way to help manage both.
Start by looking at the course or module outline(s) that you’re dealing with. What do you need to do to pass? When are your assignments due? From here, you can start to create a to-do list of the most important tasks. Having it written down can relieve some stress and give you the chance to focus on each objective in turn. It’s also satisfying and rewarding to tick things off your list once they’re done.
It’s helpful to structure your weeks, know exactly what you are studying each day and even schedule in breaks if you need to. It’s also a good idea to allocate time to catch up in case you weren’t as productive during one of your study sessions, or things took you a bit longer than planned. We will talk more in detail about this in the next section.
Keep a Schedule and Be Selfish with Your Time
Now you have your to-do list of objectives, but when are you going to get around to ticking them off? You don’t want to spend all day, every day studying, but equally, you don’t want to leave it all to the last minute, no matter how well you work under pressure. As with many things in life, it’s about finding a balance.
Having a study schedule can help you keep on track. Not only does it mean you feel obliged to obey the schedule (all hail it), but it also means you can plan in your study and leisure time. Striking this equilibrium between work and pleasure is essential for managing stress, allowing you to do the things you have to do, as well as those you want to do. As far as study tips for the pandemic go, this one is right up there.
Organize Your Notes and Follow a Studious Approach
There is a fair amount of uncertainty in the world right now, and much of it seems out of our immediate control. As such, it’s worthwhile taking charge of the things that are under your influence. The organisation of your schedule and your work can give you a much-needed foundation for stability.
Whether it’s the techniques you use to create your notes or the way you store them, staying organised can help with your productivity. If you end up scrawling down endless reams of text during lessons or lectures, make sure to put time into your schedule to write them up into a format that works for you. Try things like keyword trees, mind maps, or the Cornell method, to see which suits your study style. It is incredibly important to find a study method which works well for you to prevent you from losing time.
Keep the Motivation for Studying by Rewarding Yourself
The trend you should be spotting in our study tips is that time-management is one of the most important factors in staying productive. Yet endlessly slogging away at your work is probably not the most effective way of learning. In fact, it is also important to allow yourself breaks during your studies. Whether you decide to go for a walk, work out or just spend some time away from your laptop and books, you will come back feeling refreshed.
So, to keep motivated with your work, you should plan these mini-breaks into your day. During these times, you can give yourself little rewards to keep your motivation high. Whether it’s a bite of chocolate or a nice cuppa, stepping away from your work for a few minutes can help your overall productivity. If this sounds of interest, you should check out this Pomodoro technique timer. I also find the forest app helps us structure our time and stops us from regularly getting distracted by our phones.
Look After Your Mental Health
Research shows that learning and studying can help us feel confident and improve mental wellbeing. However, the pressures of school, college or university can bring their own stresses, meaning it’s vital you look out for your mental health.
Learning about common mental health problems and how to spot them can help you keep on top of things. Additionally, your academic institution will also have a student support service. However, always remember to prioritise your mental help and don’t be afraid to tell people you are struggling.
Connect with Other Students
In the current climate of social distancing, life can sometimes feel a little lonely. But it doesn’t have to. Many students are in exactly the same situation as you, and there are plenty of ways you can connect with them. Sharing your experience and swapping advice can help keep you focused and productive. You might find that you study better when you can talk about it with someone, and perhaps you’ll find it helpful to have a study session with another classmate via Facetime or a video call. However, make sure that you are actually working rather than distracting each other.
Take Part in Educational Activities
Despite the restrictions imposed by Covid-19, there are still plenty of educational activities you can take part in. Many universities, for example, are hosting lectures, freshman week activities, and jobs fairs virtually. Not only are such events a good way of keeping in touch with others, but they can also help give you a productivity boost.
Although the world seems strange, we have to make the best of the current situation. Getting involved with the many events and activities related to your studies can help you do exactly that. If you’re looking for some short online courses that can help you connect with other learners, check out some of the free options available on FutureLearn or LinkedIn. If you’re looking for a free trial for courses like Goodhabitz, StudentJob is currently offering a 30-day free trial!
Stay hopeful and stay motivated — these tips on pandemic productivity will keep you powered through the rest of the academic year.