How to Be More Productive in School: 10 Tips

Classrooms Team

Dec 19, 2020
Woman taking notes on desk. There are additional notebooks and a cup of coffee on desk.

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Students always want to get good grades, but that isn’t always easy. You have other responsibilities to worry about and the occasional battle with your procrastination. These things make it challenging to focus on your work and thrive during the school year. It’s time to take control of your studies and learn how to be more productive in school.

Check out the top 10 tips for becoming more productive. Once you get the hang of these helpful habits, even your most frustrating classes will become more manageable.

1. Write Everything Down

It’s much easier to get through a class or lecture when you tune out your instructor. As long as you occasionally make notes on whatever the current presentation slide says, you’re good. Right?

You’ll fly through your work and get much better grades if you write everything down. Take notes on everything your instructor says, even if they mention books outside your assigned reading material. Reflecting on and researching the information later could help you understand a new concept breeze through your homework.

2. Use a Recorder

After getting your instructor’s permission, use a recording app to save every lecture. When you’re struggling with your reading or a homework assignment, the recording could teach you something you missed in class.

It’s also an excellent way to take notes when you’re more energized and focused. If you’re not a morning person and can’t absorb anything in your 8 a.m. lecture, take notes from the recording later in the afternoon or evening.

3. Find Your Study Method

Productivity is all about saving time. Does studying steal too much of your time and force you to leave other assignments uncompleted? Finding a new study method could be all you need to be more productive in school.

Think about how you absorb class material now. The flashcards or repetitive reading might not work as well as you’d like it to. Instead of pushing forward with a frustrating method, research alternative study solutions and try them out. You might even start using a study app to streamline your memorization and do better on exams.

4. Meet With Your Instructors

Sometimes students struggle with classes because they don’t understand how their instructor communicates or what they want. Meet with your teachers or professors and bring up how you’re academically frustrated. They could explain how they approach their material or want their assignments formatted.

Addressing your frustrations with clear answers improves your productivity by removing the time you spent studying or completing homework in ways that didn’t address what your instructors wanted you to understand.

5. Learn About Burnout

When people try to be more productive, sometimes they get too caught up in pushing through their work. Ignoring your mental and physical health to get through deadlines or study sessions isn’t helpful. College students are especially likely to experience burnout symptoms unknowingly because they’ll deal with anything to pass a class.

Learning about the symptoms of burnout will teach you when to ease off the gas pedal. Giving yourself rest and moderating your workload maintains your productivity instead of repeatedly feeling yourself crash and burn.

6. Eat Better Food

Leaning on junk food for every meal and snack isn’t good for your productivity. Foods high in fat and sugar make you sleepy between meals by tanking your blood sugar. It’s impossible to focus and absorb information when you’re fighting exhaustion.

While you check food labels for added sugars and find low-fat alternatives, consult your budget. A little dietary flexibility and a few new recipes will help you eat healthy in college or on whatever budget you need.

7. Get More Sleep

Your body needs seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Do you get enough rest? When your brain and body can’t reset through the various stages of your sleep cycle, it’s much more challenging to focus on your work the next day. You won’t have the energy to process information or recall study materials.

You’ll boost your productivity by getting enough sleep routinely. Skip all-nighters or the temptation to stay up late with your favorite show. Your academic performance will immediately improve when you feel energized and prepared to sit down and work.

8. Create Daily Schedules

Some people don’t naturally gravitate towards scheduling their time. You might find it easier to handle your free time based on how you feel in the moment, but creating daily schedules will streamline your work.

After you get out of class, know what you’re doing with each block of time. Set a few hours aside for each homework assignment and give yourself a break when you finish. Make dinner or go to the gym, then get right back to work when you feel ready to focus again.

You can even make a more detailed schedule with the Pomodoro method. This method enforces 25-minute work periods followed by five-minute breaks. You won’t experience burnout while you cruise through your homework.

9. Check the Course Calendars

After you find a schedule or study method that works for you, check the calendar for each of your courses. Teachers and professors often release a calendar at the start of the semester so students know what’s coming up. When you catch up with assignments, use some free time to get ahead of deadlines.

Starting a book or essay early will maximize your productivity during days or weeks when you’re not as busy. It could come in handy if something comes up and requires your time. You won’t fall behind because you were smart about your work schedule.

10. Indulge in Self-Care

As you get used to a new work schedule or study method, remember not to push yourself too much. Indulge in self-care habits that lower your stress and anxiety, like finding a creative outlet or going outside. You can only fine-tune your efficiency when you care for your mental health. Try different self-care ideas to see which ones revitalize you so you never feel overwhelmed with schoolwork. 

Check In With Yourself

It’s great that you want to learn how to be more productive in school. These 10 tips will get you started, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Check in with your mental and physical health periodically to find a healthy balance. Once you discover a few new ways to work more productively, you can conquer any assignment or exam.

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