By Archana Venugopal
As the quarter finishes, the time for finals is arriving and we all know how difficult it is to simply sit down and study. With daily distractions ranging from texting friends to catching up on the latest episode of our favorite show, it’s nearly impossible to focus solely on our studies. Yet, even with all the ways to put off reading chapters from our books, we know that we must finally focus if we really want to ace that class. Here are a few tips for getting started and kicking that procrastination habit.
Start by making a schedule for the day of what you need to study — not just a to-do list, but a legitimate schedule with specific subjects at specific times. It doesn’t matter if you can’t follow the schedule to the dot; just having a set time-table of what you need to accomplish helps keep you more on task and in focus.
Next, prioritize. It’s easy to waste time by completing simpler tasks for other classes, especially when they’re not due for another week. Trying to justify that you’re still being “productive” is not going to help you finish studying for the calculus common final tomorrow or the essay you need to submit to Turnitin.com at midnight. Make sure to place the important things first in order to ensure a successful study day.
Next, keep off of Facebook, Tumblr, Gmail, Skype, Twitter, Reddit and whatever other possible distractions are bookmarked on your computer. You could reward yourself two minutes of relaxation before you start studying, but that couple of minutes can turn into a couple of hours real quick. This doesn’t mean that you have to stay off the computer forever, just hold off on the cute cat videos and Facebook stalking until you’ve completed any major study tasks. That way, you can enjoy your guilty pleasures without any of the guilt.
Another amazing study tool is to listen to music while reviewing. While there are a few people who can only work in complete silence, plenty of people love to rock out to their favorite tunes to get pepped up for studying, but don’t let the music be a distraction. If you get sleepy easy, put on the fast tracks that keep you energized. If you can’t help but sing along, play something without lyrics. Make sure to find music that helps your studying instead of hindering it.
Studying with friends can be extremely helpful when utilized properly. Teaching others a concept is the best way to learn it yourself, and your friends can be the best students you can find. However, it’s very easy to get off topic and to lose sight of your goal of studying, even when only one friend is not motivated to study. To make sure that all of you won’t procrastinate, be sure to study somewhere with as little distractions as possible, such as a library, and to limit time with the computer. Studying together with handwritten notes or straight from the textbook will decrease your chances of being distracted.
Another important factor in not procrastinating is finding the perfect spot to really get your nerd on. If you’re the type who enjoys a completely silent environment when studying, the Ayala Science Library is perfect — it even has individual tables on several floors in order to keep distractions out of sight and out of mind. If you prefer a more comfortable and casual study area, try Langson Library. With their cozy couches and open desks, it’ll be easy to whisper questions to a friend when studying together. If you’re fonder of the outdoors, try the benches behind the Science Library. Yes, the statues are a little distracting, but with the right amount of sun and shade, you’ll be reading your book or practicing problems like a pro and completely ready for your tests.
Lastly, make sure to take a break every once in a while. You’re only human, and it’s very difficult to keep your brain running for an entire day, even with the help of friends. Every few hours, allow yourself some time on the Internet, get up and dance to your music, or even watch a half hour of your favorite show. Just be sure to stay on track with your study schedule and you’ll beat that procrastination habit and begin acing your finals in no time.