Back to school season can be a chaotic time—but it can also be comforting. With each September comes new books, new goals, and a new schedule. There’s a regularity that most of us miss as soon as we leave school, and though it can feel a little constraining when you’re still a student in the grind, it brings each of us closer together. That’s why it’s so important to figure out how to get the most out of your student career while you’re still in it, using things like this handy student guide to productivity.
These tips are designed to help students stay focused throughout the school year, in spite of global events, life stressors, and friendship upheaval. (It happens to the best of us!) No one can say what’s going to happen in the future, but every student deserves to hit their own, personal flow state at school. Every single student deserves to get as much enjoyment and immersion out of their learning process as possible, and hopefully, these tips can help get you there!
The fundamentals of a student guide to productivity: Keep a reliable schedule
Anyone who’s ever struggled with procrastination knows that keeping a steady schedule can change your life. It’s true: just like cats and dogs, human beings thrive on routine. We love knowing what’s going to happen and when. Just like wearing the same outfit everyday (hey there, Steve Jobs), a comfortable routine frees up extra brain-power for the things we really to use it for—things like memorizing facts and taking notes.
Your reliable schedule starts with a great night of sleep. There are a number of different sleeping tips that you can try, such as taking melatonin before bed or studying only in your office (not in your sheets)! However, an easy way to hack your sleeping schedule might just start with a little bit of light and sound.
Sleep lights like the iHome Zenergy help cast your body into sleep and wakefulness with sensory cues. Soft sounds can mask obtrusive ones, like traffic and voices, while gentle lighting changes can help rouse you from a REM cycle. Keeping a regular sleeping pattern sets you up with the energy you need to tackle student life.
Aside from sleep, keeping to a schedule for your other major daytime events can also help you be productive. Having breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day helps segment your day into manageable chunks. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady, preventing evening grumpiness as you begin to tackle your homework!
Invest in the tech you need for student productivity
Beyond sleep, there are a number of tech tools that can help you boost your productivity as a student. (So many that you can hardly make a student guide to productivity without at least a few!) Nowadays, you need more than just a notebook and a pen to get the most out of your school day. Elementary school students might benefit from noise-cancelling headphones to help them focus while they do their homework in a busy house, and undergrads may need a computer with enough juice to handle large files and video lectures.
When you’re selecting a laptop or other technology for back to school, make sure to choose a product that’s an investment in your future. You don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles of a light-up keyboard, but you do absolutely need a computer that can support a video chat with your professors. If you can, try to ensure that your computer or your child’s computer is up-to-date and able to keep up with fast-paced classes, and regularly back up your notes and work to an external hard drive or cloud storage. The antithesis of productivity is losing your whole semester of work the night before it’s due!
Another awesome benefit to studying in the modern world? You can play your notes back using text-to-speech or sound recordings. It’s a time-saving option for auditory learners, and can make your studying sessions even more productive when paired with reading and organizing your notes.
Study break ideas to maximize your productivity
Breaking up your day is another key part of staying productive—and that’s meant in the most literal sense! Not only do you need to break up your studying sessions in order to stay on-task, but study breaks can be instrumental in a student’s success. Setting simple alarms that remind you to get up, stretch, walk around, or play a quick game on your phone can help you get the most out of your day.
Short studying breaks can help distinguish different categories of information in your mind: for instance, when pivoting from studying biology to working on an English essay. Short study breaks include things like a single-round game of cards, playing 15 minutes of your favourite RPG, or watching just a section of a TV show that you know and love. (Think Uno and The Office, not cribbage and The Wire!)
Longer studying breaks are more for your mental health than they are for your immediate mental acuity. They help you rest and relax your brain, which plays a role in sedimenting memories and solving problems. Longer study breaks leave you feeling refreshed, and help your brain pivot from work time to full relaxation time. They include things like playing a board game or watching a long episode of television, but beware: you’ll have to stay on top of your schedule to make sure they don’t take over your day!
Get exercise when following your student guide to productivity… Even during finals
Another great way to take a break during stressful periods of your life is to get out of your office chair and exercise. This can include anything that you enjoy that also works your body out, from playing basketball to hiking on a nearby trail. Some exercise options are more accessible, like stretching in your bedroom on a yoga mat, while others are more equipment-dependent, like running on the treadmill.
Getting enough exercise can improve your mood, your mental acuity, and your sleep schedule. It’s one of those amazing life features that, when done in the right amount, works to improve your whole life. Juicing your brain up with dopamine and serotonin helps you focus, which helps improve your productivity in turn.
You can’t purchase productivity, but you sure can add some productivity-enhancing tools to your student life. This school year, shop with confidence for Back to School season with Best Buy.