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Work Smarter: Save Time and Conquer Procrastination

There are twenty-four hours in one day. Now let’s start subtracting. How many hours do you spend sleeping, eating and working? How about the extracurriculars you are in on campus? Also, don’t forget the time you spend on social media…How many hours are you left with for studying? Probably not many, right?

Below, are some tips for working smarter and conquering procrastination. Let me know if these work for you too!

TIP #1: BOUNDARIES

Make sure to set rules for yourself and stick with them once you do. If you know you have a test coming up on Thursday, you’re going to need to focus. Let your friends and family know that you will be busy studying for a few hours to lessen any distractions. Set your phone on either silent or vibrate mode and place it somewhere across the room (if you are in your home) or in your backpack so that you aren’t tempted to scroll through any messages or social media. If you have a planner, mark the time blocks you aren’t busy and reserve them for studying. One more thing, if you are using your laptop for studying make sure you are actually doing your work. The only person who is going to struggle is you if you can’t stay on task.

TIP #2: START ASSIGNMENTS AS SOON AS CLASS IS OVER

Or as soon as you can. My advisor said that when she was in college, she’d start her assignments as soon as her class was over to cut the amount of time she’d have to work on them at home. On the days I do this, I come home feeling less overwhelmed. There are so many spots on our campus to study. We have the ACCESS Center in Clark Hall 240, our marvelous MLK library featuring a quiet 6th, 7th, and 8th floor, the computer lab on the first floor of Clark Hall (you’ll see it once you walk in; EOP is on the left), CASA in MacQuarrie Hall 533, the Student Union and more. My favorite study spot is the ACCESS center in Clark Hall because it is quiet and there is also a food pantry located inside where you can grab a snack.

TIP #3: FLASHCARDS

Flashcards are awesome. They’re convenient and portable pieces of paper you can stuff in your backpack and pull out when you need a quick knowledge refresher. What you write on the flashcards is what is most important. Try bullet points or short sentences on the subject you are working with. I like to quiz myself with flashcards and I’ll usually write a question on the blank side with the correct answer on the side with lines. There are many ways to personalize your flashcards to maximize your learning experience. For example, if there is a passage you just read that you are trying to make sense of you can always write down the words you need help understanding, look them up in the dictionary and write the definition down. Drawing images of what you are learning can also help you keep some of that information.

TIP #4: MAKE A SWAP

If you spend one hour on social media, you can swap that hour for a study session. If you really want to beat this procrastination, you’re going to need to sacrifice some of that time. Try downloading apps like Quizlet, Google Docs, Google Drive, a dictionary app, or My Study Life. These apps were created with students in mind and will help you get some time in for learning. Plus, they save you time. One time, I wrote my entire essay on the Google Doc app while on the bus and it saved me forty-five minutes. I have spent a lot of time on YouTube, but once I cut back on that time I realized I had more free time.

TIP #5: THE SYLLABUS

The syllabus is the key. You have your professor’s office hours, location, email and they’ve outlined the entire class for you. Your professors are there to help you succeed and pass their class. Ask them questions when you are uncertain about an assignment, lecture, or reading. This will save you a lot of time, and you will be more certain that you are going on the right track.

TIP #6: SLEEP

Don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep. It helps you retain the information that you have learned. Good quality sleep can help you stay alert in class and will help navigate you through your day. I like to set my phone on my desk, next to my alarm clock that way I am not tempted to use it at night. If I can, I usually get about seven hours of sleep a night. When I get less than seven hours of sleep, I am not in a good mood, I am falling asleep in class and I go through the entire day feeling like I need another nap. Point is, sleep is important!

If you have more tips on studying and beating procrastination, feel free to share your thoughts! We have a Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat! Make sure to follow us at @HerCampusSJSU for all social media platforms mentioned previously. Have a good semester Spartans!

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