As a student who is training for a career in healthcare, there’s a lot of material to study, learn and master. It can be a challenge if you’re a new student to get into the habit of studying regularly and getting organized for your study sessions. These tips could help you stay focused and be more productive as a student.
Recognize that multitasking is a bad idea.
Nowadays, it’s easy to fall into the habit of keeping social media and other information within arm’s reach. With the Internet and apps at our fingertips, it’s no surprise that this creates all kinds of new distractions for today’s students. Each time you stop studying to check your phone, that’s considered multitasking. And let’s look at that term for a moment. “Multitasking” has become a popular term, but is it really a good thing? Some studies suggest that humans are not very good at it.1 So if you really want to make progress toward getting that research done or preparing for that exam, you should consider focusing only on the task at hand, and put away the electronic devices that offer so many distractions.
Quick bursts to the finish line.
At the beginning of your study session, look at your assignments and break them into smaller tasks. Need to study for an exam? Divide the content into sections and study one section at a time, taking a short break inbetween.2 By doing this, you’ll start to enjoy the feeling of small accomplishments. That feeling can help fuel your motivation to keep moving forward and keep your mind feeling fresh.
Prioritize your to-do list.
Maybe you already use to-do lists. It’s an organized way to make sure you don’t forget something important and it feels very rewarding to put a check next to each item when they’re complete. But do you actually put a number next to each item to show priority? What are the chances that the list you write down is actually in order of importance? Taking the extra time to number your list can actually help you become more productive.3 This practice can become an important skill for nurses who have to make split-second decisions every day about what important task deserves their immediate attention.
Tackle what’s in front of you.
Sometimes it can be easy to get stressed out about what’s around the next corner. How can you concentrate on reading new material when you know there’s an exam on other material next week? We all know that feeling of distraction from pressure. However, people who have learned how to become very productive tell us that the trick is to tackle the task in front of you (if you’ve already prioritized) and worry about the other stuff later.4 If you have a good system in place for studying and prioritizing, focusing on completing the next task will be easier for you.