Currently completing my third bachelor degree I have had many years of practice as a student, which means lots of time to get it right. Believe me there were a lot of times I got it horribly wrong. Sometimes motivation can run low in all areas, especially during exams or when assignments are due. This is the best advice I can give you, and I wish someone had given it to me when I first started studying:
From personal experience sometimes there is lack of funds to get a gym membership or even getting access to a gym if you are sans motor vehicle. Don’t dismay there are still so many things that you can do that are cost effective and easy to do at home. Go for a run, walk, bike ride, park further from class, take the stairs. Simple body weight circuits can be done at home with next to no equipment at all. Exercise improves circulation, drains your lymphatic system, fills you with happy hormones, helps to give you better mental clarity and is good for you.
30-45 minutes of exercise each day is not the difference between a pass and fail
It is so easy to convince yourself that you need to stay at your desk and not move. Be honest with yourself. How much do you procrastinate while studying? Checking Facebook, Instagram, twitter, suddenly becoming engrossed in a Netflix TV series that you just want to finish watching. Seriously 30-45 minutes of activity and getting outside will make you feel less stressed, will give you more energy to study and better clarity.
How to study
I treat study like exercise. I know there is only a certain element of time that I am going to be productive. Write a list of everything that you need to do for the day, next to the list allocate what needs to be done today (A), can be done tomorrow (B) or when you get around to it (D). And then allocate the importance of the task numerically. For example an A1 task is what I will start on immediately, moving straight on to an A2 and a D7 task I will be finished last and maybe not until next week. Once I have a plan I give myself intervals of time to study. I like 25-minute blocks with 3-5 minutes rest in between to get a coffee, stretch my legs. After 4 intervals of 25 minutes I will have a 15-30 minute break this will be to have lunch do a little workout, catch up on work emails or scroll through social media.
Create a plan and set goals
I like to create a study plan. With the subjects I am going to attack each day and for how long I estimate it will take. It is always good to keep this fluid; as sometimes certain things take a little more time than anticipated. Have a goal for the week where you would like to be (be realistic), and then rewards for when you get there.
What better to do on a study break than start food prepping!? Probably one of the greatest forms of study procrastination. You need to eat whatever works for your body. I promise you that it is not 2kg of chocolate and a family size bag of m&m’s. Try a whole food diet, low in preservatives and additives to help provided the right nutrient balance.
I am not a great sleeper at the best of times. Owning and running two gyms means that I am either up super early or home relatively late, which isn’t great in forming healthy sleep habits. Trying to get at least 6-7 hours sleep per night - where you are actually unconscious. Will help so much with concentration the next day. Mini naps (30-45 minutes) also work a treat if you are feeling really flat.
Do life things
Studying should not mean you have to lock yourself in your room in your boyfriend’s track pants, not having brushed your hair for a week. Sometimes we do need to put our social life to bed temporarily, remember it is only temporary. You can still do little social outings, get outside and have a picnic, buy a coffee, have breakfast with friends. Socialising is integral to keep you balanced mentally. If you stick to a study plan- like above- prioritising social events is just as important. That being said, having a blinder of a night and expecting to study early the next morning is unrealistic. Be sensible. There will be plenty of time to let your hair down once exams and assignments are finished.