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Ways To Break Bad Study Habits

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Bad study habits are, unfortunately, abundant in the life of the typical high school or college student. The threat of a far-off deadline can lull you in to a false sense of security, and when that occurs, you don’t do the incremental things needed to prepare you for those upcoming challenges. There are also numerous distractions that can steal away our attention and cause us to lose focus. If you struggle with this sort of thing, we recommend you start taking back control today. Here are some ways to do just that.

1. Identify distractions.

What gives you the most difficulties and stands in the way of your study time? Is it television, the Internet, a significant other? It’s important to know what people and/or things are vying for your time now so that you can plan for them and minimize the effect they have on your academic journey.

2. Set the right priorities.

It can be difficult setting the right priorities when there are so many other activities that you’d rather be doing, so many people you’d rather be around. But you have to adopt a long-term view of what your life is going to be like and realize that what may make you happy presently fails to help you accomplish long-term goals. Start with what you want to do as a career. Log a career path that will help you get there. Know how each course fits in to that overall plan, even if it’s nothing more than “required of me to graduate” at the level that you will need for getting into a certain school or program.

3. Be clear about your goals to others.

Surround yourself with people, who will work with you to help you accomplish your goals. Anyone, who willingly stands in your way, obviously doesn’t care about your priorities, and you should reevaluate where that relationship fits in your life. Make sure that the people in your inner circle know what is important to you, what you have to do to accomplish those items of importance, and that each one is on your team in helping you do so.

4. Get away from distracting environments.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are a special case when it comes to work environments. The vast majority of students study less effectively in front of a television or while listening to distracting music. They need to be in an environment conducive to thought. A quiet location free from distractions — like television and unrestrained Internet — is a much better choice for accomplishing your academic goals. There may be times when you absolutely need Internet access for your research, but be smart about it. Keep a list of the websites that are particularly distracting for you, and then use an app like SelfControl to prevent access to those sites for however long you plan on studying. This will dramatically improve your productivity.

5. Set both short- and long-term goals.

An example of a short-term goal might be to learn the prepositions in the English language. An example of a long-term goal would be to learn all the parts of speech. You need to have a vision for where you’re going as well as a knowledge of how the incremental steps you encounter along the way play in to helping you accomplish each long-term goal that you set for yourself.

6. Do the work.

As a student, there can be a temptation to get wrapped up in the planning and forget that you actually have to sit down at some point and do the work. Well, you don’t necessarily have to sit down for it. There has been a large movement towards standing desks as our society gets more sedentary and work requires less physical exertion. However you choose to do it, though, you need to quit thinking about it and planning it out at some point and actually dig in.

7. Break for physical activity.

Last but not least, breaking bad study habits almost certainly requires physical activity. You cannot put in too much uninterrupted time in front of a computer or with your nose in a book or periodical without losing sight of the objective. Your body needs as much stimulation as your mind does in order to stay sharp, so get up every 20 or 30 minutes and go for a walk or incorporate some other form of physical action. This will keep your brain alert for extended periods of time.