So it is the quarantine. And you have been sequestered at home. You have learnt how to dance, sing, write and draw. You have completed all the chores there are to do, and swept all the floors. There is literally nothing left to do. Except for that dreaded monster. Study. You have to study, have had to for weeks, even months now, but you have been successfully avoiding it. Until now. Time is running out. You need to realize, it’s not going to go anywhere unless you sit down and actually tackle it. And like all chores, it only feels menacing as it is at a great distance from you. When you do get down to the roots of it, studies aren’t asren’t as scary as you would think.
Now, before you begin, you need to plan your course of action. And a course of action of yours, has to depend on your studying habits and time management skills. Managing time effectively actually frees up your life in ways you would find unimaginable now. Prepare a questionnaire for yourself, and then customize your own timetable to stick to. To make it easier, we’ll pose the questions for you, and you can answer and analyse for yourself.
Are you studying something that is more analytical such as Mathematics, or something more theoretical like History or the languages?
The type of subject you are tackling demands different environments from you. We are not talking about a physical environment. What we are dealing with is a more mental environment. Suppose you have to study history. History is not an especially demanding subject. You can make notes, walk around the room, reading out loud and memorizing. And in the end, you can enlist a family member’s help to check your memory.
But, if it is a more analytical subject like maybe Mathematics or Physics, you need to really rack your brain. Your neurons are constantly firing and your brain is actually putting in a lot of work for each problem you do. A small tid-bit for you, why do you think practice makes perfect? Basically, when you perform a certain activity, a new neural pathway is uncovered that follows the procedure, emotions and responses attached to the activity.
So when you practice, it’s like making this a well-worn path so that it doesn’t get unfamiliar soon. And maths and other analytical subjects demand this type of practice too. Practicing more means you create and utilize neural pathways well, not forgetting certain procedures. And when you practice so much, your brain finds it easier to create new neural pathways without stressing the brain too much.
But even activities like this require a lot of energy. Analytical subjects can be practiced for an hour at maximum before you would need to give your brain some rest. But well, that is the content for the next topic. So sit tight for the next question.
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Have you been studying for a minimal amount of time since the start of the quarantine or have you been completely avoiding it?
Your habit also paves a way to the kind of timetable you will need to create. Have you been studying a nominal amount since the quarantine started? If so, then you just need to slowly increase the bar and get to where you need to be. Be warned, right now, our brains are in a fragile state with all the uncertainty going around and it’s okay if you dip sometimes. Studying for a total of two hours a day is also great, as long as you utilize the entirety of the two hours.
If you have been completely avoiding studies, there are some ways you can get back into it. Regardless of what you are studying for, there are some subjects that will always be close to your heart. To stimulate your interest back into the subject, begin with these, and then slowly but surely, move on to the rest.
How many breaks do you take in your allotted time? And how fleshed out are these breaks?
How many breaks you take also plays a crucial role in the amount of work you get done. It is not specifically about you studying less. It is not even about the amount of time you have left. It is about your discipline. There are a lot of posts on social media that have been going around saying that even if you don’t get work done, it is alright. And yes. They are quite right. If you are consciously not well, physically or mentally, leave the studies. Tackle them some other time. However, take the time to introspect. Are you using this argument as an excuse? Are you really not well, or is it just the lethargy talking?
Suppose you take frequent breaks, each of ten to fifteen minutes maximum and you still find yourself not completing much of anything. That is most definitely because of the number of breaks you have been taking. When you sit down to study and keep taking breaks, the brain invalidates the number of breaks taken using the simple idea that since each break is so short, it isn’t really eating into your study time.
But it is. Your fifteen minutes repeating for twenty times translate to a total of 5 hours per day, which is a quarter of a day.
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What if I take long breaks?
Taking long breaks is a better choice, but here you need to be very careful with how you time them. Any break longer than forty five minutes can induce a complete sense of lethargy and if your body is convincing enough, you will end up abandoning studies for that day. Also during these breaks, refrain from using any gadgets and instead take power naps. They rejuvenate and give your brain time to completely rest.
Other than these, some general rules that you should follow are to study in a quiet, cool place, have frequent drinks of water, and take adequate breaks. You could take notes to better retain the information. Look up videos on youtube or streaming apps like spotify for study music which helps calm your mind and get you into the study mode.