Despite the pause on physical social interactions imposed by lockdowns and social distancing, life is still accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Speed dating, power naps, and apps to help us manage and save time have not helped. All the promises to save time, made by vendors of high tech devices have not created more time for us – overall time is a scarcer resource. Recently a company in New Zealand invented drive-through funerals, and as ridiculous as that sounds, they have made money.
We “make time”, by waking up earlier and working later and limiting leisure time. Just getting through all our obligations and demands seems to take more and more time. When on earth can we find time to study? To help address this, we’ve compiled a few tricks and methods which you can hopefully adopt to make this a little easier.
Technology has become an inextricable part of our lives, but how often do we make the most of what we have under our noses? The kindest thing you could probably do for yourself would be to declutter your desk and create a neat, clear workspace, so that you can focus, without looking through stacks of papers or wading through a mess. An inviting clean workspace or an uncluttered place that you can work at for a few hours will help.
Computer literacy has always been a valuable skill, and in the case of remote learning, it can save you lots of crucial time if you know how to use a computer effectively so that you can make the most of the time you set aside to learn.
One of the hardest obstacles to overcome when studying online is establishing a routine. It takes time and self-discipline to craft a schedule that you respect and stick to. Thankfully, this process can be streamlined by asking yourself one question: how do I work best? The question might seem silly at first and you might jump to the obvious answers: “I work best at a desk” or maybe “I prefer to work with clear deadlines”. Experiment with what the best time for you is to study. If you find that you work much better in shorter bursts throughout the day, embrace it. Studies have shown that the brain is most spongy and able to process information in the hour following good sleep. So, if you feel like you need rest, sleep first and then work smart and make it part of your schedule.
Self-care makes all the difference. Studying and learning are hard tasks that require a lot of energy. A healthy diet along with a good sleep schedule and exercise program will go a long way in helping to strengthen your attention span and ability to dedicate valuable and productive study hours. Even small, mindful changes like paying attention to your posture will eventually add up and result in benefits. Self-care also means making sure you live with a sense of balance. Social time is encouraged, especially during a time where isolation is becoming worryingly common. Study groups are a great way to satisfy social needs while simultaneously furthering your learning schedule. Social learning is a powerful tool that helps with the absorption of information and social learning opportunities should be used to their full advantage when possible. Some CPS programmes have built-in social learning requirements and you should make the most of these. Alternatively, create your own study groups for discussion and debate.
“Pay yourself first”. This is a popular phrase in personal finance that also applies to studying. Time is scarce so allocate time to your studies first. Ultimately, the old-fashioned pearls of wisdom surrounding studying also apply to online learning. The key is to augment these old strategies with modern technologies and an understanding of how the brain works. Efficient use of technology, a good routine, self-care and quiet study space, if possible, as well as prioritising your time around studying are just a few tricks you can use to ensure you make time to study in a world moving at a rapid pace. First, take care of your learning and your learning will take care of you.