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  • Savnit Pannu

How To Remain Productive & Avoid Procrastination During Your Undergrad

A full course load and other commitments outside of school, including work and volunteering, can get overwhelming. Oftentimes, students are left pulling all-nighters to complete assignments at the last minute.

Not to mention that the workload and expectation of students in university is completely different from what is expected in high school. Thus, the first year can be hard and you may need to change up your study routine!

Here are some of the study habits I have developed through my time here at Simon Fraser University!

Divide and Conquer:

School can get busy, and it is normal to fall behind on some readings or lecture notes. However, try to avoid leaving everything to the last minute. Your performance will more likely be poorer if you are to work under pressure and time constraints. Instead, try dividing up your work at the start of the week in reasonable chunks. I would suggest using a planner for this. I like to use physical paper planners because I like to write down what I need to get done and cross off each task. However, there are many templates available online which can be downloaded to your laptop or iPad!

Study in Increments:

Start assignments earlier and work in small increments instead of trying to complete everything in one sitting. It’s important to take breaks while working, remember your brain needs to rest. I suggest using the 45 minutes on and 15 minutes off method. You will find that you are more focused and less distracted, so set a timer and get to work!

Study Groups:

Sometimes it’s helpful to go study as a group because you feel like you are held more accountable for staying on task. Study groups are especially helpful during exam season since you can test each other on course content. Not to mention that this is also a great way to make new friends in your department!

Find a place to study:

Do you enjoy studying in a quiet place like the library or somewhere with more background noise such as a coffee shop? Whichever it may be, I suggest that you find an environment you feel most productive in and stick to it!

However, I recommend that you absolutely avoid studying in your bedroom since you are more likely to feel tired or distracted next to your bed. Instead, I suggest that you work somewhere else and keep your bedroom as a place of relaxation.

In terms of what time you should choose to study would entirely depend on your schedule. Some days you may start working earlier around 8 a.m., yet on other days you may not start until noon. The only time I suggest avoiding is midnight or anything later because sleep is important, and your brain isn’t going to function as well after a long day.

Remove yourself from distractions:

Turn your phone off or put it on “do not disturb”, you are more likely to reach for your phone when you hear it vibrate or ring. Also avoid listening to music or watching a television show while studying for a test or taking notes. Dividing your attention can cause you to misinterpret material and/or prohibit you from retaining the information.

Don’t let assignment deadlines and exam season get the best of you!

Remember what works for me might not work for you, these are just some suggestions. Everyone has a different method of studying, so I advise you try new styles and see what best fits your lifestyle.

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