Popular tried-and-true study tips don’t work for everybody. During your time at UBC, you’re probably going to forget a deadline or two, and be less productive than you planned to be. It’s okay. Be kind to yourself and use these tips to make your study plans more realistic and sustainable for even the most burned out versions of yourself.
CONQUER SMALL TASKS FIRST
Pick three priority tasks for your to-do list each day. Look at everything else as a bonus so you can create realistic expectations for what you’ll get done. Gamifying your study plan and giving yourself a little treat for tasks you finish makes studying more fun in the moment.
ACCOUNT FOR LOW ENERGY LEVELS
Design three types of daily routines according to how much energy they’ll require: a high, medium or low level. Each day, do the routine you have the energy for. If it’s a high energy day, you can knock that gym-studying-meal-prep agenda out of the way! But if you can recognize that it’s a low energy day, it’s okay to skip the gym, eat something simple and skim your class readings. Give yourself time to recover after doing high energy tasks and take it easy by doing low energy tasks when you’re feeling meh.
Sometimes you’ll be ready for a nine hour study session and other days you won’t even want to look at a book. Creating routines for different circumstances can help you get over the mental hump of having to start studying.
SCHEDULE IN STUDY TIME
Plan weekly work hours for each course and schedule them like meetings so you’re always spending at least a little time each week on each of your courses. This could mean setting up recurring study sessions with classmates from specific courses.
While studying, use a visual timer (like Pomodoro) to track your study and break times to combat time blindness. You can also “body double” with friends — this means you study with them around to hold yourself accountable to completing your tasks. You can also send your study buddies your to-do lists and ask them to follow-up with you to keep on track.
KEEP TRACK OF DATES AND DEADLINES
Putting a whiteboard calendar somewhere you naturally look every day, like next to your mirror or on your fridge, can help remind you of deadlines you might otherwise forget.
Schedule office hours with your instructors to and clearly state in your email beforehand what work you want to complete and discuss (e.g. a first draft) at your session to fight procrastination with more externalized, intermediate and low-stakes deadlines.
Try to spend some time every day doing something you love outside of academics. Besides that, schedule at least one rest day per week where you can just do some self-care and work on your hobbies, even if it’s just for a couple hours. Studying is easier when you’re not miserable, and taking care of yourself is important too.