3 December 2015
With finals coming up in just a couple weeks, a lot of students start planning their studying schedules. However, there’s an important factor to take into consideration when making a plan: when do you study best?
You’ve heard of “morning” and “night” people, right? Some people simply function better in the morning than at night while others struggle to get out of bed in the morning but have no problem burning the midnight oil.
Each individual has times during the day when their brain is more alert and they’re able to assimilate and process information as well as create and produce. Trying to push through during the other hours can not only be unproductive, it can also be counter-productive. That’s because the study session won’t have been successful, leading to burn-out and discouragement.
Finding out the best time to study can help you make the most of your limited time during finals season.
Why It Matters During Finals
During finals period, this concept is particularly relevant. By identifying when you’re most alert, you can plan a study schedule that allows you to maximize your productivity. You can choose to rest or do other activities during your less productive hours to make sure you can make the most out of your “on” time.
How To Identify Your Most Productive Time
Most people have an instinct for when they’re most productive. If you tend to be bright and ready for the day in the morning but hit a slump after lunch, and tend to knock off early, falling asleep while reading at 9p.m., you can assume that mornings are your best time.
If mornings are tough for you and you generally need a landslide of caffeine to get you moving, slowly working your way up to speed as the day wears on and peaking at night after dinner, then your nights will be your most productive times.
Some people have slow mornings and early nights but tend to burst with energy in the afternoons. In that case, your most productive time will be during the afternoon.
Of course, the best way to be sure is to test this theory out. Choose to study in the morning, afternoon and night and see which one works best for you. If you have the chance to give this a test drive before the finals season hits, it could really help you make the most out of your study time.
How Can You Maximize Your Productive Hours?
Once you discover your best working time, you should find ways to guard that precious time. Eliminate or at least limit your distractions as much as possible. A quiet, isolated place to study would be ideal so you don’t run the risk of friends or family members interrupting you. Turning off phones or putting them on silent or vibrate is also a helpful way to keep distractions to a minimum. Don’t tempt yourself with social media during these hours, either. Leave that for another time.
Create a Pattern
If you can create and stick to a schedule, it will be even more beneficial to your productivity. Adhering to a specific plan every day helps trigger the brain into “work mode” when it’s time for serious studying and can enhance your productivity even more. The more consistent you are, the better your work sessions will be. Don’t just be consistent with your work, though.
Being consistent with the things you do outside of your studying hours is also important. Exercise, eating, and sleeping routines also help keep the brain and body in top running condition.
Many successful writers keep consistent schedules. Acclaimed author Haruki Murakami keeps a rigorous schedule of waking at 4am, writing for five or six hours, running or swimming or both and then reading and listening to music. Bed-time is 9:00pm. He describes this process of bringing himself into a kind of a trance with a repetitive pattern that he can rely on every day.
Whichever time of day is best for your studies, make sure to get the most out of it by limiting distractions and making the most of your “off” time as well.
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