Managing the steps toward your academic and professional future can be tricky, especially when you have other obligations – like family or work – that also require your time and attention. Being successful on a busy schedule depends heavily on finding ways to maximize study time and reduce stress.
Here are a few of our favorite tips for working toward your certificate or degree at South College.
1. Stay Organized
Whether you use a good old-fashioned paper day planner, a digital calendar, or an intricate collection of Post-It notes to stay on top of your tasks and deadlines, it helps to have reminders for everything you need to track, from final exams to study sessions. We recommend these 4 mobile apps to help you focus on your studies and unwind a little bit while you’re at it.
2. Follow a Plan
Now that you’ve got a system for staying on track and organized, find space in your busy life to schedule your studying. Rather than simply cramming in a few hectic minutes here and there when you’re able, set a dedicated time and duration to hit the books (or web, depending on your class format). Good planning is one of the best ways to maximize study time and reduce stress.
3. Learn How to Study
Setting aside time to get a handle on your class notes, reference material, and research is great, but you can also find ways to optimize your study habits in the time you have. Do some research and find strategies for effective studying. It may take some trial and error to find out which strategies work best for you, but once you find them, studying will become a lot easier and less stressful.
4. Treat Yourself Well
When you’re rushing to class, grabbing a bag of chips or sugary coffee on the go can seem like the best option. With a little planning, however, you can make sure that the fuel you put in your body also fuels your mind. Consider packing snacks that are study-friendly: convenient to eat, easy to store, tasty, and rich in nutrients.
- Organic granola
- Hummus and fresh vegetables
- Fruit, nuts, and cheese
- Hard-boiled eggs
Or course, substitute any healthy alternatives, if you have allergies. Also try to get a full night’s sleep and stay hydrated by drinking your daily recommended amount of water.
5. Minimize Distractions
It can be hard to disconnect for a little while, but removing distractions goes a long way toward helping you maximize study time and reduce stress. Do what you can to reduce noise by turning off the television and letting others in your space know that you need to focus. When social media or other sites get too tempting, you can use an app or browser extension that blocks you from visiting them for a set amount of time.
6. Give Yourself a Break
With all your obligations, remember not to be too hard on yourself. Taking the occasional step back is important to avoid burning out or getting frustrated. Go for a walk, play with your kids, do some yoga, or take a drive – anything that will allow you to clear your mind and relax. A good rule of thumb is to take a 10 to 15-minute break for very hour you study.
South College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award degrees at the doctoral, educational specialist, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate levels. Various programs at South College have also received program specific accreditation. Our campuses offer plenty of spaces for you to relax and get in some productive study time. Schedule a tour of one of our seven locations to visit the resource center/library, computer labs, classrooms, and other facilities.
Note: This post was originally published on 11/25/15. It has been updated with new content.