10 study tips for college students at home

A lot of struggling students have to study from home because of the pandemic. If you’re enrolled in a college in the USA that still hasn’t switched back to offline classes, we feel you. Staying productive is challenging for everyone, but it’s even harder if you have to study from home. Sure, there’s StudyTube and countless helpful services online, but not all of us have enough time to look for something that is the right fit for our needs. So if you need some extra assistance with staying productive while studying from home, check out these ten tips.

#1 Have a separate workspace

If there’s one thing StudyTube is right about is that the environment matters. Any professional psychologist or writer will tell you the same. We’ve all been tempted to just stay in bed and read the textbook from there. But the truth is, you will be much more productive if there’s no pillow anywhere near your head. Buy a cheap desk if you can, and if you can’t, even a kitchen table will do. What matters is to set it up as an actual workplace, with post-it notes and all.

#2 Stick to the same routine

If you have a regular schedule with classes at more or less the same time every day, perfect. But if you don’t, create your custom routine that matches your tasks and biorhythms. By sticking to the same schedule day after day, you make studying a habit not unlike working out or brushing your teeth. You won’t even notice how spending hours with your textbooks and essays will become an integral part of your day.

#3 Study consistently

This one is very similar but not quite the same. It’s not enough to sit at your desk for several hours every day. You need to actually be studying while doing so. For studying to become a habit, you need to train your brain to treat it like something that is unthinkable to miss. So no matter how uninspired you feel today, open that doc and add at least a couple more sentences to your essay. If you feel like you’re stuck, check out the samples on CustomWritings or another professional essay service you can find online.

#4 Start your week with a study plan

Another strategy that can help is to pre-plan your week in advance. Sure, Sundays are for doing nothing. But it’s still a good idea to find at least ten minutes to think about the upcoming week and divide your time between all the studying you have to do. A pro tip from all expert writers and procrastinators: do your most complex assignment first, preferably on Monday morning. Also, if you don’t know where to start with planning, try Notion or any free planning/note-taking service.

#5 Turn off your notifications

Yes, it’s tough, but putting your phone off and muting all notifications can do wonders for your academic performance. Once your studying session begins, any distraction can be fatal. We’ve all been there—what starts as a single text turns into half an hour spent on Instagram. Don’t let distractions ruin your hard work. It’s very unlikely that something life-changing happens in the three to four hours you spend reading and writing. The best idea is to leave your phone in another room completely so that you don’t abandon your English paper once the screen lights up.

#6 Take breaks

Here comes the fun part. As important as it is to study hard, never forget about taking breaks. Otherwise, you won’t even notice that you’ve lost your focus and productivity. Depending on your stamina, it’s okay to study nonstop for up to 90 minutes. But it’s better to take a ten-minute pause after every 50 minutes of work. Keep in mind, though, that not all breaks are created equal. The best ones are active. Do a dozen squats and lunges, or dance to your favorite song from this week’s top 40.

#7 Don’t take too many breaks

Listen to your body and brain when deciding on the order of your breaks. It’s perfectly fine to take rarer but longer ones if that’s something you like better than the 50/10 rule (check the Pomofocus website if you don’t know what that is). Most major companies allow employees to stay in control of their break schedule, so you totally deserve the same luxury. For example, if you feel motivated and are about to write a perfect conclusion to one of your papers, no need to stop. At the same time, don’t let your breaks be longer than your actual study time. That’s just cheating.

#8 Get yourself a study buddy

Studying loves company even more than misery does. Having a study partner is a great idea if you struggle with procrastination. They will hold you accountable and become an excellent sounding board who lets you know how good what you’ve just written from scratch is. Any student you are friends with can be a study buddy, but the best ones are those who aren’t afraid of being brutally honest. Their review skills will help you polish your essay to perfection.

#9 Find an ultimate study playlist

Admittedly, studying with some background music on isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but give it a try. Research suggests that certain sounds can improve your focus and memory, not to mention that they can be a perfect way to put yourself in the right mood. If you’re unsure of what playlist to choose, read other students’ reviews. Or better yet, create your own personalized one and update it every once in a while.

#10 Don’t neglect your beauty sleep

Even though this one isn’t particularly original, it’s perhaps the most important tip on this list. No matter how much you study, all your hard work will go to waste unless you give your body and mind enough time to rest. Eight hours of quality sleep a night is the least you need to fully regroup and be productive the next day. You’re probably not a night shift customer service employee, so don’t act like one.