How to work and study efficiently


Woman reads a book on a wooden desk. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

Daphne L.

After an early morning, eight hours of school, and after school events, the last thing most students want to do is go home and do homework or study. However, it’s a necessary part of getting an education, and learning how to work and study efficiently and productively can help students learn valuable self-discipline skills. Studying may not be fun, but there are certainly some ways that you can make it a little easier on yourself.

1. Find music you can listen to while you work

A recent study (conducted by CSU Global, an online university), showed that people who listen to music while studying are more likely to have a GPA over 3.2. The same study showed that half of Americans listen to music while studying. Of the people who listen to music, 81% said it helped them enjoy learning more, 80% said it was therapeutic and 75% said it helped them absorb information. Music listeners even said that they felt more prepared for class and felt better taking tests.

A lot of people enjoy instrumental music to study to, especially more calming music such as songs within the classical genre. Piano or classical renditions of songs you are familiar with can be a good way to let your brain focus more on the schoolwork you’re doing since you know the song already but it is in a more relaxing format. Depending on the person studying and the task, different music can be helpful at different times.

2. Create reasonable goals for yourself

Simply telling yourself to study isn’t the best way to go about it. If you don’t give yourself a goal, you’re more likely to get distracted or stop studying sooner, or just get disappointed because the end will never be in sight if there is no end.

You should give yourself a reasonable goal for studying so that you can commit yourself to a certain amount of time. You can also use a Pomodoro technique to reward yourself intermittently during your work, like the 25-5 minute timer. This allows you to work for 25 minutes without distractions and then spend 5 minutes doing something else, like scrolling on social media, answering texts, or taking a short walk. This gives you something to look forward to and stimulates your brain to help you keep going.

3. Eliminate distractions

While you’re working, try to eliminate any distractions you might face. Arguably the biggest distraction today’s students face is phones. Although it’s extremely tempting to leave your notifications on and keep your phone right next to you, it’s best to silence it and even put it somewhere else if that helps you not to check it (this might also convince you to get up to stretch and get your phone during study breaks). If noises around you seem to be a frequent problem, you may want to consider getting noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones to block it out, even if you choose not to listen to music. You can also just try moving your location to somewhere quieter.

4. Make studying enjoyable

Even though studying certainly isn’t a desirable task, it can be made more enjoyable in many ways. Put time and effort into your environment, music, and general studying experience to give yourself something to look forward to during studying. This can look different for different people. Some may enjoy going outside to study, while others may prefer a dim room with candles to focus.