Exam practice. Revision. Essay writing. Whether you’re preparing for school exams, or university study, being a student involves a lot of work.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to see exactly what needs to be done, and you might find yourself struggling with certain tasks. The importance of organised study is underestimated.
A daily planner is a major organisation tool to help students improve productivity - and here’s why.
How to Help Students Improve Productivity Through Routines
Routines seem boring at first glance. Doing the same thing, day in day out. Truth is, routines are the real key to success. The phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ might seem old-fashioned, but there’s actually a lot of truth to it.
If you complete a task at a certain time each day, it gradually becomes an integral part of your day, and you keep doing it. Productivity often dips because students don’t structure their days consistently to maximise their productivity.
Analyse your work patterns in your daily planner. Are you an early riser who likes to study with a cup of green tea in the morning? Are you a night owl, whizzing through your essays in the early hours?
Early mornings can be a great time to begin study, but sometimes it’s more helpful to listen to your body clock.
How long can you work without losing concentration? 1hr, 40mins, 20mins? Be honest with yourself about how long you can work at your best, and then prepare to maximise your working time.
For example, if you work best in short 20 minute slots, don’t be afraid to work in the way that suits you. Work for 20 minutes, give yourself a 5 minute break, then work for another 20 minutes.
The most important thing to avoid is allowing your break time and work time to mix. Work consistently, then break. Keeping your routine as consistent as possible, so the process becomes second nature, is key to helping students improve productivity.
Using the MIT Method in Your Daily Planner
Another way to help students improve productivity is through prioritizing. Sometimes we have so many tasks to complete that our head starts to spin.
If you set yourself too much work, there’s no way you’ll get it all done in one day. Work smarter not harder. Instead of overfacing yourself, focus on the MITs - the Most Important Tasks.
Write down the three most important tasks you want to accomplish today. Don’t be tempted to write more. Focus on just those three. This way, instead of completing nothing - you at least complete your most important tasks.
To figure out what your MITs are, think about your main goal. What is it that you’re working towards? Is ‘eat fifteen jam doughnuts’ really the task that’s going to help you write your essay?
These MITs might be slightly more relevant.
- Research the essay question
- Jot down 5 quotes to include in the essay
- Write outline for the main points of the essay
Once you have your goals in mind, you need to be sure they’re actually achievable within the day.
The whole purpose of MITs is to ensure that you can actually set goals in your daily planner to complete within a fixed timeframe. Setting SMART goals is a great way to ensure your goals are manageable, helping students improve productivity.
Setting Achievable Study Goals with the SMART Method
SMART is a series of guidelines for setting goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-sensitive. Following these guidelines ensures that your study goals are realistic to complete. Check that each of the three MIT tasks in your daily planner fit the criteria.
Are they specific? e.g. ‘I will draft an outline for my essay.’
Can you measure when they are complete? e.g. ‘I will be finished when the outline is complete’.
How can you split the goals down to make them achievable? e.g. ‘I will write an outline of 10 short bullet points.’
Are they relevant to achieving your goal? e.g. ‘If I have an outline, I will have a proper overview of my essay before writing.’
Make sure you have a time-sensitive deadline. e.g. ‘I will get this finished by 10am.’
It can help to complete your most important tasks first thing in the morning, before your day gets overtaken with other tasks and responsibilities.
The key to helping students improve productivity is to work with the time you have. With large workloads and responsibilities to attend classes/lectures, it’s important to make the best use of your time. Using a daily planner to plot in your goals and work around time constraints is the key to boosting your productivity.