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Maintaining Productivity and Minimizing Burnout

The holidays are right around the corner, but the only way to get to that welcome respite (for most students) is to take your finals first. I’ve compiled a short list of tips that I have personally found to be helpful, so you know they’re tested and true. The best part is that you can implement them now for immediate results!

  1. Vary your studying locations.

Changing up your study spots—even if it’s just moving from your desk chair to your living room couch—can kickstart your brain. A 1978 research study found that giving yourself some variety can cut the monotony of studying and reinforce what you’re learning. Additionally, the movement itself keeps you from being too sedentary. I recommend moving spots every few hours!

      2. Study in 50-minute blocks.

Have you ever studied for 4 hours straight, only to feel like you retained none of the material? According to TIME Magazine, our brains work most efficiently in shorter bursts. 50 minutes is the optimal amount of time for your focus; after that, a ten-minute break at minimum is necessary to give your brain a soft reset. 

      3. Create a rewards system.

Tell yourself that if you study for two hours, you get to watch that new episode of The Crown that you’ve been waiting for (come on, I can’t be the only one mesmerized by royal family drama!). Treat yourself to your favorite takeout after a longer study block. It doesn’t matter what the reward is; it just matters that there’s a positive incentive for your hard work!

      4. Accountability helps!

Enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to check in on your progress. I had my sister change the passwords on my social media accounts during finals studying, and it was a game-changer! If you’re studying in-person with someone, let them know you want them to call you out if they see you aimlessly internet surfing or Instagram scrolling.

      5. Be kind to yourself.

I find that sometimes my to-do list can be overly ambitious, or that some things on that list take longer than I thought they would. It’s important to not beat yourself up about studying goals that you don’t reach. We’re trying to conserve energy during finals season, and being hard on yourself is only wasting it. When you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished for the day, put your work down and pick it back up tomorrow.