Good Study Habits

In today’s world we have the problem of information overload, digital madness,
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), and superfast speed of everything going all
the time, including our brain. Sometimes it can be very hard to keep focus, concentrate and
learn. Even when we’re on a vacation, it seems that we cannot sit down and just watch a
movie and relax any more. We have to answer the mobile, we have to be twitting, texting,
reading Facebook & whatsapp, eating, drinking, and doing something at the same time. We
feel like we should be doing something always as if we have become multitasking machine
and the end result is, it produces a lot of stress and yet we get nothing much from it.
Expert Studies have shown that people who are regularly distracted by incoming
emails, phone calls, etc. see a drop in their intelligence and ability to learn. At the same
time, if you have to become successful in exams, interviews, and to achieve your goals etc.,
your ability to concentrate, focus and learn is very important. Here are some tips to help
you improve your focus, concentrate better for longer, and increase your ability to learn.

  1. Set aside a place for study and study only.

    Locate a quiet place that will facilitate concentration without distractions. Some
    possible examples would be a library, a vacant classroom, or your study room or even
    bedroom. You make it a habit of studying when you are in this place. It is better not to use
    this place for any other activities like playing games, talking with friends, etc.
    Make sure that your study place has, a good comfortable chair (but not too
    comfortable), a table or desk, good lighting and good ventilation. At the same time make
    sure that your study place does not have distracting views of other activities, very loud
    music, a TV, a talkative friend. It is better to keep the phone away in another room in silent
    mode, during your study time.

    It is always better to begin the study with a very short prayer and say the same
    prayer every day and enter the learning state. This will act as an anchor and when you enter
    the exam hall also, you say the same short prayer; then you will enter into the same calm
    state you were in during your studies, so that you will get rid of anxiety and can perform
    well in the exams.

  2. Really Listen

    While you are in class room it is essential to really listen. Our ability to listen and
    thus our learning ability can be improved by regular practice by paying attention better and
    for longer. Start by listening to people. Find interest in really listening. Listen to understand,
    not just to respond. With practice you’ll find your brain becoming more flexible and your
    focus improving.

  3. Be Religious About Breakfast

    Breakfast is the first food you start your day with. Good food is essential to give
    energy for your body to function. In recent times there is a tendency either to skip the
    breakfast or eat very little for want of time. Make sure you are starting your day with a good
    breakfast with good nutrient food items which nourishes body, brain and give energy. Avoid
    eating junk foods in the morning. Ensure that every day morning; you take good food at the
    right time.

  4. Stand Up For Your Brain to improve your memory

    Standing up and walking around increase your brain power by increasing blood flow and
    oxygen supply to our neurons. More oxygen equals better quality thoughts. Hence, as much
    as possible, stand up and walk around. Daily do some exercise; a short and brisk walk will
    help improve your blood circulation. If you can do yoga and some meditation every day, it
    will be a wonderful experience. Experts say that just by standing up results in considerable
    improvement in your memory. Stand up to take phone calls and/or to help you memorise
    and retain information more easily.

  5. Take A Break in Between

    Our brain cannot concentrate for a long period and it is easily distracted. Our
    concentration span is limited and that limit is age-dependent. We also need a brain break
    every 15 to 20 minutes depending on our age. For people about the age of 20 and above, it
    is good to take a short break every 20 minutes. For younger people, it is suggested to have a
    break every 15 minute or so. The break can be very short, about 30 seconds or one minute
    of standing up, walking around the room, or stretching the body a little bit would be
    sufficient. This will be very useful for maintaining your concentration and focus.

  6. Learn The Art Of Effective Goal Setting

    Make a list of clear goals/tasks you want to achieve and post it next to your bed, on your
    fridge, or on your bathroom mirror so that you see it many times each day. Just by seeing it
    many times, the frontal cortex of your brain will take steps to make those goals come into
    reality. In addition, repeated exposure to these written goals will fulfil another bit of
    important advice: Never Give Up! A list is not enough though, you must also prioritize. Ask
    yourself: what needs to get done today? And what can wait?

  7. Use Your VAKs

    NLP introduced the idea of modalities. Visual (V), auditory (A), and kinaesthetic (K) and
    this powerful idea has spread through education, business, and many other fields.
    Information can enter the brain following these highways or neural tracks. We can learn
    something by seeing it, hearing it, or doing it. Most people tend to have one dominant
    modality, but it is when we engage multiple neural tracks into the brain that we can really
    begin to learn more effectively. For example, running a finger across the page while you
    read can increase memory because it opens up the kinaesthetic neural pathways. Saying
    aloud while you study, and engaging the auditory pathways can increase retention of the
    material by as much as 3 to 4 times! Taking notes as you listen to a lecture increases
    retention even if you never look at your notes again!

  8. Listen to Some Music

    Listening to one particular type of music can be highly beneficial when studying,
    whether in school or at the office. Many research studies have shown that baroque
    music with a tempo of 55-70 bpm can assist in concentration and memory retention.
    The music can affect the heart rate, which in turn affects the circadian rhythms of the
    brain and can change the listener’s brainwaves from Beta (energetic state) into Alpha
    (relaxed state) which is more suitable for learning.

  9. Flashcard It

    Flashcards are an excellent way to study as they engage the natural stimulusresponse
    system of the brain. By writing a cue on one side and detailed information on
    the other side, you can easily review a large amount of material quickly. For example, in
    language learning you can write English on one side and Malayalam or Hindi on the
    other. Flashcards also have the advantage that you can change the order of the cards
    and carry them around easily in your pocket. I personally use flashcards and colour pens
    to help me learn and memorize information more easily and quickly.

  10. Spaced Repetition

    Spaced repetition is a learning technique that incorporates increasing intervals of
    time between subsequent review of previously learned material in order to exploit the
    psychological spacing effect, In its simplest form when you learn a new thing, Revise it
    after a day then again revise after 2 days , then after a week then after two weeks. This
    way you can improve your memory retention ability. This is very good for improving
    your memory of words or vocabulary. Now freely downloadable SRS – Spaced Recovery
    System apps or Software are available for improving vocabulary.

  11. Always Have Enough Sleep

    Getting enough good quality sleep is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Without it, if
    you’re a student you’ll forget a lot of what you learned during last night’s cram session.
    If you’re an office worker, your productivity will suffer. If you’re a mum, you’ll be
    forgetful, irritable, moody, and lethargic, amongst other things. Sleep is essential in the
    formation of long-term memories, as well as for optimal focus and concentration, so
    staying up late to study, read, watch TV, or finish a project may not always be the best
    way to go about it.

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