Are You Studying the Right Way?

You probably have heard of the saying “don’t study hard, study smart”. As a self-proclaimed hard worker myself, I used to ponder if I have been doing things wrongly. Hearing this discouraged me and made me think what if my effort is wasted just because I’m not doing it right. Until one day I finally understand that it is not a bad thing to be a hard worker, but you must do it effectively.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Imagine you’re transferring water from a large bucket to another by scooping it with your bare hand. Of course, in the end you will still get the water into the other bucket after a long attempt, but wouldn’t it be more efficient and most likely less tiring if you had used a dipper instead? Not to mention, this way there will be less water loss in the process.

One great quote by a fictional character Kiyose Haiji from the anime Run with The Wind that I really like, is that;

“arrogance is thinking that hard work can solve everything”

You may had given your all, but it will not always be enough. This is why the key to productivity after working hard is actually efficiency.

What Can You Do to Become More Efficient?

Prioritizing the most important and urgent task, keeping your gadget away, or put it in silent mode to lessen the distraction, getting enough sleep so you will stay energize and focus, and stop procrastinating by taking the first step. These are the basics checklist you will need to meet to ensure your efforts will be as rewarding and efficient as possible.

Hence, I would like to share another three tips that I found to be really helpful in increasing my productivity especially in studying.

1. Using the PomoDoro method.

2. Skipping the parts you couldn’t understand well.

3. Be discipline but flexible with your time.

1. Use the PomoDoro method

If you are not familiar with the name, PomoDoro technique is one of the famous, life-changing time management practice introduced by Francesco Cirillo when he was a university student. This technique supposedly helps one to priorities on a single task within a moderate time interval- so they can keep their focus while working on it. For each cycle of PomoDoro block, you will need to set a timer for 25–30 minutes and when the timer stops, take a 5-minute break. You may stack up to 4 blocks per sessions before getting a long break, ranging from 20 minutes up to 1 hour.

The idea is to break your time into chunks, so it will keep you motivated when working for even a lengthy duration. If the PomoDoro strategy does not work for you, you may still consider various time management techniques like as SMART goals, the Eisenhower Matrix, the AnimeDoro approach, and many more fantastic mechanisms that people have shared and personally tried on the internet. There are quite a number of existing methods for you to attempt about. You may even invent one your own! Get creative with it.

2. Skip the part you couldn’t understand well.

Exactly like what we practiced during the exam, skipping the part you couldn’t understand well helps you to save time and most importantly stay motivated to study. Dwelling and spending too much time on something you didn’t understand would only results in wasting time and there are chances you would lose focus because things could seem overwhelming when you couldn’t get it right. Skip the part and get back to it with the help of your friends, or lecturers, or even YouTube videos later.

This method personally helps me because I prefer to study alone rather than being in a study group. Of course, this is only a matter of one’s personal preference, but while we are still in the middle of a pandemic, I believe a lot of us doesn’t have much choice rather than studying alone.

3. Be discipline but flexible with your time.

Let’s say you have planned to settle that one assignment in two hours, but it has passed the targeted time and you are still not finished with it yet. Don’t beat yourself for not being “discipline enough”. Things happen. Not everything will go exactly as we planned, and that’s completely fine. Give yourself a little more time to finish it and take short break after finishing.

Being discipline is possibly one, if not the most rewarding habits one could have. However, having flexibility in managing time is equally as important. Adjust your time accordingly, and if you still face this problem, look back and see what you need to change and improvise. Especially because every assignment or task may require different length of working period.

“I Have Tried Everything, but It Still Didn’t Get Better”

Frankly speaking, there is no right or wrong way being efficient for studying because it varies for everyone. These methods might work for some but isn’t effective enough for others. You are advised to keep experimenting around to find the most suitable method for you to increase your productivity.

I will not say that studying hard is wrong, because I personally find it satisfying getting great outcomes from working hard. And even if I failed, I knew that I have at least given my all so I will not regret whatever the outcome later. However, one should never glamorize it because everyone knows how damaging it can be at times. Also, remember to get sufficient sleep and reward yourself after working hard because you absolutely deserve it!

An undergraduate student of Actuarial Science and Risk Management at USIM, Malaysia