Think of it like exercise. It’s really difficult at first, and you find it quite tiring, boring and unenjoyable. But the more you train, the more you practice, the better you become. With this, you feel more positive about the prospect of exercising. You are able to exercise for longer at a time, and more regularly. Exactly the same concept applies for studying. There is no quick fix solution to make you a super proficient, productive worker, in the same way that you can’t become an endurance athlete overnight. But getting into good study habits and strong routines will allow you to progressively build your study stamina.
So what is it that prevents most of us becoming good, endurance workers?
Procrastination. Probably the most familiar past-time of an IB student. It’s brought on by boredom, impatience, and a feeling that the end is way off. In these situations it can be really difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel and concentrate on your work. A large part of getting into a strong study routine is shaking off the old habit of perpetual procrastination. Here’s a few pointers to get you moving in the right direction…
Steps to start building your study stamina
1. Remove distractions
Distractions create nuisances when you are trying to study. The best way to deal with them is to avoid them as much as possible. Try downloading some study apps to stop them from distracting you. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a good study space. Pick somewhere that’s tidy, has natural light, is not too noisy or busy. Then, close the door and put on some quiet relaxing background music to create the ideal environment.
2. Work in short sharp bursts
Whatever you do, don’t set yourself impossible targets of working for hours on end. Try the Pomodoro technique – work in short sharp bursts of 25 minutes with a 5 minute break in between each block. This way, you will work far more efficiently and get things done much faster. It’ll also prevent you from getting bored and distracted.
3. Treat yo self
Give yourself regular rewards for reaching targets you’ve set. Say, for example, if you successfully complete a task or a piece of homework within an allotted time, you can take your dog for a walk or bake a cake!
4. Think positive
Keep your head up. Focus on the things you DO know rather than the things you DON’T. Make yourself checklists to tick off topics and tasks as you go. This will make you feel more accomplished, proud and more likely to feel incentivised to carry on.
5. Don’t multi-task!
Despite what people may say, multi-tasking is not, and I repeat not, effective. Take your tasks one at a time and don’t start on the next until that is done. Remember to prioritise your tasks too! If you’re unsure how to approach this – take a look here at how to use a prioritisation square.
So, distractions eliminated, incentives in place and a positive mindset, you should have the tools you need to get a good, solid study routine in place and start building your study stamina!