We know that feeling. You’ve come home from school with a seemingly impossible number of tasks to complete. There are essays to edit, assignments to prepare and past papers to complete. It feels like there is no end in sight. When you feel like this, take a step back and think about your external environment. Where we study has a massive impact on how we feel about our work and the tasks that we have to complete. Let’s make four small changes to make sure our IB study space positively reinforces how we feel about our diploma.
1. Get a Clock / Stopwatch / Timer
We can only focus with full attention for around 25 minutes. Why not use this information to make your space super-productive. Set a timer to that amount, and when it goes off, take a break. The process of leaving your work for a short amount of time will ‘refresh’ your attention and mean that these short bursts of work will be so much more effective than those mammoth study sessions that you might have been using before.
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2. Focus on One Task at a Time
If you read our last blog, you’ll know that ‘chunking’ up our workload is one of the key tips so many IB students fail to use. A 4000-word Extended Essay starts with one paragraph, and reading a work of Shakespeare begins with one page. Focusing on one task at a time not only gets us working towards our goals, but it means that task will actually be completed quicker and to a higher standard. It takes a significant amount of time for our brain to switch between a Maths IA and preparing a Spanish oral presentation. Give all your attention to the completion of one before the other, you’ll thank us later!
3. Clean the Space Up
Our external environment has a massive impact on our internal feelings and motivations. The key then, is to find a study space that is used for just studying. Many IB students choose to study on their bed. The problem with this is our brain is associating that space with two different things: relaxing and working. The result; we do neither of those tasks effectively. The amount of times I used to wake up with my revision notes on my face! An organised external space has a tangible effect on your productivity. Take 5 minutes to sort out your space – and whatever you do, leave your bed for sleeping!
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You might have tried all three of these tips out and still find yourselves sucked into that YouTube black hole. Don’t worry about it! Try a new study space. One of our Geography tutors can’t study anywhere apart from on the kitchen table; others swear by the Library. Indeed, the power of social judgment or the act of making an effort to go somewhere in the name of studying means that some students who can’t work in their room, become study machines in a Café!
So there we have it, four top tips to make sure you make your external environment work for you. Who knows, that perfect IB study space could make all the difference!