A lament commonly heard amongst Singaporean students is the lack of time in our 24-hour days. While we all wish we had more time to do the things we need to do (also the things we want to do), having good time management habits can help to increase your productivity. This means that you now have more free time to finally get on that dusty yoga mat for some well-deserved stretches!
If you’re running on a jam-packed schedule, juggling school and your exam preparations, these 5 tips below will help tremendously in managing your time and productivity levels during this revision season!
Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? This theory, put forth by C. Northcote Parkinson in 1942, states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”. Put in the context of studying, this means that you could end up working on one task for an entire day, especially if you don’t already have a revision plan with time slots allocated to each task.
One straightforward and intuitive way to prevent yourself from dragging out tasks on your to-do list would be to set out clear goals before you start your revision session. First, compile a list of tasks, be it practice papers, or which set of notes to memorise. Then, draw on paper or using an Excel document, a timetable for yourself, mimicking what you regularly use for school. You can choose to segment your working hours into 30-minute or 1-hour slots, depending on which works best for you.
However, it is important not to be too ambitious when scheduling in tasks – if you know that you’ll be going out to meet friends after school, it would not be wise to pencil in the same number of tasks as you would on a free weekend.
Scheduling in designated breaks in your revision timetable can help with motivation and ensure that you get enough time away from your desk. This helps to boost productivity as you work towards your next break. These breaks should also not take more than 15-20 minutes, just enough time for a quick snack!
Yes, that means closing the chat apps open on your laptop too! You may think that typing a reply to a message from your friends would not take up much time, but the break in routine during a working session can seriously disrupt your focus, especially if the message isn’t a positive one. This form of distraction makes it harder for you to get back to thinking about the subject at hand, which is your revision.
Sometimes putting your phone in the cupboard is just not enough when you are itching to find out if the latest episode of the drama you were chasing has been uploaded. In this case, hand your phone to a friend if you’re in a study group or even to your parents for safekeeping. This creates an additional step to accessing your phone and you would thus think twice about asking for it, especially when you’re supposed to be studying!
If you make notes or study on your laptop, try making use of blacklisting or whitelisting browser extensions (usually free to use!) that prevent you from accessing certain websites like Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp web etc. during a specified period of time. By removing all possible distractions from your workspace, you ensure that the only thing you are focusing on is your revision task at hand, and it will be easier to get into the productivity groove.
You may already have heard of this tip of having plenty of water, snacks and stationery beside you while you are engaged in a study session. Besides having these small items around, it is important to consider the amenities around you when choosing a study spot in order to maximise your productivity in that space.
If you are working with your electronics, having power plugs nearby would prevent that panic moment when your laptop hits 1%. Prepare your workstation by plugging in your laptop and calculator chargers beforehand. That way, you can just switch them on when you need power, without having to fumble in your bag for the cable and risk losing your focus.
And of course, having quick access to the toilets/water cooler is a must! If you’re someone who likes to study outside your home (in school or at a café), make sure that you know where the key amenities are, so you don’t spend too much time of your break looking for them and leaving your things unattended.
One way to speed up your revision is to ask for help from a friend, or even better, a home tutor in a 1-to-1 session! When reviewing your notes from school, scribble on the margins or on sticky notes questions that you have with regards to the content or the problem itself. Be as specific as possible when phrasing your question and take them to your private tutor as soon as possible. Many questions that come up in practice papers are recycled (sometimes wholesale), so you would want to fully grasp the technique to answering such questions in time for your exam.
Having a private home tutor makes learning more accessible to you. Depending on the arrangements that you have with your home tutor, you might be able to get your questions answered within as quickly as a day through instant messages. Being able to clarify your questions immediately ensures that you waste no time in internalising the content and then confidently moving on to the next task, upping your productivity levels.
As much as we would all like to be productive all the time and get a lot done in a day, it is actually counterproductive to work for long periods of time without some R&R (rest and recuperation). Having 7-8 hours of sleep will ensure that your body is sufficiently rested and prepared to conquer any challenges the next day. On the flipside, insufficient sleep (that is, less than 6 hours per day) can actually impede your focus and slow your revision down.
In order to get a sufficient amount of sleep, it is important to wind down at the end of your revision day. So, what does ‘winding down’ entail? It means spending time away from your practice papers and electronic screens and doing the things that you enjoy instead. If you like practicing yoga or going for a run, you can and should make time for these things as part of your relaxation time.
Your idea of fun and relaxation may look different from that of your friends, and that’s okay! Some students like to knit or embark on cross-stitch projects. Others like to spend their time winding down to an audiobook, be it fiction or nonfiction. There are podcasts that you can listen to at a slow speed, which cover a wide range of topics, from world news to deep dives into particularly interesting news stories. All this can be found for free on major music streaming platforms, so you can make use of this resource to learn something new while chilling out!
With these 5 tips outlined above, you’ll be well-prepared to up your productivity game this revision season. Which ones have you already implemented in your study routine, and what have you learnt from this article? Let us know!
As the leading home tuition agency in Singapore, FamilyTutor is here to support your learning needs with our home tutor matching services, so that you can get the best resources you need to succeed this exam season.
FamilyTutor is an established home tuition agency in Singapore! We match suitable home tutors for our clients not just to improve the students' academic grades, but also to build a strong rapport and meaningful relationship with the students and even the their whole family. FamilyTutor put every student in good hands!
If you need an excellent home tutor, feel free to call/WhatsApp us at +65 8777-2168! Our matching service is free!