Productivity for Students: Study Smarter in 3 Simple Steps | Derek Zboran | Skillshare

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Productivity for Students: Study Smarter in 3 Simple Steps

teacher avatar Derek Zboran

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Step 1: Productivity System

    • 3. Step 2: Scheduling Principles

    • 4. Step 3: Work Efficiently

    • 5. Conclusion

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About This Class

Do you ever feel overwhelmed as a student? Do you sit for long hours, making frustratingly slow progress on readings, assignments, and homework? Do you often give into the urge to procrastinate?

These are common problems. A lot of students say that they have “an inability to focus” or “lack of concentration” when they study. But what are the underlying problems that are actually causing you to struggle with concentration when you study? What’s stopping you from being productive?

For most students, the reason they struggle is because they haven’t planned their study sessions for maximum productivity. Productivity does not happen by accident. ‘A’ students who get top grades with a reasonable investment of time and effort understand that you have to plan for productive work. And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do in this class.

What the class covers:

  • Step 1: Start setting-up a simple (but super effective) productivity system.
  • Step 2: Adopt scheduling best practices.
  • Step 3: Utilize best practices and tips for staying efficient while you study.

These three simple steps will get you started on the path to productivity as a student!

Meet Your Teacher

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Derek Zboran


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1. Introduction: Do you ever feel overwhelmed as a student? Do sit for long hours, making frustratingly slow progress on readings, assignments and homework. Do you often give in to the urge to procrastinate these air common problems? A lot of students say that they have an inability to focus or that they lack concentration . But what are the underlying problems that are actually causing you to struggle? What's really stopping you from being productive? For most students, the reason they struggle is because they haven't planned their study sessions for maximum productivity and minimum stress. High productivity does not happen by accident. A students who get talk rates with a reasonable investment of time and effort understand that you have to do your work in the right way if you want to do it productively, and that's exactly what I'm going to show you how to do in this class. My name is Derrick, and two years ago, like most beginning college students, I struggled with managing my school workload, and this caused a lot of stress in my life. I often earned good grades, but I usually worked way too many hours. There were lots of weeks where I was panicking as deadlines drew closer and closer, even as my workload only seemed to get larger and larger. That's not the only way school has to be. And frankly, that's not the way it should be. Today I get top grades consistently. I work hard, but not unreasonably hard. Most importantly, I have time to do all the things I love. Even while being a full time college student. I have time to blawg, practice a musical instrument, listen to my favorite jazz records, make courses like this one for skill share and engage in front activities with friends and family. I have all this because I'm productive when I sit down to study, and that's exactly what I want to help you achieve maximum productivity each and every time you sit down to study in this brief class, we're going to discuss a simple yet super effective three step process for becoming more productive. When you study each of the following videos in this course discusses one step in detail and Step one, we will begin by setting up a productivity system that actually works for you. One of the reasons why you need a productivity system is because it helps you clearly identify what tests you need to complete, and it helps you keep track of when the task need to be completed. We'll discuss how easy it is to do that in the upcoming lesson and Step two, We talk about scheduling. This is all about how to fit the work into the available time you have. More importantly, though, we're going to look at how to schedule for productivity. There are certain approaches to scheduling that increase your productivity when you study. We're going to explore what those are so that you are planning your study activities in the smartest way possible. And Step three, we're going to roll up our sleeves and get down to the business of how to get the work done . With tests clearly identified and effectively scheduled, everything depends on how well you actually work. It's extremely important that you utilize strategies and best practices that keep you focused and engaged, so that should give you a good idea about what's ahead. I look forward to seeing you in the next video, where we will get started by setting open awesome productivity system 2. Step 1: Productivity System: the first step to becoming more productive is setting up a productivity system. And really, this is just about clearly identifying what tasks you need to be doing during your study time in organizing those tests around due dates. Having this clarity will help you schedule more effectively. It will also help you work with greater efficiency. How do you set up a productivity system? Well, there are lots of ways you can even do it with a notebook and a pencil if you wanted to. Personally, I use a digital app cult to do ist because I found that is the easiest way to manage my daily to do's. To Do. It allows you to create project folders and within these folders, add tasks, delete task and schedule tests. It's basically a digital to do list. You check off assignments when you've completed them, and it's flexible because you can shuffle your work around easily and reschedule things with the click of a button to do. It has a premium version that said you don't need to premium version, and I personally used a free version. I really recommend that all of you start out with the free version the features you get for free on to do a star more than adequate for what we're trying to do here. If you don't already have an account, signing up for one is easy and will probably take you less than five minutes. Once you have it to do is to count, make a project file called school in your school file, create tasks for every class you are enrolled in. I think of these as folders rather than tests, but and to do it, you're going to be creating them as tasks the screenshots. You are looking at them and straight what to do. As you can see, I created my school folder by adding it as a project. And then I added each of the classes I'm enrolled in, hissed 3 29 and Marketing 3 70 Simply using the ad task feature. Now this next part is going to require a bit of research. Look at the syllabus for each of the classes you're taking. Identify what assignments a grated in each and every week. The idea is to find out every activity that your teacher will be grading you on for the entire run of the course, this probably won't be all the actual work your teacher expects you to complete. A lot of college related work is not directly grated. For example, most teachers don't give you points for reading your text book, but right now, just focus on the work that is directly grated. We'll talk about the other work that isn't directly grated in just a minute. Once you have the list of graded to dues for a given week at a task for each week of your class, name them week one week to Week three and so on, just like it is shown in this screenshot. Now, under each of those weeks, create task for each one of your grated activities. For example, in Week one of hissed 3 29 I have three assignments that my teacher will review in grade, so I've added three tests to my overarching Week. One task. Once you have done this for all the classes you're enrolled in, you have the basic framework of your productivity system in place. From here, we're just going to further identify what actual tests you need to complete to make sure you get great grades on all your assignments. You'll remember that our list of tests so far are those which are graded directly. I call these activities primary activities. Anybody who has been in college for any amount of time knows that college involves more work than simply what's created. Tasks such as reading a textbook, creating a study guide for an exam or researching a paper aren't always grated, but they do have to be completed. If you're going to get good grades on the activities that are grated, these types of activities are the kind that call secondary tests. It is important that your productivity system include both the primary and secondary tests . Let's take another look at my west of tests for Week one and to do ist only now, with the secondary task added. As you can see, my list of to do's for Week one has increased dramatically. The task, I've added are simply those which I've identified is necessary to accomplish in order to excel on the grated activities. The beauty here is I have complete clarity. I know what to do. During week one, you will notice that I have also clearly indicated how the structure should look. You have your class title didn't under that. You have the week under that. You put your primary tests and then you finish by adding in those secondary tests to do, It's the wild you to schedule activities. Be sure to do this for your great attests and make the due date the same as the due date listed by your instructor. This helps ensure that you keep track of when everything is due. Okay, so this lesson covered a lot of ground. Let's review some of the essential points you need to take away before we move on. The first step to becoming more productive is clearly identifying what tasks you need to complete in organizing those tasks around due dates to do. It is a great tool for identifying casts in keeping track of their due dates using to do list. You can organize your task by class and weak. Both primary and secondary tests should be included. Primary tasks are those that your teacher grades directly. Secondary tests are those that your teacher does not great directly, but which do impact the activities that are grated directly. Now it's time to take action. First sign up for to do ist. It's free and takes about five minutes. Secondly, create your school folder into du ist Step three. Create an overarching test for each class. Also create over arching tasks for each week that your class is in session. Step for identify your primary tests and secondary tests and finally in Step five at those activities as task to the appropriate weeks. Okay, so we finished with setting up the productivity system. Now let's move on to the next lesson where we discuss how to schedule tests. 3. Step 2: Scheduling Principles: productivity begins with getting crystal clear. Clarification on what work you need to accomplish and when you need to accomplish it. If you set up your free to do list account, create the necessary folders and tasks, you should have the clarity you need to move on to the next big challenge of being productive when your study, which is scheduling for maximum results. I've been doing Couch for a long time, and I found a few general guidelines to be helpful when scheduling my study tests. Here are those guidelines. Schedule your study activities so that you're engaging in spaced studying rather than mast studying. We'll explain the difference between these two approaches in a minute. Number two makes up your study sessions with a variety of tasks and third, use a day planner to help you plan certain kinds of steady task for the right times of the day. Let's go over how to implement into these guidelines in more detail. Searchers have long known that West resourceful students usually engage in mast studying, whereas more resourceful students than to engage in space to staying. What does mast studying and spaced studying mean? The truth is that you may already be familiar with these concepts, even if you've never heard these terms spaced. Studying is where you break up long, steady sessions into chunks of focused activity, and you follow these bursts of focused activity with brief but refreshing breaks. Massing, in contrast, is where you simply sit down to tackle one task and continue to do so without rest, often working for hours toward the completion of a single task without any kind of break. While it's true that a single task might require hours of effort to complete, it's not true that you should work on any test for hours at a time. Put more simply, you need to schedule your study activities in such a way that you make time for short breaks. Ironically, a lot of students think taking breaks, signals of weakness of some kind. I have even seen students asked how they can study for hours without needing any breaks, and they assume that such behaviour would represent an accomplishment. Actually, not taking break is harmful to your productivity. Your mind can only remain actively engaged in a specific study task for so long before it needs arrest. If you don't give it that rest. It starts to become very bored, confused and disinterested. It gets harder and harder to work, and you find yourself investing more and more energy even while you get less and less results. This is the kind of studying we want to do away with. So make sure that you are scheduling your steady sessions in such a way that you provide room for breaks. When should you take breaks? And how long should the brakes be? In general, you shouldn't make your brakes longer than an hour. Or you shouldn't make your steady sessions longer than an hour without taking a break. As for break lanes, top students have many different opinions on this. In my own experience, 5 to 9 minute breaks work the best. Sometimes my brakes will go as long as 15 to 20 minutes, but that's usually only after I have completed several time blocks of focused activity. We'll talk more about this in the next video when I discuss the Pomodoro technique for now , just understand that you'll want to schedule your study tests and time box of not longer than an hour, and you'll want to leave room for five to my 5 to 9 minute breaks between the time box and what you work as we just discussed. You want to break up your study sessions and two bursts of focused activity fold by breaks . Another strategy, which I find extremely helpful, is mixing up my study sessions. Let's say work on researching a paper for an hour. Then I take my break After that break is over and said, Going back to the paper, I might switch to exam preparation after I work on this for an hour and take my break, I might go to researching the paper again, or I might go to something else. Anyway, I have found that mixing things up like this keep my mind more agile as I worked through tests. This boost the efficiency with which I worked, and that ultimately means I'm more productive. I encourage you to think in terms of mixing up Tess instead of returning back to a single task over and over, make progress on a variety of tests. This will help keep your mind more active ing and engaged when you work. Of course, it also means you need to schedule your test well before the deadline. Don't wait until the last minute to achieve your state tests, and you'll have the flexibility to make progress on a variety of work to rough the week. Let's face it, some parts of day we function better than others. For example, most people are better able to engage in mentally demanding tests in the morning rather than in the weight afternoon. When your schedule you'll want to try to arrange your work so that the more mentally demanding tests are done during the parts of the day when you can work at your peak. A day planner could be very helpful for helping to ensure your juggle your tasks in a smart way. Each night I look at my to do it, and I checked to see what task I have scheduled for the next day. I didn't try to arrange those tests into my schedule, right on my day pointer. I write the test in pencil because you need to be flexible when it comes to day pointers and pencil. Writing is much easier to erase them. Pen writing. I always make sure that I tried to get the more complex tasks in the morning because I know him more productive at that time of the day. Find out when you're more productive. At what time of the day, Whether be morning, afternoon or evening. And schedule your more complex tasks for those times of the day. Okay, so we finished. And now we're just going to cover some of the key takeaways. Firstly, you're gonna want to schedule for space study or are the mast study. And so this basically means you're gonna want scheduling your brakes. Secondly, you're gonna want to mix up what you study. Don't spend all day working towards the completion of only one task. Thirdly, use a day planner to help you juggle your task in a smart way. And also be sure to schedule your more mentally demanding task for times of the day when you are more alert. For most people, this is in the morning. There are some who are more alerting me afternoon or in the evening. But find out what time what time is best for you and go ahead and schedule your more mentally demanding task for that time. Now that we have covered the important scheduling principles, let's move on to the next video where we'll talk about how to work efficiently towards the completion of steady tests 4. Step 3: Work Efficiently: we're now in the final step, and this stage is really all about rolling up your sleeves and doing the work. You know what you're looking to achieve, and you have it roughly scheduled into your day. Now you're just looking to approve the efficiency with which you work on your study tests. The importance of being efficient when you're a college student simply cannot be overstated . Efficiency refers to how much time and energy you save while working on a task. When you work with high efficiency, that means you are working in such a way that saves time and energy. When you work with low efficiency, that means you're working in such a way that waste lots of time and energy. You should always take whatever time is necessary to complete a task adequately, but you should never waste time and energy needlessly. There are three key aspects toe working more efficiently. Those are learning how to understand and follow instructions, better using a Pomodoro technique or variation of it to boost focus and working in a good study environment. Let's discuss each of these in a bit more detail. Have you ever watched a classic mission impossible television series. At the beginning of each episode, the leader of the Mission Impossible Group is given clear cut instructions about what he and his team of highly trained experts need to achieve. Only after he receives an understand seasons instructions does he and his team go about the business of completing the mission. In school assignments are like missions. It's important that we get the instructions, understand the instructions, and then and only then should we start the mission. It's really a simple is learning how to follow instructions firstly, toe, understand your instructions, then seek to start the mission. Following instructions seems like such a simple concept. But when those things that gets forgotten about in the hustle and bustle of school, it's easy to get started on a project with a preconceived notion about what the assignment is on Lee to check the assignment or guidelines or the example rubric or whatever later on to find that the teacher expects something quite different from what we actually did. Taking the time to understand the instructions first will save you time and energy because it will prevent you from having to go back and redo assignments. It will also allow you to better focus your efforts because you will know precisely what the teacher is looking for. And you won't have to waste your time doing things that are not relevant towards the completion of what you're trying to do. Make it a point to read and re read any written instructions you have foran assignment. If you have questions, ask the teacher they're there to help you out, so make use of their assistance. We've already discussed the importance of space studying where you break your study sessions and two time blocks have no longer than one hour, followed by brief breaks. Using the Pomodoro technique is a great way to open. Sure, you stay focused during the time box in which you work. Using the Pomodoro technique, you will set a timer for 25 minutes and focus as intensely as possible on a task which which you want to complete. When that timer rings, you take a brief break maybe five minutes, after which you set the timer again for 25 minutes and you work again with extreme focus. I personally don't use the Pomodoro technique exactly as prescribed. For example, I usually don't set my time box at 25 minutes because I usually find 45 30 or even 15 minutes to be better suited for my needs. It depends on what tasks I'm working in and what time of the day I'm working. But I do believe in using a timer when you work. Working with a timer ticking in the background seems to help sharpen my focus. It helps put me in the mood to work, and it makes it easy for me to keep track of my time box. So why don't necessarily recommend that you make each of your time box 25 minutes long? I do recommend that you work with a timer. It's a great device to help keep you focused when trying to complete a task. They're aspect of being efficient is working in the study environment that encourages your productivity. I could literally teach an entire class just I'm setting up a good study environment, and I probably will in the not too distant future, but just so that you have an idea of what to shoot for. Evaluate your current study environment based on the following criteria. Is it distraction free? What music is playing in the background. Is it distracting? Is lack of music distracting? Some students legitimately find silence distracting. How about clutter? Is clutter causing you to be distracted from your work? What about friends, family or roommates? Do they constantly disrupt you while you're trying to work, identify sources of distraction and try to eliminate or minimize them as much as possible? Is there plenty of room toe work? You should have room for your books and for any tech stuff you might need, such as a laptop. You also should not have the sense of feeling cramped. Try to study in an area where you've got enough physical room to be comfortable and to put your things. Do you have access to everything you need to get your test completed. For example, do you have access to any instructions regarding assignments, or do you have access to the syllabus? Do you have access to grading rubrics? Do you have access to Elektronik textbooks? These are the kinds of things you want to think about. Do you have access to the information you need to complete the study activities that you're interested in completing? Think about this as you are thinking about the steady environment that you're going to be working in while you're completing those activities. Now, while these things are ideals, you may or may not get to the point where you're studying Environment is totally what you are looking for. But these air kind of the ideals to shoot for and usually working to try to make your study environment more distraction free, where you have more room to work and it's comfortable and that you have access to all the information that you're going to need, a student working on certain, you know, student activities. 5. Conclusion: that we've reached the end and I just want to thank you for taking this course and sticking with me until the end. I know what's like to struggle with productivity. As a college student, I hope this class has helped equip you with what you need to start being more productive with your studying. I strongly encourage you to do the final class project. Before you consider this class finished. Simply upload a screenshot like the one you see in front of you showing that you created your school project into du ist. And you should also probably create your tests for each class that you're in currently enrolled in. So go ahead and upload debt screenshot to the class project area, and I look forward to senior work. This screenshot represents an important accomplishment on the path to becoming more productive. So take that. You know, I really encourage you to take that seriously and go ahead and do that project just to recap we covered. Firstly, how to start creating your own productivity system using to do ist Secondly, smart guy lines for scheduling study activities. And thirdly, we discuss how to work more efficiently during your study time. Feel free to leave feedback on this class. If you found it useful, please leave a review. Also, if you want to see more courses for me in the future, be sure to follow me here on skill share because I will probably be adding more classes as time goes on. With that said, I just want to say thanks again for taking this class. Here's to a future of awesome grades in great productivity when you study.