How To Work Smarter (Not Harder) In School

Do
 you feel like you’re putting all the effort you have into your schoolwork? Do
 you wonder if there’s a way to make the most of your day, inside and outside of
 classes? Since you’ve hit your capacity of effort, learning how to work
 smarter, not harder, is your next step.

Maybe
 you know people who effortlessly juggle clubs, sports, work and school — and
 you wonder how they can have time for all of it. When you learn how to work
 smarter, not harder, you develop the ability to do that, too. You’ll be able
 accomplish what you need to and still have time to do things you enjoy.

Strategically
 approaching your schoolwork can reduce your stress and boost your results. But
 restructuring your habits requires a few changes. Here are six ways to work
 smarter, not harder.

1. Don’t Put Things Off

A
 tendency that most students have is procrastination, and it’s hard to fight.
 You don’t feel like doing homework, so you leave it until the deadline is
 looming — and then the surge of adrenaline, and probably coffee, help you power
 through. While you may get your project done, you’re tired now, and that makes
 it harder to accomplish your other tasks and assignments.

To help replace a procrastination mindset, try focusing on your end goal. Maybe your goal is to get a good grade in the class, or you might end up seeing this particular subject later on in your course studies for your major.

Maybe the material is something directly related to your career path. When you realize how the present will impact your future, it’s easier to find the motivation to get things done before the last minute.

2. Avoid Multitasking

You may think that doubling up on tasks is clever and lets you optimize your time. But human brains are not wired for effective multitasking, and your attempts at switching between tasks can harm your performance in school.

It might seem like a useful idea to listen to an audiobook for your American literature course while you finish calculus homework. But you can suffer in both classes when you split your attention.

Improve your
 quality of work
by giving each to-do item on your list your full concentration. Devote
 focus to important projects. You can avoid the extra trouble it takes to tackle
 two things at once.

3. Plan out Your Time

Preparing
 for upcoming tests, papers and reading can make your work manageable and
 protect you from distractions. Set up blocks of time in your schedule to knock
 out each item.

When you assign a purpose to sections of your day, you can achieve better results. Leverage your time to keep your work in a steady flow with an organized lifestyle. Dedicate sections of your day to schoolwork, so you aren’t exerting more energy than you need to.

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4. Prioritize Tasks

Each
 semester, your classes range in level of difficulty. Certain courses have a
 tough teacher or a demanding workload, while others are less complicated. So,
 when a paper is coming up in your hardest class, and a test is approaching in
 your easiest one, you have to choose which task to take on first and how much
 time you’ll devote to each.

Determine
 which projects deserve more time and effort. Carve out a proportionate block in
 your schedule based on each item’s importance. Cut tasks that aren’t worth
 spending time on to fully prioritize
 your to-do list
.

5. Use Breaks Wisely

You
 need time to recover and regroup before moving on to new tasks, so add in
 sections for breaks so you can have enough motivation to face the rest of your
 day. Be flexible with your schedule and adjust when you need to.

Striving
 to do your best in school can lead to burnout without pauses in your busy day.
 But a short rest can restore
 motivation and stimulate learning
. Overly strict plans can become unrealistic, so
 provide time to hang out with a friend, take a refreshing nap or participate in
 an enjoyable activity.

6. Take Advantage of Resources

At
 your school, you have access to experienced teachers and crucial information.
 Use these assets to enhance your schoolwork and push you in the right
 direction. If you have a question about an assignment, you can consult your
 professor or an online resource to reach an answer. Use the resources available
 to you to maximize your
 potential for the future
.

Make Your Time Work for You

To work smarter, not harder, consider how you’re currently using your time and tackling projects. Try these methods to function efficiently with a smooth workflow. Discover what’s holding you back and restructure your approach to see improvement.

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Originally published at Productivity Theory.