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Study Smarter and Faster cont.

September 5, 2012

Discover 7 Secrets to Study Smarter and Faster cont.

Last week we shared with you the first part of this guest blog about studying tips.
Today’s blog is the second part of the two part series.
To read part one click here.

Organize your workstation

Before I moved near campus, I was 30 minutes away from a library so I found myself studying at home a lot (You can only go to a coffee shop so much). This is where I found myself to be the least productive.

However, I found keeping a clean desk increased my productivity nearly 100%. I had more room on my desk to lie out my studying material and was more relaxed. When my desk was cluttered, my mind was cluttered and it was much easier to get distracted.

Consider buying cheap office supplies that help you get organized – a filing cubby, a paper organizer, penholder, etc. Getting your studying done faster means you will be able to do what you want to do sooner.

Turn off the music

I know it’s a classic thing to listen to music when you study, but I have found this really to hinder productivity – for my friends and myself. Does a song ever come on and before you realize it, you’re mouthing the words? Or you start humming or tapping to the beat? This is essentially filling your mind with unrelated information while trying to process your study material. It’s a mind block.

If you must listen to music, choose songs without any words. I like classical music to study to, but I prefer noise.

Noise? Yeah, why not? I don’t know the science behind it, but ever since people turned me on to listening to Simply Noise, I have noticed I’m on a different level of concentration.

I actually prefer Rainy Mood, because I have found it works better for me. Try it out and see how you like it. Search Google to find other noises that you may prefer (waves crashing, forest, etc).

Block distracting websites

When I get ready to study, whether it is for 30 minutes or two hours, I always temporarily block distracting websites to help keep me on track (Facebook, Reddit, my favorite blogs).

This has actually been really effective and has somewhat developed into a habit. Sometimes, I don’t even need to block the websites anymore, because I have trained myself to refrain from them. I guarantee it will work for you, too.

The easiest way to do this is through Internet browser plug-ins. If you are using my favorite browser, Google Chrome, then use the StayFocused plug in (free). If you are using Mozilla’s Firefox browser, use Leech Block. If you’re using Internet Explorer, read the rest of this article, then stop, and go download Chrome or Firefox immediately, because it will change your Internet life!

Simply by blocking these time wasting sites can decrease your “study time” by half.

Pick a good environment

When it comes time to buckle down and put in some studying time, it is important to pick the right place to study. I find the worst place to study for me is at my own desk. There are just too many distractions and an unconscious feeling of a lack of accountability.

It may be different for you, but I like to study at quiet coffee shops with fresh coffee (mmm!) or at the library. When I’m somewhere other than home, I feel like I have a duty to get something done so I can reward myself with going home to relax and play video games (Fifa anyone?).

Choose a place where you can be relaxed, but also focus and be clear of distractions. This really helps with staying on task and reduces wasted time procrastinating.

Have you used any of these tactics before? Do you use other tactics that I didn’t write about? I would love to hear about them if leave a comment below!

About the Author: A senior at Cal State Fullerton and a brother of the Lambda Sigma chapter, Reggie Paquette is an entrepreneurship major with a passion for personal development. His most recent project is helping brothers of fraternities around the nation become more successful through his new website at


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