A few years ago, I would read the title of this post and I would think: “haha... if I study less, I will get a worse grade. And why eliminating distractions?”.
I didn’t believe I could actually get good grades if I studied only a few hours, unless I was a genius. I did believe, I could get good grades if I studied a lot! Is learning even a skill you can improve? I did not believe on those things.
For me, studying and learning, was a matter of hours. The more hours I studied, the better grade I could get. In general, this can be true. What I didn’t know was that I could study much less hours, and still get the same grade. It was always a matter of hours to me. If I studied Biology for “x” hours, I could probably get a “Y” (grade).
Thankfully, after reading dozens of personal development books, I understood that studying is a skill that can be improved, just like any other. (No, you don't need to read dozens of books to came to that conclusion...)
I tested, tried, failed and experimented with different habits and study techniques. I changed the way I studied and saw the whole learning experience as something you can become better at.
I can guarantee you that learning is a skill! A very important skill, that must be improved. Learning is not only important when you’re in school or college. It’s a lifetime skill. You need to learn and study relationships, business, productivity, your company strategies, etc. And if you’re learning while doing other tasks, you will not be a good learner.
Usually, my studying sessions were something like this:
- I would sit on the sofa;
- The tv was on;
- My brother was playing Ipad with the sound on;
- I would open the book and I would start reading it;
- I would turn the pages while I checked the tv quickly;
- Oh, a Facebook notification!
Most of my energy was wasted on switching from one activity to another… they call it context-switching. The more you switch from one activity to another, the more tired and fatigued you feel.
Instead of taking me 1 hour to read the whole Biology chapter, it would take me 2 hours, or even more (it depended on the amount of notifications I received during my study session!)
The thing that helped me the most to reduce the amount of time I needed to study was: ELIMINATING DISTRACTIONS!
Here's how I actually try to learn something new:
- I never check Facebook while I’m studying;
- I study on my room, alone;
- No TV;
- I put my headphones on, while listening to study and focus music;
- I study for pre-defined blocks of time;
- 1 task at a time;
- 100% focus (read my post on how to focus intensively, for a deeper understanding on this matter);
- No context-switching.
If you actually start eliminating distractions, you can reduce a LOT the amount of time you need to study.
Why are you wasting 2 hours doing something that could've take you 1 hour?
There are also a lot of techniques and methods that help you to study better. I also changed my method along the way. I still change it now because there’s always space for improvement.
But, if you start eliminating distractions TODAY you can reduce the time you need to study TODAY.