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Study Tips

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Goals, Mental Health, School, Stress, Tips

    Are You Managing Your Time? Or Is Your Time Managing You?

    Staying organized and keeping your schedule up to date is a tricky skill to master. It takes a lot of trial and error, in addition to finding what works for you personally. Without knowing how to properly manage your time, it becomes really easy to fall behind on your assignments and responsibilities. Thus, giving the potential for stress and anxiety. A big part of time management is the ability to prioritize and know when to ask for help. Prioritizing different aspects of your life that require your time is essential to be able to contribute your best effort in each area. Assigning priority can be difficult when it comes to things like personal life or hobbies.

    How do you really know how much time is appropriate to use on certain activities? Remember, trial and error is okay. In a larger sense, prioritizing is about assigning meaning and importance to the things that matter and that you need to accomplish in your life. When thinking about priority and time, you must consider things like deadlines and value. For example, say you have a 100 point final research paper due tomorrow that you’ve been working on for several weeks, that might take priority to finish first over something small like finishing up your BFF’s birthday gift. Finding out what is important to you as a person, and what’s worth your time, will help you make prioritizing an easier step. Keep reading for some extra tips and tricks to ensure you will stay on track and be organized! 

    Tip 1: A Killer Planner

    A good solid planner is critical. There are endless shapes, sizes, colors, and layouts to choose from. Find which works for you! Some people do better seeing their month to month planned out, and some people do better working week to week. Some planners even offer both, it’s up to you. When you think about size, think about how often you want to use it, and how many places you want to be able to take it. Do you have a large bag, where size wouldn’t matter? Or do you need a pocket-sized portable planner? Think about these things when you pick one out. Have fun with it! TJ Maxx and Marshalls are great spots to find discounted fun and effective planners! 

    Tip 2: Highlighters and Post-It Notes

    Using highlighters and Post-It Notes can help catch your eye for reminders, and allow for yourself to leave a visual cue. Similar to the planner, you will find endless colors shapes and sizes. Some people prefer bright neon colors, some respond better to more mellow colors. Sharpie has a great selection of colored highlighters! Post-It Notes have a wide size and color variety. Maybe Post-It tabs work better for you, to serve as a reminder to flip to a certain page or maybe full-sized ones to leave on the mirror to remember things in the morning! These few supplies can go far in your organizing world! 

    Tip 3: Making Errands Fun

    Errands can drag. Spending extended time getting small yet necessary tasks done can be unmotivating and difficult to bring yourself to do. There are a few things you can do to make the time pass and get a little enjoyment. Try bringing a friend along! A lot of times you can find a friend that needs to get some similar stuff done, and the company always makes time go by! Next, bring your headphones! Going grocery shopping? Plug in and focus on that list! Bringing a pair of headphones to the store can make the time go by and give you the choice of what you want to listen to! Finally, don’t feel guilty to reward yourself. If you’re driving around to a bunch of different stores, check out the clearance rack, find yourself a little trinket! Or if you’ve been doing chores and homework all day, make yourself a snack and turn on your favorite show. Taking small breaks is so important to maintaining a productive day. 

  • Articles

    Creating a Work Space to Increase Productivity

    work space productivity

    Often, the environment you are working in can have a big impact on how productive you are. Over the years, I have learned that a quiet space with natural light and limited social media is optimal for me, whether it comes to getting school work done or studying for exams. However, each individual is different, and people have various preferences when it comes to limiting distractions and staying focused.

    Here, I have outlined several common elements that make up individuals’ study/work environments. Keep in mind that a workspace should be where you get work done, but also where you feel relaxed and can think freely. I urge you to read on, and if something seems like it might work for you, try it out! A productive environment is composed of several factors, so put together the aspects that work for you.

    Desk:

    I think this is the most important part of a workspace! Although it may be more comfortable to do work on the couch or in bed, studies have shown that people are more productive when they sit at a desk to complete their work. If you don’t already use a desk, I would highly recommend getting one and using it regularly. You will be amazed at how much more attentive and focused you will be on your work.

    Sufficient Natural Light:

    Studies have shown that health and productivity go hand-in-hand. When exposed to natural light, individuals experience better sleep, receive more vitamin D, and tend to have more energy during the day. Therefore, it makes sense that they are able to be productive! My recommendation is to create a study space near large windows so you get the most out of the natural light during the day time. Also, go outside and study when you can! Getting some air is helpful for feeling fresh and can help you focus on getting your work done!

    Place for Electronic Devices:

    If you’re like me, it’s really difficult for you to get any work done when your phone is around you. I would recommend finding a different place for this, and any other distraction, while you work. For example, I frequently use my laptop to complete assignments, and since I don’t use it to check social media, I keep it on my desk when I work. On the other hand, I put my other electronic devices in a space in the corner of my room. That way, I don’t feel tempted to constantly keep checking them. I would recommend finding a place for electronic devices if you’re like me and get easily distracted.

    Music/No Music:

    I personally prefer working in a quiet environment and cannot focus when there are noises around me, including music. However, I have many friends who find it easier to concentrate in louder spaces or when there is music playing. I think this is mainly personal preference, so implement what works best for you into your space.

    Or if you like sound, but can’t have music playing try white noise!

    Plants and Other Decorations:

    Some individuals like to decorate their workspace with things they like. Think plants, inspirational quotes, and other types of decor. Items like pictures, mementos, or other significant objects can also be helpful to have.

    Water/Snacks:

    I always have a water bottle with me when I’m trying to get work done. Staying hydrated is very important! Water helps with cognitive processes, so it’s really no wonder that people are more productive when they are hydrated. If you can eat while you work (and still be productive!), having snacks at your workspace may be helpful.

    Desk lamp:

    We all have days when we have to work on things late into the night, and it’s sometimes easier to see if you have a desk lamp. I’ve heard this is pretty common, so if you don’t already have a desk lamp and think brighter lighting over your desk may be helpful, consider buying one!

    Basic Office Supplies Easily Accessible:

    Having items like writing utensils, erasers, tape, and a stapler easily accessible in your workspace can come in handy. Most of us use these supplies on a regular basis when we’re trying to get school work (or other work) done, so it always saves time to have them at hand when working. Using bins to organize these items can be helpful as well.

    Fan/Heater:

    Although most individuals have a heating/cooling system in their house, it may sometimes feel more comfortable to work in a particular temperature. I prefer to work in a cool room, so using the fan is always very helpful during the summertime. It is key to feel comfortable in your workspace, so finding a temperature that you work best in is very helpful.

    Space to Get Up and Walk Around:

    Taking breaks is also very important and is known to increase productivity. It’s good to have room to stretch/walk around a little in your work environment. If you don’t have much space available to you, I would recommend making an effort to leave your workspace to go outside every once in a while. This can help clear your mind and will allow you to return to your task feeling more refreshed, allowing you to be more productive in the long run.

    If you loved these tips, check out this one on how to be more productive!

  • School

    Tips For A Stress-Free Semester

    Tips for Studying!

    Tips and Pointers for a Stress-Free Spring Semester

    By Uzma Issa, GirlSpring Springboarder

    It’s that time of the year again!

    It’s the time people enjoyed the winter break, it’s a new year, and school comes creeping from around the corner. People finished their midterm exams and the second semester is about to start. I don’t know about you, but I struggled with the first semester, one main issue is the problem of time management. Everyone procrastinates on assignments, putting it off until the last minute. So how can we improve our time management skills for the new year?

    I’ve had the problem of procrastinating, not wanting to do work in the moment, and pushing off assignments to finish later.

    This causes problems because I end up pushing too many assignments to finish later not giving me enough time to finish. I’ll end up staying up late or doing my homework the morning it is due.

    I have gotten better at completing assignments on time and this is how:

    1. Look at all the homework you have and evaluate how much time it will take and the difficulty of it.

    2. Create a schedule for yourself.

    3. In the schedule, vary the difficulty of assignments so you don’t have to do 2 hard or time-consuming assignments back-to-back.

    4. Include breaks to eat, use the bathroom, or leisure.

    5. Try to include a bedtime. So if you end up not being able to finish your homework in time, you cannot stay up late. Sleep is vital to our health.

    6. Stick to the schedule. If you finish something faster than you anticipated, then you may do other things or get a head start on your other assignments.

    One thing to keep in mind is that everyone needs sleep.

    As kids or teenagers, our brains are still developing; they need sleep to function properly the next day. If one goes to sleep extremely late in the night trying to finish homework for a class the next day, that person most probably will not be able to stay alert and retain the information taught in class because of their fatigue. Nationwide Children’s claims that on average, teenagers get around 7 hours of sleep, but need about 9 hours of sleep.

    Here are a few ways you can get the sleep you need:

    1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule, sleep and wake up at around the same time every day.

    2. Try not to oversleep on the weekends. It may seem beneficial, but it will be harder to get back into your sleep schedule for the weekdays.

    3. Take short, early afternoon naps. They are quick but will energize you to do work later on.

    4. Limit screen time before bed.

    5. Try to minimize screens or Bluetooth devices in your bedroom.

    6. Cut out caffeine.

    An additional note to realize is that our phones are huge distractions.

    We may not realize it, but many people use their phones more than they realize. Many people probably know this, but on the new iPhone update, there is a feature in Settings where you can track your screen time, notifications, pick-ups, and more. There is also an option to keep limits on apps you use a lot. So, I recommend setting a time limit on your phone so you can concentrate on other goals and be less distracted. Also, set a bedtime on your phone, so you don’t use your phone after a certain time, allowing you to get better sleep. Some people use their phone as a stress reliever, but it’s not the best option.

    People should partake in different stress-relieving activities such as drawing, coloring, knitting, creating something, cooking, or exercising that helps them take their mind off of stressful ideas.

    During breaks, you take from assignments, or after a stressful day, you should take some time out for yourself to do something you enjoy doing. Self-care is an important part of life and you should not spend the whole day overworking yourself but to take time out to take care of yourself. If you have lots of assignments to do or work to catch up on, do not try to do everything all at once, non-stop. Take breaks to energize yourself and do something you enjoy – then work some more.

    Overall, these are a few things that might be helpful for the second semester of this school year, or life in the future.

    I know some of these tips helped me and I am still trying to improve my time management. Good luck to everyone in school and I hope you found this article helpful!