In the first of our ‘Student’s Corner’ articles, Year 12 student councillor Devdhar Mehta provides some helpful advice for those who are studying at home.

I agree that getting school work done is hard.  It can be boring and repetitive, but you have to get it done. Not only that, you want to do it at the highest level you can. I was suffering the same problem because I didn’t want to spend 4 hours writing one essay.

But here’s the deal.

I realised that if you could remove the distraction and really figure out exactly what you want to do by a deadline, you could cut the time by half.

So this is what I did for a lengthy specialist research assignment:

  • I wrote down the exact questions I wanted to research with the approximate number of dot points I wanted.
  • Then figured out how long each question should take to research.
  • I then divided the time into 30 minute blocks and wrote down the exact outcome I wanted by the end of each 30 minute period (E.g. By the end of the first 30 minute block, I want to have finished 3 questions, each with at least 5 dot points).
  • I turned off notifications on my phone
  • I set a timer for 30 minutes and started work on the tasks assigned for that first block.

Using this I managed to get my assignment done in half the time. You can use a similar system to get your work done quicker as well. Here’s the exact process:

  1. Break the task into the tiniest components
  2. Put the ‘small components’ into a series of 30 minute blocks and decide exactly what you want done by the end of each 30 minute session.
  3. Remove ALL distractions [social media, television, radio, people walking past, music… everything]
  4. Start work on the first block.

This will change the psychology of how you get your work done. Instead of ‘easing’ into your task, you now have a deadline with a specific goal.  You’ll go, “Right, I only have 30 minutes to do this,” and get more work done.

After the first session have a 1 to 2 minute break before the next one. This will give you time to reset and you will stay in the flow for your next session. And don’t check your phone in this break – seriously, it’s a productivity killer.

Now to the most important part of the process.

REWARD YOURSELF MORE!

Thousands of years of evolution has made a brain that values immediate pleasure and if you don’t reward yourself after doing the work, you are unlikely to do it again. The reward could be anything like watching two hours of television, playing PS4… anything.

Trust me, this is the most ignored but the most important part of being more effective.

Good Luck!