3 Tips on How to Sneak in Your Studying

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Studying at the Gym - Ashford University

“Holy cow… My paper is due when? No way!”

Sound familiar? If you’re reading this, then chances are pretty good that you’ve uttered this phrase at least once in your life. Regardless of how keen our time management skills, no matter how determined we become at making sure we get all of our studying done in the time allotted, there are bound to be times when the inevitable happens. As students, we can simply run out of time and face looming deadlines that seem almost impossible to meet.

To help prevent these “Oh no!” moments, here are 3 study tips to help you sneak in some extra homework time. Don’t beat the clock: cheat the clock!

Tip #1: Turn off and tune in.

Do you really need to know who the next singing competition winner will be? Let’s face it: TV is so bewitching that we literally waste hours in front of it, sometimes not even enjoying or paying attention to what we’re watching! In fact, one study says that by age 65, we’ve spent nine years of our lives – nine years! – devoted to watching TV (BPHC, n.d.). Excessive TV watching is also known to be a major contributor to diabetes and other health risks (Jaslow, 2011).

So while hi-def resolution is certainly pretty nifty, real life is a whole lot better.

Suggestion: Start off slowly by turning off your TV one hour each week, and use that time for assignments or discussion work. You may find that it’s habit forming!

Tip #2: What are you waiting for?

Whether you’re heading to a doctor’s appointment or picking up your kid from her after-school activity, it’s inevitable: you’re often forced to wait. And wait. And wait. Instead of getting impatient, use those waiting times as opportunities! Here is a perfect example from my life. When I make an appointment, whether it’s for medical, dental, or even for a haircut, I always bring a backpack. Its contents are based on the answer to one of the most important questions known to modern humanity: “Do you have wifi?” If yes, my laptop comes along. If no, then a textbook, pen, and highlighter come along for the ride. High-tech or low-tech, I’m getting work done while I wait.

Suggestion: Whenever you leave the house bring along some schoolwork. Even a few minutes during waiting times will produce tangible work and it will also make you feel better about yourself. And who doesn’t want that?

Tip #3: If you can walk and chew gum…

Many of us claim that we’re multitaskers. But are we effective multitaskers? While there’s a lot to be said for listening to music while driving, those Top 40 tunes probably won’t help you reach your professional and personal goals. So instead of tunes, listen to a lecture. I’ve also been known to bring digital textbooks to the gym so I can bone up on course material on the bike or treadmill. I’ve even used text-to-speech programs to create mp3 files of textbook chapters that I listen to while mowing the lawn. Crazy? Perhaps. But it’s the best way to get several things done at once and stay motivated to learn.

Suggestion: Whenever you drive, walk, or exercise, consider ways to maximize technology. Use your mp3 player, tablet, or Kindle to listen to lecture material, or subscribe to Audible or another app to listen to experts in the field you’re studying.

By turning off the TV, using waiting times wisely, and replacing Tom Petty with TED Talks, you’ll find you’ve got a much better chance to reduce those dreaded “Oh no!” moments and avoid late penalties due to missed deadlines.

How do you sneak in some study time?

Written by: Dr. Keith Pressey
Dr. Keith Pressey of Warner Robins, GA is a full-time faculty member in Ashford University’s College of Education. He has a PhD in Professional Studies in Education, with an emphasis on Training and Performance Improvement from Capella University; a Master of Science in International Relations from Troy State University; a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Development from Hawaii Pacific University; and an Associate of Arts in Instructional Technology with the Community College of the Air Force. Dr. Pressey retired after 20 years in the Air Force as Master Sergeant (and honorary Chief Petty Officer with the Navy), where he performed as signals intelligence (SIGINT) analyst and SIGINT technical trainer.

Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), (n.d.) Get Healthy Campaign: Turn off the TV. Retrieved from http://www.bphc.org/programs/cib/chronicdisease/heal/gethealthy/turnoffthetv/Pages/Home.aspx.
Jaslow, R. (2011). Sedentary lifestyle tied to diabetes, heart disease, premature death: Is TV to blame? CBS News. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20071234-10391704.html.

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