Do you ever promise yourself you’ll have a productive study week? You tell yourself, 'this week will be different'.
You’re going to be productive, you’re not going to waste time procrastinating and you’re going to finish the week having accomplished everything you planned to.
But then life happens.
You sit down to study without a real plan and you find yourself procrastinating so nothing much gets done. You might get to the end of the week and find you’ve struggled to fit any studying in to your schedule as you’ve been so busy. Your dreams of finishing the week on track have turned into feelings of, ‘oh crap, I can’t fall behind again’!
Now planning isn’t a very exciting thing to do. But, if you want a productive study week where you can get everything done but also fit in some guilt-free relaxing, you need to do a little planning.
In this blog post you’ll discover:
- The five simple steps to having your most productive study week ever
- How you can set yourself up for a focused, productive study week in just 20 minutes each weekend
- If your studying doesn’t get scheduled it won’t get done
- Some amazing printables to put these five steps into action.
To get the value out of this blog post, grab your free printables below. I’ve created different weekly planners and a weekly task sheet for you. I’ve then bundled this up into a guide with my super popular daily study planner to create the perfect framework to a productive study week.
1. Check you’re on track
Your university should give you a syllabus or course outline with rough guidelines of the readings, assignments and activities you need to complete and when. Some courses will give you a clear calendar to stick to but for others you may have to do a little detective work to find out what you need to do and when.
It’s very important all your submission and exam dates are recorded somewhere so none surprise you. So, if you haven’t already, record all those for your current modules somewhere you’ll look regularly e.g. a calendar app, a paper diary or a wall calendar.
Spend five minutes each weekend checking you’re on schedule. It’s so easy to fall behind when you study alongside other commitments, but regularly checking how you’re doing should prevent this happening. If you are a little (or a lot behind) take action to get back on track.
Check out this blog post for 13 ways to catch up if you’ve fallen behind on your studies.
2. Work out your tasks and priorities
Once you’ve checked you’re on track, identify everything you need to do this week. I’ve created a printable weekly task list you can grab below which makes it easy to list your tasks.
Don’t just list your study-related tasks, but also list everything else you need to get done this week. There’s space on the printable to create a key so you can distinguish between different types of tasks such as studying, personal, household, business, work…etc.
Recording all your tasks in one place is more effective than having a separate studying list and a separate personal/household list. If you have separate task lists you may forget tasks or wrongly estimate how busy you are.
The last thing to do on your weekly task list is mark the key priorities for the week – the tasks that REALLY need to get done e.g. prepare for Saturday tutorial, post cousin’s birthday card.
3. Identify your commitments
Now, print a copy of my weekly planner from your free guide. I’ve created a few different versions depending on how many hours you want to focus on each day. There’s 12 and 16 hour versions in different orientations, and a 24-hour version for those who work shifts or have an odd schedule.
Next, add in all your known commitments for the week such as work and commuting, the school run, appointments, events and so on. You could use different coloured pens for each type of task. Any free time in your schedule should stand out.
4. Schedule some study sessions
Now, schedule in some study sessions on your weekly planner. Use your weekly task list from step two to determine how many study sessions you need to plan for.
Now I know plans change and things come up, so don’t feel you have to completely stick to this plan. But it’s important to remember, ‘if it doesn’t get scheduled it doesn’t get done’. If you don’t decide when you’re going to study you could get to the week and realise you’ve barely accomplished any of your tasks. Try and find some study slots so in a week’s time you’ve achieved lots and are still on track.
If you’re struggling to find times you can study this week you’re at risk of falling behind. We all have really busy weeks sometimes so if you’re prepared to put in more hours the following week to catch up then a lack of study time this week may not be critical (as long as your priorities still get done).
If you have a long to do list though and it doesn’t look like the following week will be any clearer, you need to think of ways you can free up your schedule a little.
Are there any events or appointments you can move around or change slightly so they’re shorter or closer to home?
Could you take a day off work or ask to work from home to save commuting time?
You could try meal prepping all your dinners for the week at the weekend. Spending an hour or so cooking could save you time each evening you could then spend studying.
Only you know your schedule and how important/urgent each element is. But there will always be something you can do to free up a little study time
5. Make your days productive
You should now have a list of everything you need to get done, and a schedule showing your commitments and study time for the week. Now print some copies of my daily study planner and use this to focus your study sessions.
Choose some items from your weekly task list and add them to the daily planner, highlighting the 1-3 priorities for the day. Then follow the prompts to remove distractions and pick a reward for later. Using this planner will help you get more done as it improves your productivity and reduces your procrastination. At the end of the day, tick or cross out your completed tasks from your weekly planner, and you could even prep another daily planner with what you need to do next.
If you implement these five steps you’ll feel more organised, focused and find it easier to have a productive study week.
Don’t forget to download your free printables so you can take action today and have your most productive study week ever.