For someone who’s preparing for entrance exams, one of the biggest advantages of school, colleges or offices is that they bring some form of structure to your day and make them productive. No matter what happens, you just have to wake up at 8 am and get ready to go out. And once the day begins like that, starting your preparation in the afternoon or late evening is not much of a problem, is it?
But what about the days you have no school, college or office? How do you kick-start such days? How do you make sure you don’t waste half of the day feeling groggy or putting off studying, and the rest of it feeling guilty and stressed that you haven’t studied at all?
Tips to start a day to make it productive
Here are some time-tested tricks to kick start a productive day:
1. Sleep early
Push yourself to sleep at a decent time. Make sure you get your eight hours of sleep. Sleep, among other things, will help you be more energetic, alert and focussed the next day.
What can you do to sleep early
Switch off all electronic devices at least an hour before sleep time:
The light from the screens of our devices inhibits our natural sleep
Wear a sleeping mask:
Trust me, it may look silly, but it works! The mask makes it difficult for you to open your eyes, so you get distracted less and fall asleep more easily.
Listen to soft songs:
Listen to soft songs. The ones which relax (or bore!) you the most. They will gradually make you sleep.
Switch off the lights:
Switch off the lights if possible. The dark is more conducive to sleep. However, if you have a roommate who studies at night, then get a sleeping mask as we mentioned in point two.
Meditate your worries away:
Meditate a little. This will calm down your overactive mind and help you sleep more easily. And by meditation we don’t just mean the ‘om’ kinds. You could chant, you could practice deep breathing, you could do any activity which relaxes you. Sketching, painting, anything!
2. Start the day with what makes you happy
Don’t start the day with worrying what you have to do. Start it with what makes you happy to make it productive. My personal routine during preparation was to have a good cup of coffee, tasty breakfast and read a book. You can choose a short 30 min start up routine for yourself too. Here are a few ideas;
If you are the active kind, go for a short walk. Or maybe do a short stretching routine. A quick round of your favourite sport? This is an excellent way to wake your body up.
Eat a healthy breakfast:
As I said before, how about some tea/coffee and a nice breakfast to fuel up your day? Also, don’t forget to eat breakfast. It’s very important for your overall health, especially during preparation days.
Watch a show:
You have thirty minutes. Maybe watch an episode of your favourite sitcom or cartoon? Just make sure you have the willpower to switch it off in thirty minutes.
Browse social media:
Browse your social media. Check out what your friends and favourite people are doing. Again, just make sure you do this only if it makes you feel better. Do not do this if going through other people’s accounts makes you feel bad about your life (and the fact that you have to study! :P)
All piped up for the day? Now let’s get serious and start studying. However, if you still feel low, do read this article on how to handle low days.
3. Plan your day
To make your day super productive, make sure you plan your day before you start studying. This could also be done the day before, but if you are moody like me and want to decide what to study as per your mood, you can plan your study routine at the beginning of the same day. Here’s what you do to plan the day:
- Quickly revise what you studied yesterday (very important!)
- Write down which topics you have to study today and how much time they’ll take
- Write down how many questions you’ll practice on the topics you study along with time allotted for the same
- Note down when you’ll do current affairs for the day (again, very important to do this everyday!)
- Plan when you’ll revise what you studied today (revision is very, very important!)
- If you are wondering how to create a balanced plan for studying subjects you are both strong and weak at, you can read this balanced preparation strategy tip.
4. Start easy or tough
Well, you are ready to start studying. One more thing that will decide how productive your day goes is deciding which topic to study first. Here are a few options:
Start with the easiest topic or the one you like the most:
This will get your brain warmed up for the day with the least resistance. If you already know your strength areas in the exam, these topics should be easy to find.
Start off with the topic you dislike the most, or the one you find more difficult:
This will get the tension of studying the topic off your mind and the rest of the day will be a breeze. Also, completing it gives you a sense of achievement!
Start off with the shortest topic:
Haha! I cheated myself with this. Finish your first topic within 30 minutes and bask in the self-created glory of what a genius you are.
Start with the easiest topic, followed with up the most difficult one:
This is a mixture of point 1 and 2 above. This will get your brained warmed up and then get the tension of the difficult topic off your head too.
Honestly, you can use any of these ideas. It depends on what works for you as a student.
Well, that’s about it people! I hope these tips nake starting your day a little bit easier. Do let us know your experiences or if you have any more ideas regarding how to start your day in the blog comments.