I’ll study after school and get ahead of my tasks! Said every very optimistic student ever but never actually did it.

I know the feeling of being super motivated while you’re still at school and telling yourself that when you get home, you’ll study and finally be *that* student. Then you get home, and all you want to do is sleep the day away. I understand because I do that too. Even more often now because my class schedule is from 8 AM to 5 PM. I am about to lose my sanity as we speak.

However, sometimes we just have to make sacrifices even at school. These sacrifices won’t end in vain, though. It will be a cumulative achievement, and you’ll thank yourself for it.

And no, you don’t need a hundred liters of coffee to do these tips. Though it sounds good…

Why study after school?

First, setting aside some time after school allows you to get smaller assignments out of the way. Your teacher tells you to look up the stages of photosynthesis? Done. Your professor opens up a discussion board about your lecture and you have to submit your insight as well as reply to two different classmates on theirs? Done and out the door.

It doesn’t seem like much because it’s a smaller task, but putting it off for later eventually adds up to the pile of more important things you have to do, so just have it finished as early as possible.

Second, having time to study after school fills the knowledge gap on what you learned that day. I remember having a lecture on how to determine the age of rocks based on their layers. I thought I understood it because it’s just.. rock layers, but we had an activity for it and realized I had it all backwards. That same night, I spent about an hour studying it again. I got a pretty good mark on our next test.

That being said, studying after school reinforces what you learned from your lectures throughout the day. This helps you to remember your lessons better, as well as free up your time because you don’t have to have a big bulk of time allotted for studying. Active recall, anyone? I’ll talk about this in my next blog post. : )

So now that we have reasons to study after school…

How do you study after school?

1. Have a good night’s sleep

The first and most obvious. This tip is probably the most overrated tip, but also the most underappreciated one. We never realize the power of having a good night’s sleep, so I’ll break it down.

When we have complete hours of sleep, our brain functions better because it’s when our nerve cells reorganize themselves. It helps us maintain pathways that help our neurons communicate with each other, and these pathways let us learn. Okay, we’re a little too science-y now.

Getting the right amount of sleep also reduces tiredness which can lead to procrastination. You’re not contemplating whether you should study or nap first, and you ultimately have the energy to study.

Sleeping not only physically restores us, but it also mentally replenishes us. So go to sleep bestie, see where it gets you.

2. Don’t take a nap

Yup, you read that right. Don’t take a nap before studying after school. I know this is our first instinct after getting home from school, but just… don’t do it. Here’s why.

Instead of napping, just have an actual sleep. Now I’m not saying sleep at 4 PM then wake up at 12 AM to have a study session until 5 AM. It sounds nice, but you might not wake up on time. Sleep for about 2 hours and don’t have a 20-minute power nap. Let’s be honest, that just makes us feel more tired and sluggish. Personally, my brain feels fuzzy after power naps, my concentration is all over the place, and it’s just not a vibe.

Also, this is much better than scrolling on your phone and then napping and then studying. We both know you won’t be able to sleep, and you might end up actually wasting time instead of studying.

Although don’t be afraid to rest for a while after getting home. It will be just as counterproductive if you want to chop-chop right as you’re through the door.

3. Plan out your study schedule

This tip you should do before doing the previous tip. Most of the study tips I see would tell you that you should plan out your schedule right before studying, but I am an advocate for planning things out before sleeping. I explained here why.

Having a schedule already arranged helps you to just get started right away because you’re not organizing and reorganizing your plans anymore. It also reduces the time you spend mindlessly. Meaning, an agenda that’s laid out in front of you will more likely come to fruition than an agenda that’s still in your head.

Planning out your schedule lets you know your priorities. It lets you decide what to prioritize and what to not, therefore giving you time to be more productive to get more studying and work done.

4. Limit the time you can study

You may have heard this, but I’ll say it again. Having limited time to do something significantly increases the chance of it being done. Bestie Parkinson really had it nailed with his law.

Instead of setting up a start time, have an end time instead. If you plan out your days like, “Okay, tomorrow I’ll start by 10 AM and keep working from there.” You should stop doing that. Why?

Having a start time but not an end time makes you more unproductive because you’ll end up dragging your tasks down, therefore spending more time trying to get them done, which will result in being tired but unsatisfied. And it’s such a bad feeling knowing you got things done but you don’t feel accomplished.

Besides making you more disciplined in finishing your tasks, having limited time to study also makes way for you to have more sleep, which is probably the beginning of any attempt to be productive.

With these tips, it is important to still listen to and be honest with yourself. If you know that you can’t squeeze in a study session after school because you’re tired, it’s probably best that you skip it for now. It won’t be the end of the world when you miss a day of studying. Take care of yourself, and the rest will take care of themselves.