A key to successful course taking is the ability to study. You should have a quiet space without distraction that you can sit down and spend time taking in the knowledge your courses require. This may seem like a simple thing to do, but… well no, it doesn’t really seem simple at all.
There are so many distractions in our everyday lives. You may have a job where you are on call even when you are at home, so your phone must always be on. If you have a family and children, while we wouldn’t go so far as to call them a distraction, they certainly don’t make studying easy. Even your dog can cut into your study time if there is a sudden need to go outside!
That isn’t even factoring in all the modern technological distractions we battle constantly. Twitter, Tumblr, and even news sites are all like quicksand for your mind; once you get stuck into one, it’s hard to get back out. Even worse, they keep calling you back once you do leave with endless notifications and the lure of infinite distraction.
All that being said, if you are looking to take courses to gain experience and the ability to take certification exams to start a new career or further your current one, you’ll need to figure out how to study without distraction. While this is easier said than done, the motivating factor should be the improvement in quality of living you receive when you are working to climb the corporate ladder, or break into an industry with better job prospects or higher pay or better hours.
Thankfully, there are websites out there that can boost your productivity and maximize your time. Here are our picks for ten of the best.
1. Block Out Distractions
It’s important to recognize that social media isn’t just distracting, it’s addictive. Just like many other addictions sometimes sheer willpower isn’t enough to stop yourself from returning to the vortex. You can start out by turning off notifications for these apps. It is still difficult to not pick up your phone and look, but at least if your phone is not beeping constantly with notifications you won’t be as easily pulled toward it. Luckily there are a range of websites out there where you can download apps to help you even further.
Self Control is a free app for Macs that allows you to block out a personalized selection of distracting websites for a set amount of time. Once you set the timer, even restarting your computer won’t let you access those sites until the timer is finished. Cold Turkey, for both Mac and PC, is similar but allows you to block sites indefinitely if you want.
2. Develop a Schedule
Your time is precious because it is so limited, but it’s easy to lose sight of that fact. This scheduling tool from Study Guides and Strategies is a simple way of seeing how many hours you actually have in the day, once you account for getting enough sleep, studying, going to classes, and so on.
When you keep a detailed account of how you spend your time, it is incredible to see all the things that are a distraction. Even though you might only spend 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there on Instagram, if you do that 15 times a day that’s an hour and fifteen minutes you could be doing something more productive.
3. Sleep Right
Speaking of getting enough sleep, there’s a great tool out there that helps you work out the best time to go to sleep based on when you need to be up. Sleepy Ti.me uses the science of REM cycles to calculate your optimal bedtime – you want to wake up in between sleep cycles, not during one. This is helpful even if you have to pull a late study session – for example, if you need to be up at 7:00 am you’re better off crashing out at 2:30 am than 1:00 am.
4. Ease Your Money-Worried Mind
Stress is a major productivity killer, and stressing about money is particularly bad. Studies have shown that workers who are worried about their finances may as well be absent for two full weeks of the year — and they have jobs! Many students have a very limited income, so a website like StudentRate, that aggregates a huge range of student deals and discounts in your area for you to browse, can save you money and ease your financial stress.
5. Gamify Your Life
Habitica is an app that helps you improve your productivity and form good habits in real life using the tools of a game. ‘Gamifying’ your study habits is a great way to stay focused and achieve your goals.
Merriam-Webster don’t just have an awesome dictionary app featuring word of the day and sentence examples. They also produce a gamification app called Quizzitive to test your vocabulary and the official Scrabble dictionary app.
6. Track Your Tasks
Human brains aren’t very good at focusing on one intensive task for hours at a time, and science has clearly shown that taking breaks increases productivity. Tomato Timer is a simple website that allows you to set 25-minute timers for work, with five or ten-minute breaks in between.
To-do lists are a tried and true method for staying on top of daily tasks. Todoist is the ultimate to-do list for the 21st century, allowing you to take your lists with you wherever you go, share and collaborate on tasks, and get notifications to help you stay on track.
7. Hoard Knowledge
Stack Exchange is a collection of question-and-answer communities where you can find informed answers about chemistry, math, programming, and pretty much anything else.
A treasure trove of computerized information, Wolfram Alpha has the answer to every question. From computer science and mathematics to history and the arts, this website and app literally puts the world’s knowledge into the palm of your hand.
8. Make the Count
Trying to hit word counts isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be a grueling battle for many people. 4theWords makes that battle literal by transforming your word count goals into epic quests, legendary items, and battles with monsters. Written Kitten makes that battle adorable with a new kitten image every time you hit a word goal! Also check out Zotero or Citation Generator for easy-to-use research and citation guidance when formatting your references and bibliographies.
9. Map Your Notes
Mind mapping is a powerful note-taking tool, and Coggle makes it simple in the laptop age with an intuitive mind mapping tool that lives in your internet browser.
Note taking in and of itself is a powerful tool as well. Don’t forget that there are studies that show writing down notes with pen and paper helps your brain to absorb the knowledge in ways that typing it on a computer does not.
10. Save Your Cash
Textbooks can be super expensive. Save your cash by purchasing second hand textbooks, get study help and test preparation all in the one spot at Chegg. There are also ways you can rent your textbooks as well, for those you will not need to keep as reference.
Boost Your Study Potential at CCI Training Center
Want to know where you can put all these study tips to good use? CCI Training Center is a vocational college in Texas where you can study to enter any of the top industries hiring in Texas right now!
The healthcare and IT industries especially are desperate for well trained employees who are motivated to do well in a new career. Just because you don’t have a four year degree from a university doesn’t mean you cannot make yourself more than qualified for important roles in these industries. The support staff needed to for the mammoth healthcare industry alone is all the job security one could ever need. CCI Training Center has the certifications that can make you the most marketable candidate for the positions hiring right now!
Our instructors all work or have worked in the industries they teach about. You will not only gain job skills knowledge, but real life applicable knowledge for the jobs you are seeking. CCI Training Center also offers resume building, interview preparation, and on the job assistance even after you are hired into a position. We are here for our students from the beginning of their journey all the way into their bright future in a new career.
If you’ve been thinking about a career change, but are concerned you don’t have time to commit to classes, CCI Training Center has solved that problem for you. Many of our courses only require one or two days for you to come to CCI Training Center, and some even have online options. You can be in your new career in less than a year if you are dedicated to the program our staff will help you to tailor to your lifestyle and needs.