23 Essential Good Habits for Students to Start
If you’re searching for good habits for students you should know one important thing; your body craves routine. It’s always thinking about the next step after you do something. The body is either resting or it is on the go. Everyone has their own habits and routines and
I’ve talked to multiple people about their habits as a “good” student, and the trend seems to be around productivity patterns, learning techniques, fitness and different types of organizational skills. Everyone appears to have their way of scheduling and picking out the things in their student-life process. Everyone is different, so you'll have to be selective about your habits!
My experience as a student also provides some insight into what works best how to overcome certain obstacles which might hinder you with your learning and activities being a student. I have listed the things that pop up the most when it comes to being a student. I hope you enjoy the read!
1. Remember to eat…
… fruit and veggies. As a student, having a healthy eating routine is one of the most critical times to get this habit down packed!
So many of us spiral down the junk food route without even noticing.
Eating healthy is an important habit to get into because the body requires enough good stuff (minerals, fiber, proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and good fats) to function at its maximum potential.
When you're studying, you have to sit for extended periods of time, and might not notice all the other types of foods (pizza, Chinese food, chips, soft drink, chocolate, biscuits, sweets) you've been eating.
You might not realize your health is slowly declining. It’s not fun to gain an extra few pounds or feel unhealthy.
The best way to counter-act this is to replace your usual snacks with a piece of fruit and add veggies to your home dinners. When you're out, eat whatever you want... Within limits.
2. Write down a minimum of three things to do daily
Having set things to do for the day is a must! Jotting a few things down on a piece of paper or writing it on your computer/laptop helps your mind focus on a set of priorities you must do.
This is easily one of the most important habits and behavioral patterns to adopt because it’ll serve you throughout your lifetime especially when it comes to work and creating your own schedules.
It trains your mind to prioritize different tasks based on importance and helps you filter out the urgent from the not-so-urgent matters.
3. Ignore grammar and spelling mistakes
Igor will make spelling mistakes, but grandma is always there to correct him. Get it? Igor (ignore) and grandma (grammar). Man, I’m funny (kill me).
If you’re writing for an assignment, ignore all the spelling and grammar mistakes till you finish your paragraph or sentence. Cut the distractions and save it for later, especially when your fingertips are on a roll.
The last thing you want to do is lose your train of thought because you had to fix a misspelled word.
4. Establish a study zone
Have you ever found it difficult to study in your room or in the place you live?
Having a separate zone to study in is highly relevant because your mind and your body will recognize and associate the habitual patterns you have set in your study area so whenever you walk into your zone, you initiate the “time to study or work” mindset. You also condition yourself to cut out any distractions.
Why do you think people separate offices from households or have different rooms for work?
If you can’t find a place at home, go to the library or find a place cozy enough to concentrate on your work.
Note: the best place is somewhere cozy enough to get your work done but not too comfortable to drift off to sleep. A right balance between comfortable and uncomfortable, ~cozy.
Do things in small chunks, so it doesn’t take as long or as daunting. If you have an assignment, do it in small chunks as opposed to finishing everything in one go. It’s easier to do things in short bursts.
Allow your mind to process the information you just learned by easing the pressure on your brain.
I used to use a productivity technique called Pomodoro. Pomodoro is a timer set for 25-minute workloads. Work on the thing you’re doing for 25 minutes, take a short five-minute break, rinse and repeat.
After three repeats, I’d usually have a 10-minute break work for another 25 minutes then stop.
- 25 minute work - 5 minute break x3
- 25 minute work - 10 minute break x1
- 25 minute work - Stop
- Do something else for 30-25 minutes
There are many more alternatives, but I found this one the most useful to condition myself into a productive habit.
6. Getting enough sleep
No sleep for a couple of nights? That’s alright. Not sleeping and consistently changing your sleeping schedule/patterns? A big no-no.
As a student, it’s the best time to make friends and hang out. There’ll be nights you should be sleeping, but you don’t.
Just like the learning zone, your body also needs set sleeping patterns.Your body recognizes day from night and adjusts accordingly.
If you’re consistently changing your sleeping habits or not getting enough sleep, your body doesn’t have a set rhythm so it can’t function to its maximum capacity.
Have a set sleeping schedule and stick to it... When you can.
7. If it looks good, feels good then buy it… When you deserve it
Always be treating yourself when you’ve accomplished a goal! If you achieved something you wanted you should always reward yourself.
The award causes your brain to release a rush of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that’s best known to cause motivation and the desire to do things.
Creating this ritual conditions the mind to focus on the end, that thing you desired to achieve. Giving yourself a self-indulging success reward allows you to attach your goal to something tangible, something you can physically grasp in the replacement of the intangible goal.
7.1 Don’t forget, reward yourself for the little things
Have mini rewards for yourself as your progressively work on the thing you set out to do! For example, if you just wrote 300 words, take a break and treat yourself to something sweet (by "something sweet" I mean a piece of fruit. A delicious piece of sweet chocolatey fruit that melts in your mouth, yes I'm talking about chocolate).
Write another 300 words and treat yourself again. This works like the above habit, just on a micro scale, but just as important. Start with the small things!
8. Avoid them distractions!
Let’s face it; our phones are one of the biggest distractions we can have. Not only the phone though, but our laptops and computers also have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and all the other social media platforms, oh yeah and the internet to distract us from our primary focus.
Learn to restrict yourself from touching your phone or checking your social media accounts while in class or a study session.
If you keep shifting your attention away from what you’re trying to do, you could end up missing or forgetting vital information. What could take only 10 minutes might end up taking an hour or more because of the distractions.
Out of sight, out of mind. The trick is to concentrate on the task at hand, so your mind doesn’t wonder about your phone.
For your phone -
- Turn it off or put it on silent
- Place it somewhere safe where you can't see nor hear it
For laptops or computers -
- Create a separate Windows or Mac login profile
- Use it for work/study only
9. Ask for assistance (for the lone wolf)
If you truly don’t understand something even though you’ve looked through all your notes, read every chapter in your text book, googled it and youtubed it, then you need to ask for someone who knows what they’re talking about.
It’s smarter to someone for assistance as opposed to staying clueless when you don’t understand a certain aspect or part of what you’re studying. Most people will be happy sharing their knowledge with you, especially if you’re studying a topic in their field of expertise.
10. Stay organized
Staying organized will help navigate through your notes, keeps the mind clear, helps you keep track of your things, helps you stay focused and makes life a whole lot easier.
Sorting things out now can reduce a lot of time and headache down the line. Since everyone has different schedules and different things to do, there’s no one method fits all solution. You should find what you need to do and keep track of it.
I can study for a 10 hours straight.. In imaginary land.
11. Do it once, do it right
I can tell you from personal experience, it’s not fun to set unrealistic goals and miss the target by a mile.
Set achievable goals.
How, you ask? You’ll instinctively know when something is too hard. You might start with an initial gut feeling that something’s not right.
No one can tell you what goals you need to set. Only you can answer that for yourself.
To keep things simple, Look at the resources you have and ask yourself if you need to brush up or don't understand the different topics of a subject. If you notice something that requires more research, then write it down on your laptop or your to-do list.
After you achieve your small victory goal, set another one, perhaps a little more intense and scarier or the same level. Rinse and repeat.
12. Find your ideal work time
Some people work better during the day, some people work better during the night, some work better with pressure and some produce better stuff on a scheduled timeline.
There’s a natural law called Pareto’s 80/20 principle. Basically, Pareto was an economist who found ~80% of results usually comes from ~20% of the distribution. In other words, 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts.
This can be applied to anything in business, wealth distribution, your health, essentially anything measurable. In this case, daily productivity.
Find your most productive time of the day. It could be in small chunks throughout the day, a couple of hours during the morning or evening, or busting everything out in a couple of days of the week.
Find your most productive time of the day and focus on the most effective things requiring your utmost attention! 80/20 rule!
13. Naps are awesome
Had a tough day? Feeling stressed? Have a nap! If you’re feeling out of energy or had “one of those days,” have a power nap. Reset and refresh your mind with a quick shut eye. If you have a long study session, have a quick nap to recharge your mind and reinvigorate those eyes.
I’ll be honest, I had a nap before writing this part, and I’m feeling quite re-energized. It’s amazing how quick 15-minute nap can bounce you right back into productivity mode.
If you’re scuffing at this or don’t believe me, I dare you to try it yourself.
Drink some coffee or have some caffeine then have a nap. After you wake up you should feel an extra boost in energy.
- Have some caffeine before a nap
- Naps should be 15-20 minutes, otherwise it's not a nap
14. Remember to test yourself
You might be taking notes in University or college/high school. Make sure to re-use those notes and test yourself on specific topics and make sure to keep things in separate parts of a folder or in somewhere organized.
15. Thinking and creativity hack
Exercise to get the blood flowing! When you’re on a break, get up and walk around. When you have spare time, get some exercise! It’s important to keep the blood circulating and the oxygen going to the brain.
The movement will help boost your thinking and increase your creativity levels because your senses are heightened due to the faster blood circulation.
Did you know doing the dishes also contribute to increasing productivity levels?
16. Watch motivational videos and read inspirational quotes
I know, it may sound cheesy to watch motivational videos and read inspirational quotes, but it honestly helps if you’re feeling down or unmotivated. Seeing and listening to motivational things tingles the senses and widens the imagination borders.
17. Plan your exams and tests
Have a time planner such as a calendar to write out the dates of your exams and your tests. Knowing the dates and the subjects help you work backward on the topics you need to understand before that time arrives.
It’s simple as jotting down the dates and courses with the exam dates attached from the syllabus on a piece of paper. If you want, you could implement the dates and subjects on a calendar.
Your school, university or place of education should give you resources to memorize your exam times. Heck, your place of study should even tell you the dates and the topics their covering, all you have to do is re-write what they tell you.
There's a high chance you'll have test anxiety. We have a article about tips and strategies for reducing test anxiety.
Have you ever noticed someone that was constantly late? They’re usually the person that fall behind in almost every assignment, task and group work
I am was that person.
Don’t be that person.
Have a plan to be early or at least not late. Find the minimum amount of time it takes for you to travel from point A to point B. It could be from your house (point A) to school/university (point B).
19. Apply it to the real world
You learn things for a reason so you might as well start applying to the real world. When there’s an opportunity to show off what you learned, take it. Impress some people with the knowledge you gained.
Practice what you learned when you can. Start the habitual process of using the subjects and topics you're currently learning in different areas and/or other people.
Practicing helps strengthen those neurons!
20. Join in with groups!
If there’s a group learning the same topics or the same subject as you, join in. It’s much easier to learn things when you’re around other people who have the same goals as you.
If there's people, there will definitely be people with the same interests as you. It's all about numbers, the bigger the population, the diverse in interests.
If you're the shy type like myself, it makes it extra hard to join groups and activities when there are lots of people, especially when there are lots of people.
All you have to do is show up and everything will sort itself out from there!
I sure do love tweeting!
21. Make your bed
This goes hand in hand with habit #10, Stay Organised. Make your bed when you wake up because there’s nothing more stress-free than walking into your room with a nicely made bedding.
Seeing all the lines and curves of an unmade bedding is the same as being messy. The messiness bombards the brain with too much visual information which might cause the slightest rise in anxiety.
When I was younger, my granddad told me about his “daily wins.” It means how he got his kicks throughout his everyday life. He was an army brat. He always started with making his bed in the morning because it was a “daily win” for him. He then transitioned into annoying the heck out of my grandma and my dad. I miss him.
22. Don’t study on a full stomach
When your stomach is full, your body goes into cruise control mode. Your body is prioritizing its energy to your stomachs digestive system.
Your digestive system does two things at this point:
- 1. the body routes your energy to process the food.
- 2. sends a type of hormone known as cholecystokinin to your brain
The hormones tell the brain that you’ve just eating and it’s time to relax. The levels of cholecystokinin will depend on how much you have eaten.
22.1 Same for an empty stomach
When your body is in crisis mode, it can also make it hard to study.
If you don’t feed your body when it needs food, the physical symptoms intensify. The stomach starts to really hurt. You find it more difficult to concentrate and may experience lightheadedness. You may also get irritable and short-tempered. In addition, some people get shaky and nervous, while others get a headache. Because you are so ravenous at this point, once you do start to eat, you’re very vulnerable to uncontrolled eating or bingeing.
Make sure to eat before or after studying to avoid being too relaxed or aggressively hungry.
23. You know it... We know it... Exercise
I've saved the best for last, exercise. So many benefits yet so many of us don't do it actively. One of the best habits to set as a student because you must likely have free access to the gyms and group activities.
Your only job is to show up... with appropriate gear (you don't want the awkwardness of chafing).
If you want somewhere more outdoors, go for a run or a walk to your closest park or somewhere you're familiar with.
Make a time in your schedule for at least once a week to either go to the gym, go for a walk or participate in group activities. Just make sure to show up.
As you might be able to tell, most of the above are just suggestions. Habitual routines above are just guidelines if you don’t have or can’t think of anything else. At the end of the day, you should make your own routines and create schedules according to your subjects and their exams/test dates.
Once you have the set rituals down packed, there’ll be an exponential growth in the area you’re studying. These things you’re teaching yourself will turn out to be highly valuable for yourself in the future.