It’s that time of year again. Time to spend days on end cooped up in front your computer screen, finally understanding why your professors said “attendance to lectures is highly recommended”. It’s the time where students all over the globe channel 100% of their focus into exam prep, and any other healthy habit practiced throughout the year flies out the window.
On top of being passionate about health and fitness, I’m really into productivity hacks. I love reading books about maximizing efficiency and self-development. So I’ve decided to combine these all in a post on how to stay fit, health and productive during exam time. I hope it’s helpful to some of you, and I take full credit if you end the semester with a six-pack and a 98% average (: ~~ (kidding)
Get a good routine in
There’s a lot of research that suggests benefits of having a regular routine; going to bed and waking up around the same time every day. Having a very regular, ordered daily schedule will train your brain to be awake and productive at the times where you need it to. On top of it that, having a very regular routine during your exam prep time, will allow you focus all of your mental energy on studying. So pick the times where you know you work best (some of us it’s in the morning, others in the evening) and organize a daily routine which ensures you get your 8 hours of sleep a night. Trust me, finance revision is all the more painful when you’re exhausted to begin with.
One of the first things to go when that “exam-cram” mode kicks in, are the daily workouts. Although it may seem like the gym is a “waste of time” and #AintNoBodyGotTimeForThat ~ I swear, getting a good sweat in will not only improve your mood and make studying a hell of a lot more pleasant, but it is also scientifically proven to improve your concentration. I’m not saying you should spend hours at the gym, but a quick 30 minute HIIT session is enough to get your blood pumping and will have you way more focused when it comes down to study time.
Spending hours making a gorgeous smoothie bowl with all the toppings is all fun and games but lets be real, June is not the time for that. It’s a hell of a lot easier and quicker to grab some pre-packaged food and avoid the hassle of cooking. I completely understand, but not all snacks are made equal. There are so many healthy, easy, things to snack on while studying, here are some my favs:
- Rice cakes: Nothing easier nor lighter, top with some nut butter for something more filling
- Fruit: Opt for berries for a lower sugar option (plus you don’t have to cut them up- double win!)
- Veggies and hummus (Check ingredients for hummus without added sugar or other nasties)
- Smoothies: it takes 5 minutes to chuck stuff in the blender, plus it’s even easier to sip on something while revising (please try have at least one veggie in there…I swear you won’t taste spinach!)
Make sure you watch out for those “faux-healthy” snacks that may seem like a healthy alternative, but are really not all that good for you at all…
- Trail mix: mostly roasted, salted nuts and dried fruit; very high in sugar & fat. If you’re going to snack on nuts make sure they’re raw and unsalted since the roasted ones have added oil (meaning extra fat and calories), and the salt makes them way more addictive (you’re more likely to over-eat) while the dried fruit are literally pure sugar.
- Granola Bars: Yet again, key is checking the ingredients and nutritional facts. You’d be shocked at how much sugar is in even the “healthy-looking” bars…
If you have the luxury of taking an afternoon off studying, I really really recommend you do some meal prepping ahead of time. I made a giant batch of veggie and tofu curry with lentils; something very filling, that I divided into Tupperwares and chucked in the freezer for next week when I know I won’t have time. Bulk cooking is a huge time saver, so if you’re willing, a few hours of cooking on one day will save you heaps and heaps of time when you’re in true cram mode.
This is a technique I use religiously when I really wanna get shit done. It’s essentially a time management technique which breaks down studying into 25 minutes work – 5 minutes rest intervals (basically HIIT for your brain :p ). I usually write down a tick on a Post-It after every 25 mins of solid work, and add it up at the end of the day to see how much work I did. It’s heeeella effective, especially if you’re of a competitive nature. The focus is on the fact that the 25 minutes are of constant work. This means no checking your phone, no staring into space thinking about what you’re gonna have as a snack or trying to remember the name of that movie you saw last September with that actor, what’s his name again?
When the clock hits x:25 or x:55, you stop, record it, and take 5 minutes to go to the bathroom, fill up your water bottle, have a quick scroll through Insta etc. Honestly the most efficient studying I’ve ever done has been using the Pomodoro Technique, so I really recommend giving it a try.
One last tip…actually sit and study instead of writing a blog post about it (:
Pretty self-explanitory…but I should really take my own advice cuz my exams start tomorrow. Oh and you should probably get off the internet and get started as well 🙂
If you have any other Exam Study hacks comment them below!!! And good luck guys :*