Hello again everybody! I hope your studies are moving along nicely and you are on track for the Christmas break (or your festival of choice). I know from experience that getting Open University TMAs and assignments out of the way before the festive holidays is always a great feeling. Last week we focused on ways to help combat procrastination, stay off technology and on task. Following on from that lead I would like to share with you some more ways to boost productivity and reach our end goal.

First of all let’s keep it simple. That’s why I suggest you study at your most effective times. If you are more effective studying first thing in the morning or last thing at night then try to work your schedule around your strongest times. Waking up early in the morning works best for some people because not only are we at our brightest and mentally switched on at this time of the day (or at least after a coffee) but getting our studying or essay writing out of the way can help us throughout the day knowing that we can do a day’s work without having studies to come home to. This can, in turn, alleviate pressure.

Alternatively others may work differently or this may not be possible. Working late into the night could suit your lifestyle -especially if dictated by young children or awkward working patterns- or represent your preferred method of studying. Developing and sticking to a schedule is also vital. Allocate time and energy to your studies at a pre-arranged time each day or whenever you can to stay on task. Find a comfortable, spacious, well-lit space where you can concentrate free from distractions.

Try to remain calm and focused. Adapt your routine and focus around your core strengths. The Open University courses usually contain a mix of computer work, online tasks and evidence sourcing as well as DVDs and CDs to work with and listen to. Auditory learners would therefore respond more favourably to CDs while visual learners would respond to written information in text books or video information. Know your strong points and study weaknesses and work on both as much as possible.

Take full advantage of your tutorials. One of the great things about the Open University is the regularly scheduled tutorials. These are a super resource as you get the opportunity to pick the brains of the tutor and fellow students. Bounce ideas off fellow learners and take a copious amount of notes because they will prove extremely useful when the dust has settled and you can look back on discussions and talking points with added confidence that you are on the right lines.

Know when to study and know when to rest and recuperate. Good quality studying is worth its weight in gold but trying to push through with tired eyes and a tired brain is inefficient. Regular mental breaks, glasses of water, deep breaths and a walk around the room can all help stimulate those brain cells.

And finally here are a couple of quick resources that may help you tighten up your time and efficiency.

Password keepers like LastPass save time by storing all of your passwords in one place and manages your login information for different sites. Throw away that exercise book of written passwords and start using highly secure passwords rather than the name of your pets.

Flitting away valuable study time on frivolous tasks or wasting hours on the internet can be detrimental to our progress. Time trackers like Rescue Time can help pull us back into reality by tracking the time we spend on the computer. The basic version is free and has proved by effective in the STOU household since we started using it.

Did you enjoy this article or find it useful? Do you have any productivity tips that work for you? Please LIKE/TWEET/SHARE and drop a comment below with your thoughts.

The image for our Open University assistance guide coming soon!

The image for our Open University assistance guide coming soon!