With the new school year here, college students are back to the books…and pulling the infamous all-nighters. In fact, surveys from Psychology 101 classes (which polled college students from several majors) revealed that 65 had pulled at least one all-nighter while 45 had not. Consequently, the study showed that those who had pulled an all-nighter had a (slightly) lower GPA than those who didn’t While reasons other than the occasional all-nighter may factor in—such as poor note taking and not going to class—not sleeping before a test could inhibit students’ abilities to remember the information they studied the night before. To prevent college students from spending caffeinated, sleepless nights, we compiled 13 productivity hacks geared to help college students battle procrastination, reduce all-nighters, and succeed in school (#2 includes blueprint storage rack!).
- Leverage the “Do Not Disturb” Feature on Phones
Nearly all phones have a “do not disturb” option. This feature restricts notifications—like texts and calls—from showing up on the screen. College students who are hitting the books can decrease distractions and stay focus by leveraging this productivity hack. To use it, go to the phone settings, then “Do Not Disturb.” From there, students can select the setting options that best fits their study needs: Manual, Schedule, Allow Calls From, Repeat Calls…
- A Clean Study Space Matters
A Princeton University study revealed that objects in an individual’s line of vision compete for their attention, which hinders performance and increases stress. College students can prevent this from happening by ensuring their study space stays clean and organized. This will allow students to study more effectively.
- Re-Think the All-Nighter
Contrary to popular belief, the infamous all-nighter associated with college finals may do more damage than good. According to Business Insider, students who pull an all-night may feel euphoric and a feeling of positivity. However, the overly optimistic dissipates quickly and, according to the researchers, could lead to risky behavior.
The article goes on to state that getting little to no sleep wreaks havoc on the brain’s ability to retain memory. Meaning, all of that cramming and large quantities of caffeine may not be worth it. College students considering an all-nighter need to make the choice if an extra few hours of studying is worth the risks.
- Use Organization Apps and Calendars for Better Planning
From the Physics 101 exam next Monday to an in-class essay on Friday plus extra circulars, college students are juggling several commitments. To make it easier for them to keep track of and stay on top of them, students can use organization apps, such as Wunderlist, to prioritize what and when things need to get done. Students can also use Google Calendar or iCalendar to sync their schedules to multiple devices. That way, whatever electronic device the student is using, he or she has quick access to it.
- Write It Down
A study involving Princeton and University of California students (300 plus) showed that students who took long form notes had better recall than those who typed them on laptops.
The actual act of writing helps students retain information. Since manual writing takes longer than typing, students have to make the conscious decision of what to write down and what to leave out. To get the most out of class, students should stick to long form writing or at least alternate between typing and writing their notes. Still, students who prefer typing can study in other ways that involve writing—such as using notecards, creating charts to organize the information, etc.
- Just Start to Eliminate Procrastination
A 2007 study revealed that 80% to 95% of college students procrastinate, especially when it comes to course work. To reduce these figures, students need to just start, even if it is for 15 minutes. Starting the school work is enough to break through that procrastination barrier. From doing this, that 15 minutes may turn into an hour, which may turn into a task complete.
- That Morning Break Counts
Those who believe that taking an early break is a sign of an unproductive day may be surprised by this research. A survey of 95 employees showed that taking a mid-morning break was more effective than a mid-afternoon one. This is because the break is early enough in the day where students still have energy. An early break recharges energy, performance, and concentration. Which then allows for a better study session.
- Keep Computer Desktop Clean
Similar to a physical messy desk, scattered folders and images on computer desktops contribute to clutter. Students should re-organize desktop folders and images to help create a proactive, organizational mindset.
- Using the Pomodoro Technique for Studying
Contrary to popular belief, not all studying happens in one long burst. Breaking it into chunks may help decrease procrastination inclinations and improve focus. There are several ways students can do this. The Pomodoro Technique, one famous productivity hack we discussed in _______, uses 25-minute increments with 5-minute breaks in between to space out productivity.
- Leverage the 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule uses the thinking that 20% of input is responsible for 80% of the results. Applying this principal to college, 20% of studying yields 80% of students’ academic performance. This makes sense, especially when we consider a study that shows that the average worker is only productive for roughly 3 hours (2 hours 53 minutes, to be exact) in a standard, 8-hour workday.
While this is slightly more than 20%, it goes to show how much influence a small percentage of time has. To take advantage of that 20%, college students should consider allotting work and break times.
- Not Everyone’s Circadian Rhythm is the Same
Your circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that regulates when you are tired and alert. In other words, it is your sleep-wake cycle. Thanks to it, you tend to wake up, go to bed, and feel energized around the same times every day. With most people working from 9 to 5, it may seem like everyone’s circadian rhythm is the same. However, if you notice people’s work and study patterns, that is not always the case.
Case in point: Night owls and morning risers. In fact, with enough time, you can trick your circadian rhythm, staying alert at times when other people are falling asleep. This may be why some students who pull all-nighters or study at night may actually do well on tests (however, it is not enough reason to start the habit). Still, it is worth tracking when students are at their most energized and when they feel the most tired. That way, using this information, students can schedule study sessions and study groups around their most energized times, getting the most from them.
- Use a Blueprint Storage Rack to Increase Organization
Students can save time looking for papers and study guides by utilizing a blueprint storage rack. Only taking up 24 inches of space, students can store thousands of documents in them—essays, tests, study guides, notes, you name it. Storing up to 60 hangers, students can easily thumb through documents and easily find what they are looking for.
- If Students Must Pull an All-Nighter
If college students need to pull an all-nighter, simply gulping 5 cups of coffee and hitting the books is not going to cut it. Since coffee is a diuretic, in taking multiple lattes can cause dehydration. Instead of drinking the brew, go for water instead. Also, take frequent short exercise breaks to increase blood flow.
Students can improve their productivity by using a number of these simple hacks. Using productive-friendly furniture, like the blueprint storage rack, keeps documents organized and easy to find. Allotting specific time periods for studying and breaks will increase focus and simply starting can help students avoid procrastination. Have other productivity hacks? Leave a comment!
- Use the “Do Not Disturb” function on phones to prevent texts and calls from interrupting study sessions
- Keep study spaces clean to help maintain focus
- All-Nighters are associated with poor recall; consider re-thinking it
- Wunderlist, Google Calendar, and iCalendar helps students stay on top of courses and extra circulars
- Long form writing leads to better information retainment than typing on a laptop
- Eliminate procrastination by just starting
- A morning break is much more effective than a mid-afternoon one
- Keep computer desktops clean to create a more organized mindset
- Use the Pomodoro Technique to schedule work and break periods
- The 80/20 principal states that 80% of outcomes are due to 20% of input
- Track circadian rhythm to learn the most energized and unproductive periods of the day
- Use a blueprint storage rack to organize documents
- If an all-nighter is a must, opt for water instead of coffee and do small exercises to increase blood flow
Contact Big Blueprint Hanger to learn more about the blueprint storage rack.
 JNeurosci The Journal of Neuroscience: Interaction of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex
 Business Insider: Infographic: How Much Damage All-Nighters Do to Your Body
 US Today College: Staying on Track for Finals: Productivity Hacks That Work
 Business Insider: Here’s the best time to take a coffee break for maximum productivity