How To Study When You Have No Time

Study success tips to use when you have no time

If you want to study but lack of time is holding you back, this study success guide is here for you.

The good news is that study time doesn’t have to involve locking yourself away in a room for hours on your own. When you’re diligent and motivated, your study can become a part of your everyday routine without having to sacrifice the other parts of your day. These study success tips will help you take the next logical step to improve your career.

When you have no time, study smarter

Smart study is all about efficiency. Whether you’re revising for an exam or preparing a presentation, make sure you know which areas you need to focus on and stick to those. Keep your course guide or assessment rubric handy while you work and check off all the key points that will guarantee your success. Utilise resources like learning coaches and tutors. Complete all your compulsory readings and questions before moving on to extra or more advanced sections. This helps you to avoid potential time wasting on reading irrelevant textbook chapters or course notes.

Chunk and plan. When you feel lost and overwhelmed by the course content you need to get through, break it down into key headings or points and then work your way through this list. Take five minutes before a study session to plan which areas you need to focus on and exactly what you’re going to cover. Planning can save you hours of wasted time down the track.

While it’s tempting to spend hours reading every Wikipedia article that’s loosely related to your study topic, when time is scarce, staying on target is the key. Minimise distractions like social media, television and instant messages.

Tip: Have a set guideline of your topics and key points you need to cover during your study sessions. Study smarter, not harder.

Build your active study muscle to save study time

Become an active studier. Don’t simply read and highlight your notes. Go the extra effort and rewrite content in your own words to aid memory retention and build review notes at the same time. For longer, detailed sections, it’s best to make simple summaries and mind maps. This will force you to hone in on what’s important and provides you with a key resource you can consult later.

Study techniques such as the Pomodoro method, where you take small breaks between short study chunks, can keep you switched on and focused during a study session, so you avoid procrastination.

Complete all questions and exercises, consolidate your content, and when you think you understand something, attempt to teach it to someone else. This reinforces your understanding, shows you where knowledge gaps are, and makes studying social and engaging. Explain what you’re learning to your friends or family over a meal or talk to the dog while you walk.

Tip: Put information into your own words and use images or diagrams to consolidate the knowledge. Consolidation is key.


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Turn dead time into study time

Get creative. Really starting to feel the pinch? Don’t think you can find even an hour to sit down and study? Then it’s time to get creative about when and where you’re studying.

  • Use the commute time to work every morning to read over your notes or make new flashcards.
  • Put posters on the back of the toilet door or around the bathroom mirror for a quick review prompt whenever you need to refresh.
  • Using flashcard apps such as Quizlet and Anki on your phone or device. Whenever you find yourself standing in line or waiting for someone who’s running late, you can easily start a mini revision session.

Tip: Think outside the box and find innovative ways to take advantage of dead time during your day.

When you have no time, use your environment to make studying easier

Try text-to-speech tools. Make use of a text-to-speech program and turn your notes into an MP3 that you can listen to on the go. Additionally, look at resources like Audible to see if any of your texts are available as an audiobook.

You’ll be surprised how much content you consume if you put it on whenever you’re in the car, walking the dog or doing chores around the house such as ironing or preparing dinner. After a while, you’ll find that certain parts of the course have stuck in your head and be much further along with review than where you would have been otherwise. However, be careful of relying too heavily on this, listening to your notes is most effective when combined with active study later on.

Use your voice, too. Research also suggests that speaking out loud will aid in memory recall. Use time around the house to talk to yourself or your pets or sing your notes to calming music.

Tip: Listening can be just as effective as reading. Utilise listening tools to help consume course content.

How To Study Smarter

Create a study prep ritual

For busy people, Sunday is often designated meal prep time. Why not use another hour of your weekend and prep the study you’ll do for the rest of the week too?

How to prep like a pro:

  • Consult your course guide and make a list of all the key things you’ll learn that week, giving yourself a plan for what to study each day.
  • Write the flashcards that you can study on the train and download all the MP3s you’ll listen to as you drive.
  • Make a new poster for the toilet door.
  • Combine your prepping sessions and let your casserole simmer until your study prep is done, or challenge yourself to make as many flashcards as possible while your lasagne is in the oven.

Then treat yourself to a Netflix session or dinner with a friend, knowing you are organised for the week ahead.

Tip: You can never be too prepared. Plan your week before it starts and never feel like you’re at a loss for what to study.

By following this guide, you’ll find yourself feeling less stressed about finding time in your schedule to get your studying done. You’ll feel accomplished and satisfied knowing that you are studying smart for yourself and your future.