Accelerated Learning and Life Skills

Manage Your Physical and Mental Energy

As a student, one of the most important skills you can have, one that will help you succeed in school and in life, is the ability to manage your physical and mental energy. Managing your energy is all about being aware of how you are feeling both physically and mentally. Have you ever tried to study while you were physically tired or mentally exhausted? I have and it is not easy. In fact, it is virtually impossible to study effectively if you can barely keep your eyes open. It is much better to take a 10 minute break and do something energizing than to try and plow forward in an exhausted state. Here are a few ideas for quick energy-boosting breaks:

  • Go for a walk around the block
  • Put on an upbeat song and move your body
  • Get a glass of water and a light snack
  • Spend 5-10 minutes doing jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, or any other exercise
  • Make a cup of green tea
  • Take a 15 minute power nap

Take a Power NapManaging your physical and mental energy also includes knowing when during the day you are at your best. In other words, when is the best time of day for you for studying? Only you can answer that question. Some people are most productive in the morning, other people in the afternoon or at night. When are you most productive? When do you find it easiest to study? Are you more focused in the morning or at night? These are important questions to ask. If you really want to be more productive and learn faster, then you absolutely must know when you learn best.

For me, I learned the hard way while writing my upcoming book that I am no good at creative writing late in the afternoon or immediately after diner. I am more focused and creative right when I get up or between 9 pm and midnight. Because of this, I now make sure that I write in the morning or late at night.  If I must work in the afternoon or after dinner, I make sure I do busy work such as grading or organizing papers.

Similarly, you should schedule your studying for those times when you are most focused. If you know that you are most productive and focused in the evenings, make sure you arrange your schedule so you have the evenings free to study. This will not only allow you to learn more efficiently, it will also increase your ability to recall the material when you need it later.

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