The Secret to Finding Time to Study by Emily Lamb
Struggling to find the time or motivation to study? You’re not alone!
We are living in a time when information and ideas are endless. And for a big chunk of the day, we are holding a major source of it in our hands. Through our digital devices, we can be following hundreds of different fitness accounts on social media with loads of exercise variations and ideas refreshing on our feed constantly. Without realising it, treasured moments in an already full day are quietly being scrolled away.
Our brains are becoming overloaded. And when the brain becomes like this, it starts jumping from one thing to the next in a state of constant distraction.
We can also start battling with decision fatigue – the brain gets tired of making decisions and it affects our ability to make big and small ones. It’s no wonder that many of us find it hard to focus, concentrate and commit to study periods.
I like to think of study as a ‘season of study’. For me, this ‘season’ is the perfect opportunity to build perspective, check time management and to simplify and build more intention in our lives.
Firstly ask yourself the big picture question …
What or who needs my time in this season of study? (a spouse/partner, kids, family, friends, a job.)
Then start breaking those priorities down week by week. Don’t work on the future … that’s just more decisions and more stress.
Then ask yourself… This week where do those closest to me and/or my job need me?
You can then see what is left. What days can you commit to some study? If you take it one week at a time you can look at what the previous week was lacking (for example – self-practice) and give that area more focus the next.
Plan what you are going to accomplish that week. It means you don’t have to waste that precious study time figuring out where to start.
Don’t get too excited. Book in a few slots, you can always add to it. It may be a season when a few extracurricular activities stop for a while and that’s ok. You can always add them back in if you get a good rhythm going. Our identity does not come from how busy we are.
Edit What Is Coming In
I got this term from Allie Casazza (who puts awesome language around healthy and realistic minimalism). It is up to us to edit what is coming into our week. Yes, sometimes things just happen but there are also things we can remove or add if need be. I have included the link to the podcast and free printable.
Something my husband, Matt and I have been doing for a while now is a Sunday meeting (not as serious as it sounds!).
What our Sunday Meeting looks like
- We sit outside with the kids so they can feel involved but also come and go as they please.
- We talk about our weekly family night and what the kids want to do/eat.
- Matt and I plan our meals for the week and order our shopping online.
- We go through a few questions to help us plan the week, what each of us needs to get done and also anything we are anxious about.
It is a great way to start the week and we feel so much better waking up Monday morning and are ready to go!
Why not try this with those with whom you share your week. Be open in your communication about the week. Share with them your study goals so that they can help hold you accountable!
Three daily edits to give you back some time
- Turn off notifications on your phone when you have blocked out time to study. Tell those closest to you that notifications are turned off but if it is urgent they can call. Ask them to honour that time.
- Be the master of your phone (not the other way round) use this season as an opportunity to lessen that daily screen time.
- Don’t over commit – if you are invited somewhere or to help with something, humbly let them know you will get back to them in 24hours (or even in an hour!). Give yourself time to sleep/think on it before committing to more things. Remember this is just a season and you can tell them that too!
Quality over Quantity
Ok, so, you have been discerning about what needs your attention for the week and edited what is not necessary. You have pre-planned what you will study and what Pilates exercises you will practice or teach, booked in a session (if that’s your self-practice), and planned and communicated what your week will look like.
Now it’s time to be intentional about that study time.
Some tips on ensuring Quality …
- Don’t be afraid of silence – It’s ok to not have music or a podcast playing. Give your brain less to focus on.
- Don’t think about how much you haven’t done or how much you have left to do. Give your full attention to what you are getting done right now!
- Move intentionally – don’t rush through a particular Pilates exercise just so you can tick it off and move on. Pull as much as you can from it on that day. I find when I do this, I apply what I learn to other exercises – definitely not a waste of time!
- Give your client, even if it’s just a fun practice, 100% of your attention. Learn as much as you can from teaching them at that moment.
- Write or type out clear notes as you observe or study while they are fresh. That way you are not wasting another study block trying to decipher some weird sentence you wrote in a hurry.
There is so much freedom in having and doing less. Yes, there are seasons of craziness and we are to love and bless those around us. But let’s slow down enough to be able to think and be intentional. That way our study time, our loved ones and that rare and precious rest time can be packed full of quality. There is so much joy found in being present and content.
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