Homework can be such a chore sometimes. After spending hours in school and you still have to do more schoolwork after finally coming home! I mean, think of all the other things you could be doing with your precious time instead of slaving away at that essay, or multiple choice worksheet. In fact, how many of you are reading this article right now as a way of procrastinating having to do your homework? Hey, no need to feel guilty! We’ve all been here before. But worry not, you’ve come to the right place! Here are 9 ways which can help you finish your homework faster, so that when you get back to work, you needn’t spend so much time with those books and papers anymore
- Choose the Right Environment
The key to choosing the right environment is minimizing distractions. Think of the place, or places, you usually choose to do your homework in, be it your desk in your room, or the local library. How many people are around you? Are there cars rushing by noisily every few minutes? Can you hear a television or radio playing somewhere? All these things can be sources of unnecessary distractions, and result in you not being able to finish your homework as rapidly as you could!
Some people need the low hum of background noise or soft music when they study. In such cases, a not-too-noisy cafe might help. Some people need it to be really quiet before they can focus on anything. A library or study room would be good for them.
Different environments work for different people. Learn yourself: pay attention to what distracts you and what helps you focus, and work that into your study environment from now on. It truly makes a difference.
- Put Your Phone Away!
This one goes without saying. It does not have to be turned off. If you study away from home, your parents might want you to stay contactable. But putting it out of arm’s reach, in your bag on the floor for instance, makes a huge difference. We have been conditioned to automatically and habitually reach for and scroll through our phones for no reason at all. Putting your phone in a place where you can’t reach it helps curb that urge and makes you so much more focused with your work.
- Draw Up A Timetable
This one is simple. It is dividing your time into chunks, and planning what to do in each chunk. For example:
2:00- 3:00: Math Assignment
3:00- 4:00: Biology Tutorial (Continued from yesterday)
4:00- 4:30: Break Time
4:30- 5:30: English Paper
Having several assignments to complete in a day or two can seem very daunting. When you break them down into manageable time slots, you are less likely to freeze as you plan how to tackle each assignment one by one. Making yourself concentrate on one task in each hour also helps your focus as you are not worrying about the other assignments at the same time. You know that they have their own hour in which they will be taken care of.
There is no fixed recipe for this. Remember to cater it to your specific needs. The amount of time needed for each assignment may differ, a laboratory report may take two hours and a multiple choice question 20 minutes.
- Plan if You Can
For assignments which allow you to do so, planning beforehand can drastically help reduce the amount of time you spend doing them. This applies to essays, reports, and journal assignments.
Before you begin, carefully examine the question and what it requires, then, spend a short 5-10 minutes plotting out the rough draft in bullet-point form before you begin. You can refer to these points as you go along. Hence, instead of taking time to think of what to write next every few sentences, you can spend that time more wisely, fleshing out the points you already have.
Little steps like these will really help you complete your homework more efficiently.
- Take Notes in Class
We all love it when we get to bring cheat sheets in to an examination. But did you know that you can, and should, have your own cheat sheets for homework too? These are the notes you take in class!
Many times, teachers will give hints during their lesson about what they will appear in homework and tests. Sometimes, they do so by repeating a certain point a few times. Sometimes, it’s the things they choose to write on the board. Either way, these methods serve to emphasize and drive home the point that those parts are especially important.
If you have never taken notes before, it is easily done. If the points are in the textbook, highlight or underline those points. If they are not, a quick note in the margin or in a separate notebook works. Pull these bullet points and highlighted sections out when you are doing your homework and you no longer have to spend that additional ten minutes flipping through the textbook looking for that needle in the haystack.
- Get Additional Help
Of course, not every question can find their answer directly from notes taken in class. Many times, the homework assignment contains application questions, not all of which everyone can easily solve. In this case, nothing is wrong with seeking additional help. Some schools offer after-school peer mentoring or remedial classes. Other resources such as Do My Homework, an online portal where students can get customized help for essays, are a great tool as well.
- Consider a Study Group
Every person has their own strength. Some are stronger in math, some in science or languages. When you pool these strengths together and help each other out, it might make doing your homework slightly easier. However, make sure that you do not get distracted when studying with others, and that the others are not there to socialize. This step can easily backfire.
- Take Regular Breaks
Taking a half-an-hour break every 1- 2 hours is recommended. Go take a brisk walk, have a snack or talk to a friend. Anything that takes your mind off your homework and your eyes off the books or the screen for a while refreshes you. When you get back to your work, you are more efficient and clear-headed.
- Know When to Move On
This does not mean being lazy, and it is very different from not trying. But if you have been unable to do the same question for hours, and the additional help you sought did not help, know that it might be time to move on. You might still have those three other assignments waiting in line. For those questions you simply cannot do, circle them, and make sure to pay attention in class when the teacher explains them.