WORKPLACE SUCCESS / 18 March 20195 Ultra-Effective Ways to Work Smarter, not Harder
The way you study, retain information, apply information, organize information and record information can greatly benefit how successful you will be at your job. The everyday practices you engage in at your college are subtle nuances that you will be applying in your future jobs. These 10 everyday study tips translate to the office in a way you may not even have thought of.
1) Paying Attention is a Very Important Soft Skill
Let’s start off with the most important tip. Give 100% of your attention to your professor, no matter how boring the lecture is. I know how difficult this can be, especially for those classes you just need to get through. The benefits of paying attention in class translate to performing well in the office. Whenever you find coworkers not really performing well, they probably lack good listening skills. They don’t listen to understand, they listen to respond. Here are some more behavioral skills you should adopt if you want to advance in your professional careers. You’ll remember more concepts when you study later. Plus, you won’t need those grueling 10-hour cram sessions.
2) Taking Notes Is a Great Organizational Skill Companies are Looking For
If you have formulas to study, write them out! Our Director of Marketing, Alexis Ang used this strategy extensively during her college years, saying she wrote out all the formulas to memorize them, and immediately wrote them down again during a test. This method helped her ace math classes, and it can definitely help you when you’re on a time crunch. Aside from doing well on exams, taking notes allows you to hone in on the most important topics that are being discussed, allowing you to more effectively be able to focus on the components that you need to grasp and that you may be tested on at school or even at your job. Employers want to make sure you grasp information really well and the biggest catalyst for being able to do that is pick and choose information effectively.
3) Spend Less Time with Technology
Unless you are Learning New Programs and Software Go On! Turn off your TV, computer, and phone, I triple dog dare you! I can’t even do it for long periods of time (10 minutes) without feeling like I am missing out on life. The truth is, life is living in the present and not the kinds you get around the holidays. Truly, spending time on your phones while you are having dinner with friends, watching a movie or anything else is how you are REALLY missing out on life. I will now remove my philosopher cap. There are times when staring at a screen all day can work to your advantage - learning new programs and software. If you want to develop your mean stack skills or learn more about front end development, you are essentially making yourself more employable. Employers want to see this skills put to good use and it doesn’t have to be something as complicated as coding, taking the time to learn how to use Excel or engage in Twitter chats are also to your advantage. Many jobs in digital marketing, for instance, require you to have these basic technological skills.
4) Finding Solitude Can Help you Deal with Work Stress
Speaking of distractions, people are literally the worst. Unlike electronics, you can’t control the actions of other people. Fortunately, you CAN control your surroundings. Find a study spot that’s isolated and quiet, and start studying without distractions. Most people study better, work out better and overall perform on any given tasks better when they are alone (whether they admit it or not). Read about how spending some time alone means you will be more successful! If you learn how to find your center when you are alone, you will be effective when starting a new job which can add stress, working with difficult employees, and much much more.
5) Study in Increments for Effective Results
Spread out your studying with the Pomodoro method: 25 minutes of study, 5 minutes of break. After every 3 study periods, take a 20-minute break. This will refresh your mind every time it starts slipping away, and give you enough time to seriously concentrate. When you begin a new job, sometimes you are overloaded with new information and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. There are many ways you can relieve stress and be productive during those times, but one of the best things that you can do is take some time to break up the work you have; part of this is organizational and the other part requires discipline. Teaching yourself to follow incremental goals really teaches good discipline and for those who have never worked or had a job, that is the most important behavioral skill you can develop for yourself. You will often see things like "self-motivated" "able to work in a fast-paced environment" and those are a company’s way of saying they want you to be able to get your work done no matter what they throw at you. It’s your job to organize the work you are given - remember that and it will help you out in your career.
6) Understanding the Information you are Given is Required for Job Success
Don’t memorize facts. Understand concepts. You can easily forget random facts and little details, but if you truly master the concept, you can piece together the puzzle during an exam. Some of the previous tips can help with how to retain the information you are given, and the overall takeaway from them is to understand the overall message that is trying to be conveyed. If you listen to understand, you will be much better off; you should approach lectures and work meetings the same way. If you are like me, you need to take an abundance of notes to "grasp" the concepts. It wasn’t until my second year of college when I realized I was creating more work for myself than I needed to, because while my intentions were to succeed, I was creating more work for myself. I realized that when I was listening to lectures and giving them my full attention, asking questions, then I performed better in class.
7) Teaching Others can Help you Gain Understanding
A great way to test your knowledge of any subject is to explain the material to yourself. If you can’t thoroughly describe each piece of your topic, you don’t have a strong enough grasp of it yet. A great way to make certain you have learned everything is to teach it to others. If you are able to teach it to others in a way that makes clear and perfect sense, you know you have retained the knowledge very well. If you complete projects for ProSky you can take on leadership roles, where you can test your knowledge by managing others on your team and making sure they have all of the information they need to execute and succeed.
8) Cheat Sheets
Making study sheets that connect main ideas to individual details can be a great way to study relationships and concepts. When you draw it out, you’ll be able to literally see how concepts come together. Best of all, you can carry these study sheets with you everywhere (unlike your $250 textbook). Many professors encourage cheat sheets even during testing, I know I have had quite a few that encouraged students to fill up one page with whatever we wanted to help with exams. You may be wondering, how is this going to translate into the office or your new job? Well, many of your team members will encourage you to learn information the best possible way that you can. Very often, you will find that the testing environment lives and dies at school. In the real world, it is encouraged to use as many resources as you can, the best way that you can to get your job done. Learning how to make a good cheat sheet will help with your ability to use your resources effectively.
9) Keep your Space Organized
Organize your study space and make sure it’s clean. They say that the state of cleanliness your room/workspace is in reflects how cluttered or chaotic your life may be. Yikes! Or Great! If you have a dirty or disorganized space around you, your brain will be just as cluttered as well. This means less focus, less concentration, and lower grades. Whether it is a cubicle or an office it is important to keep your space tidy and clean. It really not only shows to your team members you are orderly but that you care about the work you are doing. Often times, managers and supervisors can tell who really cares about their job based on these subtle nuances.
10) Change your Working Environment
Here’s a fun bit of science: Since you sleep on your bed, your mind automatically associates it with sleeping. If you study on your bed, you’ll feel tired when you study since your brain starts to power down (just like if you were sleeping). Eventually, you won’t rest well at night because your brain slowly adjusts to thinking the bed is a study space. When you change the places that you study in, you will be reinvigorating your brain and helping it to recharge. Check out our post on how changing your environment can increase your productivity. Some workplaces ( mostly start-ups) give you the luxury of using different rooms in the office to reignite your productivity - whether it's a kick back lounge room, a nap room, or working from home, these different environments can make you feel like you’re in a different places, give you a chance to recharge your battery and move on. If you don’t have the opportunity, take breaks and get some fresh air.
You may not realize it now, but all the things you are doing now to help you do well in school are also going to benefit you at your future job. To get more tips on how to make sure you are doing everything you can to help you land your dream job post college, subscribe to our ProSky blog!
If you want to start putting your skills to good use and show companies what you have, register for a project today!