I’m Daniella Snyder, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University, and your newest ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics– from research to study habits and everything in between– and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!
Over the winter break, the Falvey Library introduced new tables to the Quiet Zone (or “QZ”). We replaced the older, wooden tables with new and updated furniture. While we hope these new tables improve your studying experience, the Library cannot directly increase your productivity. However, that’s where I come in. This week, I’m offering some tips and tricks about studying efficiently and effectively.
- Pick the right space.
An ideal study situations eliminates as many distractions as possible. While the first floor lends itself for group work and collaboration, the QZ eliminates outside noise and conversation. Additionally, without the constant foot traffic and throngs of students, you’re more likely to stay focused on your work.
If you need even fewer distractions, pick a spot in the QZ far away from any door, hallway, or staircase.
Productivity experts advise finding a nook of the library that feels like your own. Find what works best for you.
I have a blanket scarf that I take with me everywhere, and it helps me feel warm and cozy no matter where I am. Further, I feel most comfortable when I have a lot of space. I want to put all my work out in front of me, so that I can separate and organize it by topic.
Part of the greatness of the new tables is the opportunity to really spread out.
Another great aspect to the tables in the QZ? They have strong, sturdy chairs that prompt attentive academic work.
Once you have the perfect physical space, make sure every other aspect of your environment eliminates distractions. Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb, and listen to instrumental music.
- Come to the library with a plan.
Going to the library is not a passive activity. I often find that if I just walk into the library with the half-hearted intention of completing a task, I’ll log on to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, every online shopping website I love, and even Pinterest before I think about actually starting that task.
Instead, devise a detailed study plan, and stick to it!
Before you walk into Falvey, ask yourself the question, “Why am I going into the library?” Then, take out a piece of paper, and actually write it down.
If you have a big picture task (i.e. a term paper), be honest with what you can accomplish in three to four hours. Don’t just assign yourself the task of “writing the final paper,” but rather acknowledge the more accomplishable secondary tasks. In three to four hours, you can easily schedule an appointment with your subject librarian, find four or five academic sources, and compose the outline of your paper.
- Prioritize time management.
The visual instructions for The Pomodoro Technique advise using a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to split your work time in a way that increases productivity. However, the same method works with an iPhone timer, I promise. The goal is to work uninterrupted on one task for 25-minute periods that are divided by short breaks (walks, refill on water, a trip to Holy Grounds, etc.). If another task arises, write it down, and return to the task at hand.
Tip: don’t give yourself unnecessary reasons to step away from your work. Pack snacks, your laptop and phone charger, and a water bottle.
What do you think, Wildcats? Does the new furniture in the QZ help improve study productivity? Next time you’re up there, fill out a comment card and let us know what you think!
Happy studying, Wildcats!
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