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Understanding the Brain: How To Study Productively

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

—New York, NY


Understanding the Brain: How To Study Productively, sleep sleep deprivation, motivation, studying, lack of motivation, study space, dopamine, reward center, distractions, bad habits, good habits, repetition, study break, productivity, improving study habits, study habits

Naturally productive students have been feeling uncharacteristically unmotivated with homework lately. As the end of the school year approaches, many students begin to lose motivation. In fact, 98.6% of students (or 1.6 billion) feel the same since the start of the pandemic. Online learning can be difficult, but there are a variety of strategies to understand the brain that can help students finish off the year strong.

A neat table with a computer, paper pad, and cup. Understanding the Brain: How To Study Productively, sleep sleep deprivation, motivation, studying, lack of motivation, study space, dopamine, reward center, distractions, bad habits, good habits, repetition, study break, productivity, improving study habits, study habits
An example of an organized work area

First, it is important to have a designated study space. When you begin to work in one place, the brain and body form a habit of entering “work mode." In addition, minimize distractions like phones or people. Distractions and external stimuli, whether on purpose or by accident, release a rush of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the reward neurotransmitter, which produces enjoyment, and therefore reinforces the desire for distractions. When one prevents distractions, it allows the brain to experience reward and gratification from studying.


Upon implementing these tactics, there are a few ways to continue to strengthen one's studying skills. Many scientists argue that it is extremely difficult to stop bad habits “cold-turkey” because repeated tasks create patterns in the brain that are strengthened through repetition. However, it is possible to replace the habit with a more productive alternative, such as cleaning or watching a 5-minute study video. Replacing the bad habit provides a break from the task at hand while maintaining productivity and forming a better habit.


Sleep deprivation can also produce inefficient and low-quality work. Putting off work in favor of getting 7-8 hours of sleep may seem like an unproductive choice, but it is actually a smart investment of your time.


There are many ways to increase productivity. The end of the year is stressful, but it is possible to transform this difficult time into a great opportunity for improving study habits!


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