June 3, 2024

The eight bad habits that undermine your study skills

Figure out how to enhance your study skills

Whether you're studying for a law school admission test, trying to enter a medical school through a unified exam screening system or you're just studying in college or high school, you know that your habits have a big role to play as far as your study skills go when trying to learn for good. A lot of students would roll their eyes at this revelation. Half would say, "Tell me something I did not already know." The other half would be in complete denial. That's why they're rather dismissive.

Regardless of your attitude, there are certain habits that you may have that sabotage your ability to appreciate, apprehend, comprehend and incorporate new information. In other words, these mental habits get in the way of your study skills. If you want to be successful in school and outside of school, you need to develop the right study skills because when it comes to life you are always learning. Many years after college, you're still learning. You have to pick up a new information for a new project for example. That's learning. You have to deal with people so you can make more money. That's learning. You have to make sure you have the right study skills. Otherwise, your lack of skills will hold you back. Your learning skills have a direct impact on how much money you make, how highly people think of you and ultimately how happy you are. This is why it's crucial that you identify these eight bad habits and you work around them.

Procrastination kills study efforts

If you have a tendency to kick the can down the road, you better stop it and you better stop it quickly. You have to find that fire in the belly to do list items set for today and knock them out today. The worst thing about procrastination is that the more you give into it, the stronger it becomes. It's like a wolf that you continue to feed red meat to. Just because you throw it some red meat doesn't mean it goes away. It may go away temporarily but it gets fatter. Its teeth get bigger. You have to deal with procrastination now because your study skills erode quite a bit, the more you procrastinate.

Eating while you study hurts your learning process

When you eat, you're actually diverting emotional and intellectual focus. You might think that you're just grazing while you're reading books. However, one day, choose to read without eating. Pay attention to how many words you read and how many concepts you successfully comprehended. The next day, study the way you normally study. Eat a bag of chips or eat some fruits and vegetables. Whatever you eat, eat while you study. Use the same success metrics. How many material did you study? How much material did you comprehend? You would notice that with everything else being equal, when you eat while you study, you are absorbing less information. This is not an accident. The reason why this is the case is because your attention is divided. Half of you is eating while the other half is studying. In some cases, you're in an emotional state while you're eating. This can disrupt the flow of information absorption.

Checking email during study breaks attention

Email saps your willpower because when you check email, you're actually doing a low-level analysis. Whenever you do low-level analysis, you are diverting precious intellectual energy from learning. If you keep this enough, your willpower might be so depleted that you really end up just going through the motions as far as the rest of your study time goes. This is a big mistake. Do not check your email while studying. You can do it before or after but don't do it during studying.

Check for social media updates while studying is another distraction

The reason for this is exactly the same as checking your email during studying. It's all about your will power. Check your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram updates before or after you study, not during study time.

Talking on the phone won't help you study better

If you think checking for social media updates or email are bad enough as far as your concentration and focus are concerned, think again. The number one cause of lowered willpower and diminished analytical skills while studying is talking on the phone. It doesn't really matter whether the person calling you is your girlfriend, mom, boyfriend, priest or college counselor. None of that matters. The identity of the person doesn't matter.

Don't talk to them while you're studying. Talk to them after or before but don't talk to them while you're studying. Don’t pick up the phone. Let them leave a voice mail. Get back to them after you have studied.

Multi-tasking is the enemy of focused learning

Multi-tasking is a fraud. It is a sham. It doesn't exist. While it does exist in the sense that people try to do it but they never pull off great results. How can they? They're splitting their focus. As the old saying goes, "Where your focus goes, your energy flows." If your energy is split up into ten different things then you probably won't have much energy. Whatever energy you have is incapable of making big stuff happen. Learning new concept is a big undertaking. It needs a tremendous amount of focus. Get that multi-tasking idea out of your head. It doesn't work.


If you only had four hours of sleep the night before, good luck with studying. Your brain is in a repair mode. It is not in the mood to pick up new information. It may seem that you are studying because you have a book cracked open and you're reading the words. However, there's a high chance you are settling for a tiny fraction of the information you could have been absorbing if you had eight hours of solid sleep the night before. Cure yourself of any insomnia. Otherwise, it will be an uphill climb for your study skills.

Binge eating hurts brain chemistry

If you engage in binge eating because you're trying to lose weight, this is a bad idea. It screws up your hormone level and blood chemistry. Ultimately, it impacts your brain chemistry. Get away from binge eating. If you can't help but binge eat, you might be in need of professional help.

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