There are many good reasons to spend time on homework, beyond getting good grades.
It reinforces your learning at school and enhances your knowledge. There’s no better way to master a concept than to practice solving problems related to it.
But as a student, there’s more to life than homework.
Figuring out how to balance school and work, leisure, social activities, volunteering, etc. is vital.
The good thing is that there are proven ways to be more efficient and finish your homework fast – without compromising on the quality of your work.
In this article, we’ll talk about 8 strategies you can use to maximize your efforts and get everything done in less time!
(Make sure to download your free quick action guide below.)
When is the best time to do your homework?
Getting your homework done as soon as you can is always a good idea.
After your classes, the information you’ve learned is still fresh in your memory. So applying these concepts in your assignments will be easier.
It also helps to have a routine – for instance, getting started on your homework one hour before dinner every weekday.
Find out when the best time to study is for you and build your schedule around it.
Let’s say that you always feel motivated to complete your schoolwork as soon as possible. If so, you can leverage this motivation by diving into your assignments right when you get home.
But if you need a short break, you can set a timer for 30 minutes to an hour once you get home to remind you to get started after you’ve had some rest.
What to do when you have a lot of homework
Homework can pile up fast when you have many classes and activities.
When this happens, you might feel stressed or overwhelmed.
When your to-do list gets longer and longer, the best thing you can do is to stay calm and focused.
Set yourself up to enter a flow state where you focus solely on the task at hand.
Write down all your pending assignments, and take on just one task at a time. Set a goal and timeframe for each task, and minimize distractions in your study environment.
If the assignment is complex, break it down into smaller and less intimidating steps. Checking these smaller goals off your list as you go can keep you motivated and focused.
How to finish homework fast
It’s important to work hard, but it’s also important to work smart.
Here are some of the best time-saving productivity hacks for students to make it easier and faster to complete their homework.
1. Consistently keep track of your homework
One of the biggest mistakes I see students make is thinking they’ll remember all of their assigned tasks.
I don’t doubt that you have a good memory. But keeping track of your homework by writing things down is much more efficient.
Keep a physical or digital list of all your pending assignments and their deadlines. You can consistently track your tasks using this list. A notebook or note-taking app would work well.
When it’s time to work on your assignments, pull out this list and start with the most urgent task that has the closest deadline. Continue working your way through the list based on how urgent each task is.
The list clarifies which assignments require immediate attention and which can be done another day.
This allows you to dive right into doing your homework and saves precious time.
Making lists can lighten your brain’s workload. It also helps to reduce anxiety and boost productivity.
2. Spruce things up with a study buddy
Most of us would agree that homework can sometimes be repetitive and boring.
One of the best ways to boost motivation and get the ball rolling is by doing homework with a study buddy.
Having someone with you can help you to stay engaged and on task.
You’ll keep each other accountable and ensure that all assignments are completed on time.
During these study sessions, you can work together to solve challenging questions and understand difficult concepts.
3. Remove distractions (especially electronic ones)
Procrastination and distractions can kill your productivity.
Here are some study strategies to help you combat procrastination and make the most of your time:
- Find an ideal study environment at your school or at the library, or create an optimal work environment at home.
- Use earplugs or noise-canceling earphones to reduce external distractions.
- Keep only the materials and stationery you need at your desk. You can also have a water bottle and a few snacks prepared, so you won’t have to get up midway through your study session.
- Turn off your phone. In fact, it’s best to keep all your devices in a different room or at least out of arm’s reach.
- If a thought or idea pops into your head, instead of acting on it, write it down. Maybe it’s an errand you need to run or a friend you promised to call. Acknowledge these thoughts by writing them down, then take care of them after you’ve completed your homework.
4. Create a reward system
A reward system nurtures motivation – at least in the short term – by giving you something to look forward to.
It trains your brain to understand that hard work results in an enjoyable outcome. Plus, it builds a positive association with homework.
So identify some reasonable rewards that you’d enjoy. List out items or activities you value that are consistent with your goals.
What works best is building multiple practical rewards into your homework routine.
For example, you could reward yourself by listening to your favorite music after every 45-minute work session. Or you could have a quick, healthy snack after completing each set of practice questions.
Of course, you can occasionally use big rewards too. After finishing a complex assignment or a long practice exam, treat yourself to something special, like watching a show with your friends.
5. Gamify your study session
Ever spent hours playing a game and felt that time just flew by?
Why are video games so much fun?
Games are designed to keep you hooked on leveling up your character, exploring new worlds, and unlocking rewards.
But what if I told you that you could apply specific video game principles to your homework sessions to keep you motivated?
One of the simplest ways to do this is by downloading gamification apps.
This enables you to track your progress and stay on task.
6. Create a dedicated workspace
Having a suitable place at home to study will help you complete your homework faster.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s important to personalize your workspace based on what enables you to focus best.
For example, one person might enjoy having a bunch of stationery, Post-it notes, and colorful highlighters on his or her desk. But these might only serve as distractions for others.
Some people might work best with white noise or a little background chatter. On the other hand, some people might only be able to concentrate in a quiet environment.
So feel free to experiment to find what works best for you. Here are some general tips to get you started:
- Ensure that there’s adequate lighting and keep your space at a comfortable temperature.
- Reduce stress with the right scents, e.g. use a pleasant-smelling room fragrance or diffuse an essential oil.
- Personalize your work desk with items like a memo board, calendar, clock, or artwork.
- Keep your desk well-organized and clean.
- Invest in a good office chair.
7. Make a study plan
A study plan ensures that you have enough time to complete all your assignments before they’re due.
It also takes the guesswork out of the equation when allocating time.
Here’s how you can create an effective study plan:
- Cater to your specific learning preferences. Are you more productive in the morning or evening? How long can you focus without a break? Whenever possible, plan your schedule based on the times of the day that suit you best.
- Create deadlines that fall a few days before the actual ones. This gives you a cushion in case your assignments or projects take longer than expected.
- Space out your homework into blocks with rest intervals. For example, you could divide your work into 40-minute work blocks with 10-minute breaks in between.
- Limit social media usage during breaks. Scrolling through social media can take a toll on your mental capacity and eat up more time than you intended. Instead, engage in less mentally-taxing activities, like taking a stroll, performing simple stretches, or having a light snack.
8. Break up your homework into manageable chunks
It’s natural to sometimes feel overwhelmed by your assignments – especially the long, complicated, and tedious ones.
Getting started on a large or complex task might seem like you’re biting off more than you can chew. In turn, this can lead to procrastination.
One tried-and-tested study tip for handling challenging tasks is to break them down into smaller chunks.
List out each smaller task and work through the project bit by bit. You can even use programs and apps like Trello, Asana, or Notion to create daily to-do lists and keep tabs on your progress.
When you do this, the tasks become much more doable, so you’ll be able to submit your assignments on time.
How to finish homework at the last minute
Leaving homework to the last minute can lead to stress, and will affect your grades in the long run.
But if you find yourself in this situation, the most important thing to do is to prioritize well.
Which assignments are due the soonest? And which tasks account for what percentage of your overall grade?
Write down all your pending tasks. Then, prioritize those with the closest deadlines.
You should give your best effort for every assignment, project, quiz, etc. But if you’re running out of time, it may not be possible to give your 100% effort. So do just what’s required and move on.
But make a firm commitment that you won’t do your homework at the last minute again in the future!
While homework is part and parcel of student life (and an important one at that), it shouldn’t have to be something you dread.
Try these 8 proven strategies to help you do your homework faster while making it more enjoyable!
(And if you haven’t already done so, make sure to download your free quick action guide below.)