Effective Study Weapons of Busy Law Students
As a law student, juggling coursework, readings, and exam preparation can be overwhelming, all while managing other aspects of life, such as work, family, and social obligations. Two techniques that can help law students manage their time and increase productivity are habit stacking and time blocking.
Habit stacking is a technique where you attach a new habit to an existing one, making it easier to build the new one. As a law student, you can use habit stacking to incorporate new study habits into your routine. For example, if you already have a habit of waking up at 6.00 AM to exercise, you can attach a new habit of spending the first 30 minutes reviewing your class notes for the day. Or, if you drink coffee in the morning, you can attach a new habit of listening to your lectures instead of meeting up with your friends. The idea is to piggyback the new habit onto an existing one, making it easier to stick to. However, since listening to your lecture whilst taking notes and drinking your favourite cup of coffee isn't exactly ground-breaking- what are some new innovative ways you can habit stack?
My favourite habit-stacking methods include walking the dog and listening to a lecture, which doesn't require note-taking. For example, a guest lecture, feedback on quiz results or how to tackle your upcoming assignment for that unit. I will die on a hill about habit-stacking because it can be personalised for your specific lifestyle and needs. Although walking my dog and listening to lectures works for me, if your dog is satan re-incarnate at the sight of your average cockatoo, then there will undoubtedly be other ways you can incorporate habit staking into your life.
However, one thing to note is that habit stacking is different from multi-tasking since multitasking involves doing multiple tasks simultaneously. For example, typing an email while talking on the phone or listening to a podcast while cooking dinner. While multitasking can make you feel more productive, it is counterproductive because it reduces your ability to focus and complete tasks efficiently. It can also lead to more errors and mistakes.
In summary, habit stacking is a technique for building new habits by attaching them to existing habits, while multitasking involves doing multiple tasks simultaneously. Habit stacking can help you build new habits more effectively, while multitasking decreases productivity and efficiency.
However, another technique that we haven't yet discussed is time blocking. Time blocking involves dividing your day into blocks of time for specific tasks. For example, you can block off 9 am to 11 am for reading and briefing cases, 1 pm to 3 pm for writing a paper or outlining a course, and 4.00 PM to 6.00 PM for reviewing your tutorial notes and preparing for tomorrow's classes. Time blocking allows you to prioritise and focus on one task at a time, reducing the temptation to multitask and increasing productivity.
Although time blocking can be a great technique, in my first years of law school, I often grappled with this intense feeling of failure and perfectionism when my brain wouldn't generate any power during an allotted time slot. In my experience, this started to weigh heavily on my mental health because I had such an overwhelming desire to do well, which is fine if you don't chastise yourself when you invariably make a human error (shocking, right?). As such, if you are time-blocking, please use it as a loose guide. Sometimes law students are known for running on empty. By the time you've scheduled study after work or planned to go to the gym at 9.00 AM after staying up all night doing an assignment, you're just punishing yourself by binding to invisible demands.
Considering the advice above, if you're constantly overloaded and or overwhelmed, habit stacking or time blocking both help you establish a study regime as opposed to I'm catching up on lectures, and it's already week six regime. Consistency is key to building new habits and increasing productivity. Setting goals and deadlines to keep yourself motivated and on track can also be helpful.
In conclusion, law students can use habit stacking and time-blocking techniques to manage their time and increase productivity. Establishing a routine, setting goals and deadlines, and avoiding distractions are critical to successfully implementing these techniques. By implementing these techniques, law students can balance their academic and personal responsibilities while achieving their academic goals.