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Student Blog

The tools I use to be productive when studying


Written by
Jamiul I.

BSc Computer Science student Jamiul shares his tips for online learning success: planning tools, AI helpers and the importance of relaxation for productivity.

Laptop on a desk with coding on the screen

Do you ever feel like you're struggling with online classes? Hey there! I'm Jamiul, a student at the University of London, where I'm enjoying my distance learning BSc Computer Science programme. In this blog, I'm going to be sharing how I have managed to stay productive and motivated as an online, distance and flexible learner.

Even without seeing my peers in person, taking online classes is satisfactory. At times, you may feel lonely, but there are ways to feel connected, especially when you have access to talk to peers from all over the world. We’re determined to make the most of, and excel in our studies, right? I've got a plan, and I'm going to stick to it!

I had tried a few different study planning apps like Notion and Evernote, but TickTick ended up being my favourite because of its simplicity and focus features. Initially, I plan my day after waking up and making my bed. After that, I usually start writing down whatever comes to mind. Yesterday, I wrote about how, when I look in the mirror, I can see my dad’s eyes in my own. It's like a snapshot of all the moments we've shared together. According to Julia Cameron, the author of the book The Artist Way, writing three pages of long-handwriting as quickly as possible after waking up can help tune out your inner critic.1 Writing in the morning has been a game-changer for me. It helps me process my emotions, gain clarity and can also unravel my creative side.

Picture of the TickTick app with habits open

Other than that, based on my reminders, I use the Pomodoro and Focus feature on a specific task to balance my productive time with my rest time. After a week, TickTick allows me to view a chart of my focus sessions. This helps me to identify the times when I was most productive and energetic compared to the times when I was procrastinating. Based on this information, I prioritise my tasks into three levels: high, medium, and low. When creating a note, I flag the priority level. Then, I assign myself to the complex modules with high or medium priority, such as Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) and Software Design and Development (SDD), during my productive hours. During my less productive hours, I work on the modules that I find easier which are therefore lower priority, like Computer Security (CSec) and Web Development (WD). 

Before asking a question in the forum chat, I have found some tips and tools to help me overcome obstacles. If I feel a little stuck, I hop into the Slack community with detailed questions or post those in the Tutor Forum.

I recently noticed that spending some ‘me-time’ with a cup of coffee and listening to LoFi or Jazz playlists on Spotify helps me to relax and drains all my stress out. According to a study by the University of Birmingham, listening to background music can improve cognitive tasks such as focus, creativity and problem-solving.2 Other than that, I listen to podcasts related to technology, and sometimes poetry. My favourites are Loonie Engineering, Lex Friedman Podcast, Read me a Poem and Conspiracy Theories. 

With that being said, I wish you a happy, productive and relaxing journey ahead. May you succeed in everything you do! 

Jamiul studies BSc Computer Science in Bangladesh