5 tips for productive learning

Learning can be quite exhausting. Not to mention the fact that many people have to get over themselves to get started, we often drift off with our thoughts while studying. It's hard for us to concentrate, we read over the same passage in the text several times and your head just doesn't seem to want to retain what you've learned. To make sure this doesn't happen to you and that you get the most out of your study time, I've summarized my top 5 tips for productive learning for you! Of course, you can also use these tips in your professional life without any problems.

In contrast to my blogpost Learning Tips for Busy Students, here I present you with tips that create the best possible conditions for learning.

  • Set up your dedicated workspace so that you can start right away.
  • Set a concrete goal that you want to achieve in the session.
  • Move in between!
  • Drink enough water!
  • Avoid distractions!


I already mentioned the topic of a dedicated workspace in my blog post A desk for more productivity. If you have a ready-made workplace that offers you everything you need for learning, it will be much easier for you to start learning. You don't have to set up your laptop, find your books, or get your pen and paper ready, you can start learning right away.

If you study more often from your workplace, you will automatically find it easier and easier to study here. Your brain already associates your workspace with the process of learning and you will find it easier and easier to get yourself to learn.

I set a specific goal before each study session. For example, I plan to study until I reach a specific chapter in the book or until I have repeated a certain number of pages. I find that at the beginning of a learning session the motivation is usually greater than during or towards the end. At the beginning of your learning session you are still motivated to do a lot and set your goal accordingly

Over time I have made it a habit not to stop until I have reached this goal. When I'm particularly motivated, I also try to beat the goal I set and thus learn more than I originally planned!


Studying for several hours can be mentally exhausting, so it's a good idea to take frequent breaks. Many prefer fixed break times (for example every full hour) which is of course a good option. I, on the other hand, always take a break when I notice that my concentration is waning.

During my breaks I like to move around and usually do some push-ups and some pull-ups. Physical exertion is a great way to distract myself and make me feel fresh again when I go to study. A positive side effect: You also do something for your fitness. Just don't let the breaks get out of hand 😉 .


Our body consists of up to 70% water. A lack of water, even in small amounts, can lead to a decrease in cognitive performance and concentration [1]. You should make sure that you drink enough while you are learning. When you feel thirsty it is actually already too late, because the feeling of thirst is actually a warning sign of your body that you have taken too little liquid to you. If you want to learn more about the effects of insufficient hydration, you should read my blogpost How important is water really?? read epub.

Make it a habit to reach for a glass of water on a regular basis. Place it within easy reach so that you can drink easily. I would also recommend to fill a jug or a big bottle with water and have it ready as well, so you don't have to run to the tap all the time.


The enemy of every student is the numerous distractions that lurk everywhere! Nothing is worse than being disturbed in the middle of an intense study session. A very prominent example is your own cell phone which likes to ring while you are studying, for example to announce the arrival of a new message. As the study session progresses and motivation wanes, the numerous distractions become more attractive.

Therefore, it is important to reduce possible distractions as much as possible. Put your cell phone out of reach and put it on mute. Try to retreat to a quiet place where nothing can distract you. If you are studying on a computer, don't connect to the internet in the first place (unless absolutely necessary). That way you won't be tempted to do anything but study. Another option is to study in a library, for example. There you will have your peace and quiet and be in the company of many other students who want to study – a great atmosphere to stay motivated and not get distracted!

What do you do to make your study sessions productive? How do you keep your concentration? Let me know in the comments!