It’s been a long time since I sat down to write something for this blog, but my second year of medical school has finally finished! I know quite a few of you are still working through your end-of-year exams so I thought I’d put together some of the productivity advice and resources that have helped me over the years!
I genuinely don’t know how I’d survive without my planner – it’s my main tool for planning out my studying before exams and it’s really handy for keeping track of any assignments I have due in. I’ve been using a Passion Planner for years now and I definitely prefer it to a bullet journal because it takes less time to set up each week.
Just a note – all of my Passion Planners have been gifted to me, however, I’m not obligated to speak about them here or share any content about them – I genuinely just use this planner constantly and I don’t know what I’d do without it.
Sadly if you want to buy one in the UK, your only real option is to buy one through Amazon unless you’re willing to pay for shipping/customs fees – if you want to buy one, the link is here. If you want to try out the planner without buying it, Passion Planner also share completely free printables of their planners over on their website that you can either use digitally or print and use as a regular planner!
Aside from my Passion Planner, I also regularly use my Baron Fig Confidant notebook when planning out my day. I tend to use this notebook when I want to break down my assignments or I want to break my day down a bit more into tasks. This notebook was also gifted to me, but once again I’m not obligated to mention it here at all.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find a UK stockist for this notebook so you would have to pay the shipping and customs fees if you wanted one – a good alternative in the UK is a Leuchtturm1917 notebook (although pens tend to bleed more in these) or just any hardback journal with thick paper.
Unlike a lot of studygrams, I’ve never tried the Forest app – I don’t really have a major reason why I haven’t tried it, I mainly just didn’t want to pay for the app when there are plenty of free alternatives out there. Instead, I primarily use the Hold app when I need to block my phone and focus for a while.
I’m not sure which services are available in other countries, but I like this app because using it allows you to save up points to get cinema ticket discounts and free popcorn amongst other things – something that is really handy when I’m studying in London and cinema prices are ridiculous!
Another free alternative that I’ve used in the past is the Focus app – I’m not sure if this is available for Android phones and it appears to have a subscription mode too now but it worked well when I used it before. There are a whole bunch of other free apps like this available too and they all tend to do the same thing – block your phone so that you can get some work done without checking Instagram every five seconds.
I’m someone who absolutely needs to listen to something whilst they study otherwise I find it really hard to focus. At the minute I’ve been listening to a lot of lofi music whilst I do work (I actually listened to it whilst I did my online exam) and my favourite channel I’ve found is Feardog on YouTube.
Depending on how I’m feeling, I also like to listen to podcasts although I don’t tend to do this if I really need to focus as they can get pretty distracting sometimes. My current personal favourites are:
- Sawbones – a podcast by Sydnee and Justin McElroy covering various medical topics in a lighthearted way
- NADDPOD – A D&D actual play show that is really funny
- Study Medicine Podcast – this is a new podcast by @medico.lifestyle that covers a different clinical topic each episode
I also like to listen to relaxing video game music as it isn’t too distracting and it’s just some nice background noise – my personal favourite at the minute is Breath of the Wild music with rain sounds in the background (for that extra touch of relaxation).
Printables are also a really great way to encourage productivity – there are a whole bunch of them out there and I recommend looking at Pinterest or just Google to find the exact right one for you! I personally don’t use these as I find my planner and my notebook work well but they’re a good alternative if you don’t want to put together your own planner spreads.
Some of my favourite printables that I’ve seen on Instagram have come from LouiseDoesLife – she has a whole bunch of them that you can download including 100 hours of study trackers and a monthly calendar. If you want to check them out for yourself, you can get them from here!
Alternatively, I’ve also shared a few printables in the past which you can check out here!
My Top Advice
Hopefully, you’ve found at least one or two of these resources helpful – I know studying can be pretty tough right now so it’s important to give yourself a break now and again rather than feeling bad for not constantly being productive.
If you’re struggling to finish off the massive lists of tasks that you’ve got to do each day, try and prioritise a few that you really need to get done and then only do the others if you have time and you still feel like studying.
Similarly, make sure that you’re taking breaks rather than continually pushing yourself – you’ll just end up feeling burnt out which won’t help anyone. If you’re struggling to take time off, try scheduling specific breaks into your day and make sure that you stick to them.
And be kind to yourself – as long as you’re trying your best, that’s all you can do!