Are you hitting a wall in regards to your study and results?

Finding something difficult doesn’t mean that you should give up.

Perhaps you just haven’t found that one approach that you need to master in order to achieve your top academic results.

Lucky for you, I’m here to teach you all about the 1% improvement.

So, grab your emotional support water bottle and dive on in with me, my friend.

The 1% Improvement

Have you heard of the 1% improvement before? It’s no problem if you haven’t.

And yes, I hear you. I get that you want to improve by more than just 1%. But hear me out.

In the most simple terms, the 1% improvement is a simple study habit in which you focus on improving by just 1% every day.

When we set ourselves big, transformative goals it can quickly become overwhelming, and we end up just setting ourselves up for failure.

The 1% improvement approach is a slow, but steady method to help you do more, achieve more and succeed more without feeling overwhelmed.

Say for example you decide you want to get fit. You might self yourself a goal of running a marathon. If you decided to start by running 5km, but had never done any running before, you would not stick to your goal for very long. As soon as you woke up stiff and sore the next day you would be ready to quit.

So instead of charging in like a bull at a gate, what if you just started off slowly. Maybe run just 500m on your first day. Then the next day, you can run 1% further. Then another 1%. Then another….

Before long you might even have developed enough fitness to increase by even more than this. But at the very least, tomorrow you will be 1% closer to your goal than you are today.

The same applies to your study. You might hate reading, and the idea of having to read a set novel is a nightmare. But what if you just read one more page tomorrow than you did today. Then an extra page the next day and so on.

By the end of the year, you will have read 365% more than you have now.

It’s also good to know that:

  • Fact#1 1% improvement is great for those of us with small attention spans
  • Fact #2 you are far less likely to give up if you make small, consistent changes than if you try to implement major changes all at once.
  • Fact #3 the lack of resentment you feel towards the task means you are very likely to do more than just 1% more each day – bonus!

How I Started Using the 1% Improvement Approach to Improve My Work Habits

I used to be a seriously impatient person. If I wanted to do something, I wanted it done yesterday.

But time after time I realised I was just setting myself up for failure.

I couldn’t bake a souffle when I could barely even boil an egg.

I couldn’t run a marathon when I hadn’t even jogged around the block before.

I couldn’t go from barely passing to getting straight As overnight no matter how hard I tried.

Yet I was still determined to do all these things. But the more I pushed myself, the more failure I experienced.

Then, I found the 1% Improvement strategy, and it changed me and my life by:

  • setting small, easily obtainable goals each day that led to steady improvement
  • keeping me positive and motivated
  • helping me see steady progress that stopped me from giving up

Side Note: This isn’t a new concept. It came from reading James Clear’s wonderful book ‘Atomic Habits’. If you haven’t come across it, I can highly recommend it.

5 Actionable Steps to Implement the 1% Improvement Today

You know how the 1% Improvement approach works now, but maybe you’re struggling to see how you can make it work for you.

Try this:

  • #1: Make a list of the things you would like to achieve or improve that currently seem out of your reach
  • #2: Write down what small extra effort you could do each day to help you improve. (eg read a chapter of a book 1% more. Then the next day read that total number of pages + another 1% etc)
  • #3: Don’t over-exert yourself. Stick to the small daily increments. If you feel really motivated, apply the same concept to a range of tasks rather than adding more to the one task. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  • #4. Reward yourself when you accomplish the extra 1%. This will help to keep you motivated and determined to succeed.
  • #5: Contact us for more help on how to adapt this process into your study routine

I dare you to pick out even just one of the above steps and do it before you go to bed tonight.

Then get in touch and tell us where you’ve started.

Case Study: Meet Ben

Don’t think this will work for you?

Let me introduce you to Ben, a client of mine.

Ben was fed up with his study routine. No matter how hard he worked each night, he never seemed to get through all of his work and was still struggling to get the results he wanted.

Ben wasn’t lazy – far from it. But he had coasted through school just doing his basic homework until the end of year 10. Then he hit year 11 and decided to get really focussed on his work by studying one hour per subject each night.

When Ben first contacted us he was feeling burned out, frustrated and miserable.

So, we scaled it right back for him, combining the 1% Improvement approach and the Pomodoro technique.

Ben rescheduled his study timetable to set himself just 25 minute blocks for each subject. After each block he gave himself a 5 minute break and a reward of some sort.

Each day he added just 1 minute to that study time, until he gradually built it up to 45 minutes.

This way his body and brain were able to slowly adapt to the additional time and focus needed to use it effectively.

Best of all, Ben found that by this stage he had taught himself to work much faster and overcome all distractions, so he often didn’t need the whole 45 minutes per subject.

He was getting more work done in less time.

In other words, he had learned how to study smarter, not harder.

In his own words, Ben told us ‘Our teachers kept telling us that we would need to put in big study sessions to cope with year 11 and 12, so I threw myself into it. But because I wasn’t used to studying I quickly burned myself out and felt totally overwhelmed.

By taking it slowly and building up just a little bit each night I found it easy to stay on top of my work – and I actually got to have time off rather than trying to do 6 hours of study every night after a whole day at school.’

Wrapping It Up

People like you and Ben are precisely why I started Edvantage Australia.

Hard working students who want to do well, but don’t really know the best way to get there.

I knew there was a need for study skills workshops that could teach you some simple but effective tips and tricks to work smarter, not harder to get the results you want.

Results like Ben’s are what keep me going.

If you’d like to know more, about the 1% improvement or any other study habits that will help you improve your results, check out the website or get in touch. Together we can help you follow your dreams.


Stop me if this seems familiar…

You’ve been really focussed on your work and spending hours at your desk studying.

You’ve even made studying a priority, cutting back on work and your social life to hit the books.

All your friends think that you’ll be getting straight As with the amount of work you’ve been doing.

But your results just aren’t seeing any improvement!

How does that make you feel?

Like you’re wasting your time?

Like you should just give up?

Like you’re just not smart enough to succeed?

I get it. You’ve made all these sacrifices for no reason and the only thing that’s changed are your levels of exhaustion and frustration!

We know you have the best of intentions and you’re putting in the effort and doing ALL the things.  So, what’s going wrong?

‘I’m working really hard, but my marks still aren’t improving’.

Throughout my 32 years of working with High School students I’ve heard this complaint a lot of times.

Lucky for you, I’ve learned a thing or two about why students don’t always get the academic results they want.

Often it comes down to one of these 5 reasons.

(Pssst, if you want more tips on how to improve your study habits, be sure to connect with us on all our social platforms).

#1. You Compare Yourself to Others

You must have heard that comparison is the thief of joy, right? That’s exactly what’s happening when you measure your actions and results against those of another person.

Every person is different and every student is different. That means that what works for one student might not work for you.

Your family situation, your interests and goals, your external commitments and even your personality all come into play.

You might be a visual learner, while they’re verbal or kinaesthetic.

You’re a night owl and they’re a fowl who would prefer to work early in the morning.

While it might look like they have it easy, you never actually know what’s going on for them.

You can only see people from the outside, and in the modern world that is often a sanitised, manufactured persona. You don’t see the internal struggles, the sacrifices and the difficulties they faced in getting there. You just see the end product – their success.

The only person you should ever compare yourself to is you.

Make sure that each day you are doing just a little bit better than the day before.

Focus on your own journey. Set your own goals. Run your own race.

This link is a great insight into why we should never compare ourselves youtube stop comparing yourself to others 

#2. You Have a Tendency to Procrastinate

Hey, friends, this is a judgment-free zone, so you can level with me on this.

Do you have things that you need to do in order to improve, but you’re happily ignoring them?

Maybe they just seem too hard? Too boring? Or too time consuming?

I thought so. It’s time to rip off that bandaid and get stuck in.

Chances are, once you start addressing these tasks they probably won’t be as hard or time consuming as you feared and you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

Never put off until tomorrow things that you could do today.

If procrastination is a real problem for you, we have a great workshop that will help you get on top of it Managing Procrastination

#3. You Don’t Understand Your Goals

In order to get top academic results, you have to get clear on your why.

Let’s face it, you’re going to have to make decisions and sacrifices along the way, and if you don’t have a definite reason for doing so, it will be all too easy just to give up when the going gets tough.

I like to map my goals out at the start of each year, and then again at the start of each term so that I am motivated to stick to my path no matter what obstacles may be thrown in my way.

If you haven’t already done so, here’s a quick activity for you.

  1. Write down all the things that for you signify success.
  2. Now put a circle around the ones that are most important for you in the next 10 weeks.
  3. Put these into your personal order of importance.
  4. Beside each goal, create an action plan of how you will go about achieving that success.

Do you need some help with this? We have a great workshop all about goal setting that will step you through the process. Click here to learn more

#4. You’re Not Working Smart Enough

Whoa, hold your horses there. I’m not saying you’re not working hard enough.

I know you’re putting in the hours and the effort.

But there’s a difference between working hard and working smart.

Can you think of an area within your study routine that could benefit from being a bit more focussed and streamlined?

I know that for a long time with my studying, it was really hard to move forward the way I needed to.

Even as a teacher I face the same issue.

If I had a batch of marking to do, I would sit at my desk knowing I would be there for a few hours and feeling as if I would never get through it all.

It wasn’t until I started implementing the Pomodoro Method that I managed to use my time more effectively – and remove the feeling of resentment and overwhelm.

Never heard of the Pomodoro Method?

Basically, you set a timer for 25 minutes and work in a totally focussed way until the timer goes off. Then you take a 10 minute break before settling down for another 25 minutes.

This way you break your work up into manageable chunks and never have that sense that you are drowning in work. You also get to reward yourself every 25 minutes for how much you have accomplished.

This is just one method you can apply to help you work smarter, not harder. But there are many more we could teach you.

So, try to step back, be objective, and look at ways you can improve your study methods to make them more effective and less overwhelming. Your future self will thank you!

#5. You’re Going It Alone

Do you insist on doing things your way – the way you’ve always done them.

And how’s that working out for you?

I’m guessing you just keep replicating the same habits and getting the same marks.

As Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing things the same way over and over and expecting different results.”

Perhaps it’s time to reach out to the experts and get some new tips on how to study more effectively.

It’s not your fault. Schools rarely teach us how to study. It’s just sort of assumed that everyone knows how to do it.

But the truth is, they don’t.

But there is a solution. Working with study skills experts can teach you a whole lot of time saving tips and tricks to help you study smarter, not harder and start getting the results you really want.

Key Takeaways

You may have noticed that all of these reasons for not achieving success with your study habits have something in common – they are self created problems.

At first, that may make them seem impossible to fix.

But the great thing is, that means YOU can easily fix them.

Just a few simple tweaks to your study habits could help you see some marked improvement in your results – probably with less effort.

If you want to work on your study methods and learn to study smarter, not harder, you can contact us here and we can help you put together a course of action

Not ready to seek professional help?

Download our free guide Overcoming Procrastination today to help you study more efficiently and improve your results.

You can also follow us on all our social channels for more hints and tips.


“The tougher the setback, the better the comeback.”

Do these wise words by Bernard Osei Annang sound like something you need to hear right now?

If you received some disappointing results at the end of last term, then they may resonate more than you would like.

Or you might just dismiss them as platitudes that you don’t want to hear.

But the truth is, success without setbacks is impossible. While it might be nice to sail through school – and life in general – on a wave of success, the reality is, you will hit some rough seas.

The time has come to overcome the sense of failure.

Read on to learn how you can master disappointment and come back stronger than ever.


#1. Take Stock of Your Routine

Poor results do not appear out of thin air.

Life has a sense of humour and likes to kick us down when we are already struggling. It’s easy to put your poor results down to bad luck, or subjective marking. But chances are if you take stock of the way you used your time last term, I’m guessing you’ll see that the warning signs were always there.

Did you prioritise your schoolwork over other activities?

Did you create a study routine at the very start of the year, or did you wait until the assessment started rolling in?

Did you allow yourself to procrastinate or did you just swallow the frog and get stuck into it?

Hindsight is 20/20, but with a little bit of work, you can make sure your poor time management and prioritising of activities of the past do not influence future academic performance.

#2. Damage Control 

Is the disappointment of your results having a broader effect on your current performance? Are you finding it hard to put it behind you and move forward? Are constantly second guessing yourself and your abilities?

Don’t panic!

No, seriously, this is not the time to give up or stick your head in the sand and hope it will all go away. [Spoiler alert: it won’t!]

You can control the situation and come out stronger.

Take a look back and reflect on where you went wrong. Did you run out of time and leave your run too late? Did you study the wrong stuff? Or just not study at all?

Knowing where you stuffed up is the best way to raise your awareness and ensure you don’t do it again this term.


Top Tip: Take it from someone who has failed as much as she’s succeeded.

If you look at where you went wrong and adjust your future actions accordingly, you can get yourself back on track – and maybe even ahead. What have you got to lose?

#3. Accept Help

I know you like to be independent and go it alone, but this can just get you tied up in unnecessary knots and spiralling down a hole of disappointment and confusion.

Instead, if you accept help, you can easily overcome obstacles before they overcome you.

For example:

  • If you’re struggling with the content, you should always ask your teacher for clarification.
  • Why not tap into the vast range of Youtube clips and online learning platforms – especially for those of you who are visual learners.
  • How about studying in a group? Being able to ask for assistance from your peers can help you move forward quickly and easily. Plus, as an added bonus, having to answer a question or explain something to someone else requires in-depth knowledge that will push you further.


#4. Future Planning

Now that you’ve reflected on your poor results, it’s time to leave them behind you and create a plan to get you the results of the high performing student that you are!

Remember: Poor results are common, and you are not stupid, or hopeless just because it has happened to you. All you can control is how you deal with the disappointment and use it to fuel your determination to succeed.

Here are some tips to implement moving forward:

  • Create a study plan that ensures all subjects are covered equally throughout the term.
  • Prioritise your time so that you have clearly allocated slots of both study and play.
  • Use spaced revision throughout the term to avoid last minute cramming and you’re your brain transfer learning to your long term memory.
  • Create a study group.


#5. Act, Don’t React 

Did your teacher tell you that one, too? Don’t roll your eyes at me! You know we’re both right.

Action is the mother of improvement.

Reaction puts you back in the headspace of failure.

Rather than dwelling on the past and wallowing in disappointment, use it to put a fire in your belly that propels you to take positive and determined action.

You can’t change the past, but your actions can certainly change the future.


So, How Can Edvantage Australia Help?

Are you still flailing a little or want just a bit more help to get you back on your feet after your disappointing results?

No problem!

At Edvantage Australia, we pride ourselves on supporting students to achieve their full potential and get the results they need to follow their dreams.

That means you don’t have to flail around aimlessly wondering how to improve. That’s what we’re here for.

We have 28 Study Skills workshops designed to take any student from failing to flying. Unlike regular tutoring, we don’t focus on content, but on teaching you how to deal with the content so that you can improve your results and still have a life.

In short, our aim is to teach you how to study smarter not harder.

Our workshops include a range of tips and easy actions that you can implement right away to see a huge improvement in your results.

We can’t wait to work with you and help you get the results you want.




We’ve heard a lot about mindfulness in the last few years.

Shops are full of mindfulness colouring-in and self-help books.

People claim it will help us reduce our stress levels and get more done.

But how exactly can colouring in and doing things slower help us improve our performance?

Well, to understand that, we need to have a better understanding of what mindfulness really is – and isn’t.

Being mindful helps us to really focus on the moment at hand.

Too often we are distracted by what happened in the past, or what might be going to happen in the future. But, in order to do our best work, we need to ensure that our energy and attention are directed only towards what is happening in this specific moment.

This means blocking out any white noise or interfering factors, abandoning multi-tasking and truly focusing on the task at hand.

In doing so, we heighten our experience, slow down the process, truly connect with the task and retain the information.

So, lets look closely at how and why we should practise mindfulness.

Let Go of the Past

You may have had disappointing results in the past, failed, or even embarrassed yourself.

Too often we let these feelings carry over and negatively influence our future as well.

But the thing is, just because it didn’t work out for you last time is no indication that it won’t work this time.

You have learnt and grown since that moment and are no longer the person you were the last time you tried. If you are different, there is every chance that the results will be too.

The trick is to let go of the past. Accept what has happened, take what you can learn from it, and then put it behind you.

You can’t change the past, but you can change or control the impact it has on your future.


Remove Distractors

We all have many distractions in our lives – activities that other people are engaging in, external commitments, technology, noise, things we need to do … the list is endless really

But in order to be mindful, we need to deliberately and consciously shut these distractions out or choose to ignore them.

Focus your attention only on the task at hand.

Giving something your undivided attention will ensure a better understanding and retention of the information.

It will also help you finish the task more efficiently as you are not having to constantly switch from one activity, or one lot of content, to another.


For more information on this, read our blog 5 Reasons to Stop Multitasking


Improve Fulfilment

When we direct our complete attention to what is happening in the moment, we heighten our awareness of our surroundings, and engage all of our senses in it.

Close your eyes and imagine walking through an open field.

Now really shut out any distractions and zoom in on what is around you.

Hear the birds in the trees.

Feel the gentle, warm sun on your shoulders.

Smell the fresh grass, and deeply breathe in the fresh air.

Feel the coolness of the soft, velvety grass beneath your feet.

See the open space, the greenness of the grass, the flowers…

By engaging all of your senses, you will take in your surroundings much more deeply and they will leave a true impression on you.

Grounding yourself in the moment will also bring a sense of calmness and serenity which allows you to remove any sense of fear or stress.

Mind full or Mindful?

Improve Energy Levels

The calmness and relaxation we gain from mindfulness really helps us to improve our energy and our levels of motivation.

It is easier to want to do things when we approach them calmly and rationally.

It helps us drown out all the distracting white noise – our own self doubt, other people’s opinions and any external influences.

Many people mistake mindfulness for mindlessness, where you zone out completely and go into a zen-like state of relaxation and serenity.

Rather, it is an opportunity to truly focus in on the moment at hand an to give it your full and undivided attention.

Being fully present in the moment and engaging all of our senses provides a natural energy hit that makes us feel positive, engaged and successful.

Think about eating your dinner. Usually we just put food into our mouths, chew and swallow without really thinking what we are doing.

But what if we were to eat more mindfully?

What if we took the time to really savour our food, to try and identify all the different flavours, the feel the texture of the different foods?

Not only would eating become a much more stimulating activity and our food far more enjoyable, but by slowing down the process we would also greatly improve our digestion.

10 Ways to Improve Mindfulness

So, how can we become more mindful in an increasingly chaotic world.

Here are 10 things you can easily do that will increase your mindfulness and your engagement while reducing your stress.

  1. Get out into nature. We feel much more grounded and centred when we are in nature. Really take in your surroundings and engage all of your senses to help you notice everything around you.
  2. Practise deep breathing. Taking long, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth will also help you to calm and centre yourself.
  3. Say positive affirmations. Reminding yourself of how capable and in control you are will keep you positive, motivated and determined.
  4. Spend time being creative, drawing, doodling or colouring. This helps to calm you while also heightening your focus on one task.
  5. Acknowledge and release your feelings. It’s not healthy to ignore or bottle up your feelings, but it’s also not good to hold onto them. Allow yourself 10 minutes a day to acknowledge your feelings, consider what they are telling you and then release them.
  6. Write in a journal. Journaling helps us to track our progress and to offload our thoughts. Once they are down on paper, our brains no longer feel that they need to retain the information or the emotions and we can move forward.
  7. Slow down and focus on only one thing at a time. Engaging all 5 senses will not only slow the process down, but also heighten the experience for you, making it easier to recall.
  8. Do some exercise. Taking a walk or doing some form of stretching such as Pilates or yoga will help you to relieve the tension in your body.
  9. Take a shower. The warmth and gentleness of a shower is relaxing and gives the mind time to both calm and focus. Often having a shower helps you overcome mind blocks and difficulties that are affecting your work.
  10. Meditate. There are so many apps and free Youtube clips that will help you to meditate, calming your mind and your body and removing the negative blocks that are holding you back.


Being more mindful helps us to shut out much of the noise and busyness of our daily lives. It gives us an opportunity to ground and centre ourselves, which in turn clears our minds.

Engaging all 5 senses in a process helps us heighten our connection with the experience and ensures that information will be retained more readily.

By slowing down a little we actually can achieve more in our lives, with less pressure and stress.

What techniques can you adopt to become a little more mindful?

Like many others I always thought that multi-tasking was an efficient way to get things done.

Rather than just focusing on one task and letting the others slide, I deliberately ensured that I juggled all my tasks and did a bit of everything each day so that I could keep all my balls in the air.

But lately I have come to realise just how inefficient this actually is.

Because rather than staying on top of everything, I’ve all too frequently had all the balls come crashing down on me at once.

So, let’s have a look at why multi-tasking isn’t the answer – and most importantly at what you should be doing instead.

Multitasking and Me

So, why was I such a fan of multitasking in the first place?

It’s all to do with dreams.

I guess I’ve always had a low boredom threshold and have always had multiple activities on the go at any one time.

I have this recurring dream that I am cruising along happily crossing things off my to-do list and feeling pretty smug about my organisational skills, when I look back at my calendar and realise I have a Modern History research assignment due the next day that I haven’t even started!

Believe me, this is not a comforting dream to have at 2am.

And especially disconcerting when you consider that I haven’t actually studied Modern History since 1987!

So, to avoid that dream becoming a reality, I have developed a habit of multitasking – doing a little bit of everything each day so that I don’t forget any one thing altogether.

There’s just one problem.

Far from being more efficient, multitasking actually ensures that we actually don’t get ANY task completed effectively.

So, any time I was juggling multiple tasks, the final results were sub-standard, despite my best efforts.

But why is this the case?

Reason #1: It’s inefficient and time-wasting

Our brains are only designed to concentrate on one thing at a time (and no, that doesn’t just apply to males).

Women may be compelled to multi-task more often as they are more frequently responsible for little people who can’t perform tasks for themselves, but that does not make them efficient at it.

When we multi-task we don’t actually do two (or more) things at the one time. What actually happens is that we constantly shift our attention from one task and onto another. It’s just that we do it so rapidly we are often not aware of the process.

When we engage in an activity, we make a conscious decision to do so. Each activity has a set of ‘rules’ associated with it, that don’t necessarily apply to other activities. For example, the ‘rules’ required to cook dinner are very different from those required to text a friend. Trying to combine the two can make both tasks difficult.

When we swap from one activity to the other, our brains are forced to go through a process of goal shifting (deciding to focus on the different activity) and rule activation.

Each time we do this, we actually lose time. While it might only be a few seconds each time, if you spend your whole day shifting from one activity to another you can end up losing significant amounts of time.

Reason #2: Multi-tasking Causes Us to Make Mistakes

Those who frequently multi-task are seen to be more impulsive and therefore less cautious and methodical in their approach to tasks.

They are more easily distracted and often overlook key elements.

This can lead to careless errors (if not downright dangerous outcomes – ie texting and cooking).

Often work that is completed when multitasking will need to be done again, completely negating any time saving benefits.

Multitasking Infographic


Reason #3: My Brain Hurts

Multitasking definitely makes me feel exhausted – and it’s not just an age thing!

It’s actually quite mentally draining to have to focus intently on a number of different things at the one time.

Think about how hard it is to read 3 books at a time, or watch 3 television series at the same time – or even just to try to text while you’re carrying out a different conversation with someone face to face.

It’s really quite exhausting.

And an absolute invitation for something to go wrong (think texting your tutor ‘I love you’ when you meant to say that to your Mum!)

Plus, researchers at the University of Sussex have conducted brain MRIs that clearly show damage to the brains of those who frequently multi-task. The scans reveal less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region responsible for empathy as well as cognitive and emotional control.

Other studies show that frequent multitaskers experience a drop in their IQ of up to 15 points.

Any perceived benefits of multi-tasking get thrown out if it’s going to cause brain damage!

Reason #4: I’m Tired

When we force our brains to keep switching between multiple tasks, we overstimulate them.

The brain is not only coping with the information, but with the different types of media or stimuli; the different rules required to achieve the tasks; the different information that needs to be pulled to the forefront to have this new knowledge connected to it; and then storing it effectively.

All this takes a lot of energy and makes our brains go into overdrive.

It’s no wonder that by the end of the day we feel quite exhausted – the kind of tiredness that not even a good night’s rest can improve.

Allowing our brains to focus on only one activity at a time gives us greater clarity, better concentration and a sense that we have room to breathe.

This helps us to feel on top of things and far less overwhelmed, allowing our brains to shut down at night – a vital part of the learning and consolidating process.

Reason #5: It Stresses Me Out 

Research shows that people who multi-task have higher stress levels than those who don’t.

And frankly, I’m not surprised.

Working on multiple tasks sends our brains into overdrive. They respond by pumping out adrenaline and other stress hormones in order to keep up. These hormones provide us with a burst of energy, but it is often more distracting than helpful and it quickly dies off.

If we continue to practise multitasking, the constant stress can actually be dangerous to our health. These stress hormones can cause a number of medical issues such as headaches, stomach issues and sleeping problems. The increased sense of stress can cause issues in the workplace, home and relationships. It can also lead to chronic health issues such as insomnia, back pain, heart disease and depression.

What I Do Instead of Multi-Tasking

As you’ve probably guessed, now I avoid the temptation to multi-task. Instead, I make sure that I am only working on one task at a time.

This works better for me because:

  • I know that by focusing solely on one task at a time, I can complete it more efficiently and effectively, resulting in fewer errors and ultimately saving me time
  • I am protecting my brain by not overloading it and forcing it to work in ways for which it wasn’t designed.
  • I finish the day calmer, more relaxed and more satisfied. I can actually cross completed tasks off my to-do list rather than having done lots of bits of things, but nothing in its entirety.

However, I’m not just asking you to trust me on this. After completing our workshop on The Myth of Multi-tasking last week, my client Margaret wrote:

Student testimony


And, to address that Modern History nightmare, I make sure that I create a clear schedule that allocates blocks of time for every subject or activity I need to complete. That way I will never have the terrifying realisation that I have completely forgotten to do something important.

(For more ideas about why we all need to use planners, read my blog article Five Ways to Make a Calendar Work For You)

Do you have any more questions? Why not book an ATAR activation call so we can help you formulate a plan to improve your study habits. Or, we’re always happy to chat with you on our Social Media platforms, where you’ll find more helpful hints and tips.

You know what?

There’s a whole lot of misinformation about studying, which is why it’s easy to feel defeated when you’re doing everything “right” and still not getting results.

Before I learned how to overcome my limiting beliefs, I tried every guide and article I could find.

Expert #1 would say writing information out multiple times is the best way to learn it (it’s not).

Expert #2 would say reading over the content and highlighting key words is the way to go (another myth).

Expert #3 think the best way to get top marks is to study on your own as you have more control.  

No matter what I did, I still couldn’t find a study plan that worked for me.

I kept thinking there was some big secret I just didn’t know. That everyone else knew exactly what they were doing and I was the only one who didn’t.

But then I learned the truth.

The big secret that was blocking my success was that I had to trust myself and overcome my limiting beliefs.

Whatever you think about is what your brain focuses on.

So while I was focusing on all the things I was getting wrong, the more my brain kept going back to them and doing them more often.

Once I finally started turning it around and looking at my limiting beliefs as beneficial, things really fell into place.

You can do it too!

Read on for some sneaky limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from getting top results, and how to turn them into your superpowers.  

Limiting Belief #1: I Don’t Need Help

If you’re used to being self-sufficient and doing things on your own, you can probably relate to this. And it’s probably worked for you up until now. But the final years of high school can be quite challenging and having a support network around you can make a huge difference.

Many students find study groups a great motivator – it’s hard to avoid showing up and doing the work when others are counting on you.

Some like having the reassurance of a mentor – someone who always has your back and can pick you up when you’re feeling down.

Others like to have a kind of PA – someone in the background reminding them of when things are due and helping them to stay organised and on top of things.

How to turn it into your superpower

First, challenge your belief. After all, it’s just a belief and you have no proof that it’s reality (spoiler: it’s NOT!)

Ask yourself why you think you need to go it alone. Is it that you don’t want others to know your weaknesses (or steal from your strengths)?

Maybe it’s that you’ve always done it alone and assume that’s the only way?

Or perhaps you’re a deadliner and have never been organised enough to think of getting help until it’s too late.

Once you have the answers, think about what it would be like to do the opposite. What would it be like to have help? Would it make studying feel less isolating and boring? Would it give you more confidence to proceed?  Would it improve your time management and organisation, reducing the number of last minute cramming sessions?

You don’t have to take action now. Just let it sit with you and try to broaden your perspective. Keep challenging yourself. 

When you’re ready, try reaching out for help. We have a number of ways to support you in your studies. Here are a few resources available:

  • Our workshops will help you strengthen your skillset
  • Join the forum in our study skills group to interact with other students or to receive assistance
  • Ask for our study support team to send you SMS reminders of assessment dates and milestones

Limiting Belief #2: I just have to… 

“I’ll get to my studies as soon as I finish working out my study schedule”.

Sound familiar?

We all have a list of things we need to do, and in what order we want to do them.

But if you’ve been procrastinating on a specific task for weeks or months, it’s probably time to re-prioritise.

While it’s great to have a planner and know exactly what you’re doing, do you really need to have one set in stone before you can tackle your workload? Or is it that actually doing the work scares you? 

It’s common to put off things we’re not “ready” for

But you know what? You’re never actually going to find the right time when you feel totally ready.

Putting tasks off never makes them go away or helps them get any easier. In fact, the more you procrastinate the worse things will get. Your anxiety levels will rise and your time frame will reduce.

Besides, have you ever noticed that the things we dread doing aren’t actually that difficult or time consuming once we actually knuckle down and get them done?

How to turn it into your superpower

Believe it or not, procrastination can actually be used to your advantage.

Any time you hear yourself thinking “I just need to…”, count to 5 and make yourself do it. That way it is done and can no longer be used as an excuse. 

You’ll be amazed by how many tasks you manage to get out of the way if you adopt this attitude.

Plus, completing these smaller tasks will give you the motivation to keep going and get to work on those bigger tasks that you’ve been avoiding.

Many people don’t want to start things until they feel they have all the knowledge and ability to do them well. Taking small but imperfect action is always better than doing nothing at all.

Whatever you have to do today, do it with the confidence of a 4 year old in a superhero cape

Limiting Belief #3: I’m not clever enough

How many times have you put off studying for your exams because you tell yourself you’re not clever enough to succeed?

You’re not alone. This is another belief that comes from a place of fear, and we all have them.

When you’re about to try something new, you picture all the things that can go wrong.

This is especially true if you have experienced failure in the past.

The problem with this belief is that it can prevent more empowering beliefs from forming if you’re not aware of them.

If we focus on the things we can’t do, we end up in a negative spiral where we doubt ourselves to the extent that we question our ability to do even simple things.

As Henry Ford once said “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”.

Just because you once tried and failed does not mean that will happen again.

Imagine if when you were starting to walk you fell on your bottom once and decided you weren’t capable of walking!

How to turn it into your superpower

If you hear yourself thinking “I can’t do that”, add the word “yet”.

This simple trick will help you find the motivation to develop the skill you feel you’re lacking, rather than simply giving up in defeat. 

You absolutely CAN get the results you want!

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but the right attitude will certainly hep you get there. 

Here’s an activity that might help…

Think about all the things you couldn’t do once that you can now do without thinking. 

Write each skill on a post-it note and place them in a jar.

Now you have a visual representation of all the things you can do that once you couldn’t.

Rather than giving up, find solutions to the problem. What can you do to help you achieve this skill? Do you need to ask for help? Complete practice exams? Watch a Youtube lesson? 

Focusing on what you CAN do will help turn your limiting beliefs around and help you use them to drive your success.

Jar of skills

Limiting Belief #4:  I don’t have time

If you believe you have too much work to do and not enough time in which to do it you’ll find ways to keep yourself occupied with other activities rather than studying.

Saying you don’t have time is really saying it’s not a priority right now.

The truth is, as a full-time student, you have to make studying a priority!

How to turn it into a superpower

You don’t need huge blocks of time to study. You just have to do it with consistency. 

In fact, frequent short study sessions are far more effective than a few long ones.

Parkinson’s Law tells us that work expands to fit the time allocated. So having more time doesn’t help the situation – it just allows us to work less efficiently.

I always thought I worked effectively, but once I had my babies I became far more efficient as I had to squeeze my work into any little windows of opportunity throughout the day. 

As they say, if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

Don’t be afraid to say no to things that aren’t absolutely necessary. Draw a line in the sand and make studying a priority, no matter what else you have going on

If you can carve out even one hour a day, you can revise everything you learned that day and re-visit at least one subject.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Step #1 Create a study schedule that includes all of your time commitments. This will help to give you a visual representation of how much time you have available.
  • Step #2 Prioritise your commitments. Do you really need to spend that number of hours at your part-time job? Even if you love the money and the freedom that brings you, is it the highest priority while you are a student?
  • Step #3 Find the self-discipline to make use of any gaps of time you have. Stop thinking of studying as being something that has to be done in long blocks of time. Use flashcards, quizzes and past papers to constantly self-test and revise learned work. 

You’re making great progress!

Your limiting beliefs can pose the biggest obstacles to your success. Identifying, acknowledging and understanding them helps you turn them into superpowers that boost your performance and your results.

It’s time to turn your limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs! If you find yourself procrastinating over your studying, think about what may be holding you back. Write down 10 limiting beliefs, and don’t be afraid to see them on paper. 

We all have them, remember. It’s what you do with them that counts. 

Will you push through and keep going? You bet you will! 

Remember, you can always reach me here if you want some help with this. Let’s get you the results you really want!

One of the biggest challenges people face is finding the balance between their everyday “life” activities – sport, cultural activities, work, relaxing and socialising – and studying. So how – and when – can you find enough time for studying? Should you do it first thing in the morning? Lunchtime? Or later in the day?

Are you ready to get great results in your studies?

You may already think you have a great routine, but I hope to add a new perspective on what it takes to achieve top grades.

Many people believe that it takes hours and hours of studying to great results, but that may be exactly what’s holding you back.

If you’re struggling with finding that amount of time and still having the life you want, then this is the place for you.

Ready to dive into a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into achieving top academic results?

Study Smarter, Not Harder

If you’ve been finding yourself procrastinating in your studies because you don’t want to be chained to a desk, then you may want to re-evaluate the situation.

Ask yourself, why do I think successful studying requires hours and who benefits from that idea?

Other students at school might tell you that they have spent hours studying, but have they really? Sometimes they just say things like that to psyche you out and boost their own confidence at the same time.

Teachers might tell you that you need to be doing hours every night, but that’s because they need to provide a benchmark based on the average student and they want you to be aware not to leave things to the last minute.

But you’re not the average student.

Because you’ve learned how to study smarter, not harder.

You see, it’s not about the hours you spend at your desk, but about how efficiently you work while you’re there.

My Routine for Working Smarter, Not Harder

I’m happy to say that after many years of struggle I have finally achieved the art of working smarter, not harder, and my routine directly influences my ability to succeed.

A day in my life looks a little like this:

Morning: set my goals for the day, along with a clear to-do list so I don’t waste time having to think about what I should be doing
Afternoon: check my list and re-prioritise tasks if necessary so that I ensure I complete anything that absolutely has to be done today
Evening: tidy up any loose ends, do some small tasks to get me ahead for the next day and move any incomplete tasks to tomorrow’s list. Then I get to spend the rest of the night relaxing and recharging before the next day.

So how does it work?


Starting the day with a clear to-do list helps me get my thoughts clear and organised. It also helps me to look for any time saving tricks. For example, if I need to return a book from the library and get new pens for my upcoming exams, I can put those two tasks beside each other and do them in the one trip.

Maybe I can get new books for a different subject while I’m at the library, saving me time on another day.

Knowing exactly what needs to be achieved during the day stops me from wasting time having to think about it. If I have any spare moments I can look at my list and see if I can squeeze anything into that time and get it crossed off my list.

Knowing what I need to do also helps to energise me. It’s much easier to make ourselves work if we’re striving to achieve a specific goal.

Without this, I would feel that I have an unending number of tasks to complete and feel too overwhelmed to actually start.


Before I sit down and get started on my afternoon tasks, I always go back and re-assess my list. Crossing off any achieved tasks provides a great sense of accomplishment and puts me in a positive headspace to keep going.

Sometimes I find that having completed certain tasks I no longer need to worry about others on my list, as they have indirectly been taken care of as well. This is a great boost as now I realise that I have more time than I thought.

If I have time I can systematically work through the rest of my list. If I feel that time is tight, I can re-prioritise the remaining tasks on my list to ensure that I complete those that are essential today.

For example, if I have Biology tomorrow, I will prioritise my Biology homework over my History homework as I don’t have History until the following day.


In the evenings I set aside some time for new work and allocate time to revise everything I learned at school during the day.

This gives me an opportunity to consolidate my new learnings and to ensure that I really understand the content. Looking over the work the night you learn it means that you can ask your teacher to clarify anything you don’t understand the next day so you won’t continue to feel lost during the following lessons.

I then use my study planner to guide me on what revision or assignment tasks need to be prioritised.

Breaking any tasks or study down into just 45 minute sessions helps to prevent me feeling overwhelmed by it all.

Before I finish up for the night, I write myself a clear plan for the following night so that I know exactly where I got up to and what still needs to be done. In this way, I can hit the ground running the next night without having to think about where I was at.

So, how does my routine compare to yours?

How is your routine helping you to achieve the best possible results?

Don’t be afraid to change it up or to get rid of parts that don’t work for you.

Remember, I’ve had years to get this sorted. And that’s why I’m sharing it, so that you don’t have to go through the same amount of trial and error to be able to enjoy success.

Whatever works for you is what will work best for getting you the results you really want.

Never be fooled into thinking that the amount of time you spend at your desk is an indicator of how hard you are studying

Let’s be honest here. We’re not always working at our most effective levels when we’re ‘studying’.

It’s easy to get distracted. Suddenly you realise how much your desk needs to be cleaned. Or you turn your to-do list into a work of art rather than actually achieving any of the tasks written on it.

Maybe this looks a little too familiar:

Study Graph

We’ve all done it.

But it’s these bad habits that cause us to feel overwhelmed and resentful of the amount of time we spend not getting anywhere.

If you organise your day, you can achieve far more in far less time.

You Need Discipline to Succeed

Now, just because you’re not currently getting the results you want, doesn’t mean you can’t get those top grades.

But it does mean you that you need to take an honest look at how you spend your time before you can prioritise your tasks for manage your time efficiently. But I know you can do it and am here to support you every step of the way.

Let’s be specific in planning out your day:

  • Step #1 Start with a clear, prioritised to-do list so that you don’t forget any tasks
  • Step #2 Re-evaluate your list during the day to celebrate your progress and to see if any activities can be consolidated or deleted.
  • Step #3 Finish off as much of your to-do list as possible, and complete any revision of new learnings from the day. Think of something you can do to get ahead for the next day (eg read the next chapter in your textbook). Always finish by leaving yourself a clear outline of what you have achieved during the day, and where you need to pick up the next night.

Because I know how important daily organisation is, I put together this free (really free!) guide for you. Use it to organise your day and study smarter, not harder.

Click here to download The 5 Step Daily Planner

Wrapping it Up

Success doesn’t stem directly from the amount of time invested.

If you want to succeed as a student, the trick is to organise your day efficiently so that you can achieve more in less time.

Once you get this right, you will have plenty of time for all the other things you want to enjoy, and will no longer resent having to spend time studying.

So, what do you think? What tips could you adopt from this post to help you plan and organise your time more effectively?

You’re well on your way to getting the results you want by studying smarter, not harder.

Remember, you can download my 5 Step Daily Planner to help you study smarter, not harder right here.

Click here to download my 5 Step Daily Planner

At the start of each year, it’s traditional for many people to devise their goals for the year.

Setting goals is great, as they give us a sense of direction and motivation. Having goals to tick off throughout the year as we achieve them also gives us things to celebrate – and we know the human brain thrives on reward.

But sadly many people lose track of their goals only a few weeks in to the year, often reverting back to their old habits, and end the year wondering why they didn’t make any improvements.

So, to prevent you falling into the same trap, here are 5 secrets to ensure you meet your study goals in 2023.

1. Know Your Why

It’s really hard to focus on a goal if you’re really only thinking about the final achievement rather than the desire behind it.

Think about it, if you wanted to save money and decided to make your goal $1000 you might start off strong, but gradually you would lose the impetus to put money away as the goal serves little purpose. However, if you were to say ‘I’m going to save $1000 for a new phone’ it would be easier to save.

If you decide to start going to the gym, you might set the goal of losing 12kg. But this isn’t really the ‘why’ behind this desire. What will happen if you lose 9kg. Will you feel like a failure? If you lose 12kg will you stop there, having met your goal?

A better goal would be to create the determination to become more fit and improve your physical health – after all, this is why most of us really start an exercise regime.

Knowing what the desire behind the goal really is will help us to stick to it. Even if you don’t lose all 12kg, you will still be physically fitter than you were when you started – which is definitely worth celebrating.

Studying is the same. Why do you want to improve your results? Is it because there is a specific course you want to do in the future? Is it because this subject is a pre-requisite for another? Is it damaging your self esteem? Do you have a competitive drive to out-perform someone else? Knowing your motivation will help keep you committed to the end-game.

2. Keep Your Goals Realistic

One of the main reasons people fail to stay dedicated to their goals is that they set themselves up for failure.

Yes, it’s good to dream big, but thinking too big makes your goal overwhelming and unachievable, causing you to give up – and possibly beat yourself up in the process.

If you have never done any exercise, it’s not a great idea to decide your goal is to run a marathon in the middle of the year.

As they say, you need to learn to walk before you can run.

When it comes to your studies, a student who has never actually passed the subject would be unrealistic in setting a goal to get an A in the first term. This might be the long term goal, but start with just getting a solid C and passing the subject!

Setting challenging, but realistically achievable goals will make you less inclined to give up.

3. Break Goals Down into Smaller Steps

Again, one of the biggest challenges in sticking to your study goals is the need to manage the sense of overwhelm.

Rather than striving for the one large and daunting goal, think about the small steps you would need to achieve along the way.

If you were going on a long drive, you would have your final destination as your end goal, but would find places for short stops along the way, making these your interim goals.

The same applies to your studies. To get straight As from where you are now, what goals might you need to meet along the way?

Breaking the goal down like this not only saves you from feeling overwhelmed and tempted to give up.

It also means that you can reward yourself and celebrate your achievement as you meet each interim goal, which keeps you motivated and determined to continue.

4. Provide Clarity for Your Goals

Remember, a goal without a plan is just a dream.

Without a definite time frame we will never meet our goals as we need the sense of urgency to motivate us into taking action.

Parkinson’s Law illustrates that a task expands to meet the time allocated to it. So, without a definite timeframe, we can go about fulfilling our goal in a very casual manner. We might eventually get there, but the sense that it is dragging out will destroy our motivation or sense of achievement.

It’s also important to write your goals down. This helps to add a level of accountability to your decision. It also means that you can look back at your goal when you are starting to give up. This will remind you of why you set the goal in the first place and just how determined you felt at that time. Draw on these feelings to help give yourself a boost of energy and commitment.

5. Live the Dream

Our brain can’t actually distinguish fact from fiction. Instead, it uses our emotions to determine what we want more of. If we are experiencing the joy and fulfilment of success, our brains will realise that we want more of that and will do everything possible to help us achieve more.

If, however, we focus on what we don’t have, our brain will decide that is the state we are most comfortable existing in and will ensure we get more of that to keep us happy.

So, the trick is to ‘see it before you can be it’. In other words, you need to visualise your life as it will be after you have achieved your goal.

How will you feel? What will you see and do? Who will be with you to celebrate? What will this change in your life?

Focussing on this future will encourage your brain to do whatever it can to help make it come true.

(Although, obviously you need to put the work in as well!)


Ultimately, it’s important to set yourself goals as these are what give us motivation, energy and determination. Without goals we will just continue on as normal and not make any advancements in our lives.

Goals are a very personal thing and need to be based on your true personal desires. It is hard enough to strive to achieve a goal to which you are utterly committed, but considerably harder to try to achieve someone else’s dream.

Setting challenging, but realistic goals helps to ensure that we emerge from the year just a little better than we went into it, giving us a sense of accomplishment that boosts our serotonin levels making us feel happy and positive.

Besides, if nothing else, setting and meeting your goals provides you with the perfect excuse to celebrate your achievements.

Many students think that mock exams are a waste of time. They’re not ready for the exams yet, and these don’t count, so why bother really trying?

Well, the reason we use mock exams is that both you and your teachers need to see what you don’t know.

There are only a few weeks in the final term until you sit the actual external ATAR exams. Your teachers want to get a clear idea of what they need to focus on in this time.

And so should you.

So, let’s look at what you can learn from the mock exams and what study techniques you can implement from now on to get you the results you want.


When we revise our work, it is very tempting to just keep going over the stuff that we already know. It gives us a big confidence boost and lulls us into the false belief that we know everything and are ready for the exams. But this is a very ineffective study habit.

In fact, at this stage, we need to STOP revising the content we already know and focus on the work we haven’t yet mastered.

Granted, this won’t be as quick, or as much fun. And it probably won’t give us that same hit of dopamine that we score when we get things right.

But this is where our energy needs to be directed in the lead up to exams.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I need in order to improve my understanding of this content?
  • Do I need to ask my teacher for further help?
  • Do I need to sit more practice exams?
  • Do I need to work through more examples?
  • Or (to be honest), do I just need to take the time and effort to learn this information in the first place?

 Time Management

Perhaps time management was a factor? You knew the answers to the questions, you just ran out of time to get them down onto the paper?

There’s an easy study habit that can help you here.

Make sure that when you test yourself at home you do so under exam conditions.

From your mock exams, you should gain a clear idea of how many minutes you can allocate to each mark on the paper.

When you work another example, be sure to set yourself this same time limit.

There is no point being able to nut out the answer in 45 minutes if you need to do so in 4 minutes in the exam!


Our next study tip is to make sure that you hand write any practice responses – many students struggle to write quickly (and legibly), especially under pressure.

Remember that your marker doesn’t know you and won’t be used to your handwriting. You need to make it as easy as possible for them to read what you have written. The clearer your handwriting the more likely they are to look for any extra information for which they might be able to give you marks.

Practising your writing will help you speed up, and get your hand more used to the process of writing. Use the same pen in revision that you plan to use in the exam. This way your finger will develop a small callous, making the pen more comfortable on the day and enabling you to write for an extended period of time.

Practising your handwriting also helps you determine how many words you can fit into a page This will help give you a visual understanding of how much you need to write in the exam in order to meet the length requirements

Specific vocabulary

Maybe you were pulled down for spelling or for not using subject specific terminology?

Maybe you misunderstood, or failed to acknowledge, the specified cognitive verb you needed to address. Make sure you know what each cognition requires. If a question asks you to ‘analyse’ and you simply ‘explain’, you can’t be awarded top marks no matter how accurate your response.

Now is a great opportunity to make yourself vocabulary lists and ensure that you know how to use and spell these specific words.

Flashcards are a great way to do quick and simple revision.

When you work through your flashcards, sort them into three piles – the content you can recall easily, the content you can recall with effort, and the content you really don’t know at all.

Put aside the cards containing the content you already know.

The cards with the content you can remember with effort can be revisited in every second study session.

It is the cards with information that you really don’t know that need to form the basis of your study moving forward.


Maybe stress and anxiety were your undoing?

If that was the case, you need to think carefully about what you can do to overcome this issue.

Let’s face it, the stress in the actual exams will be far more intense.

Have you tried meditation or relaxation techniques?

Can you develop a routine or ritual that might help calm your nerves before the exam?

Be wary of studying with friends, or talking to them too much about the exams. If they have prepared differently you may psyche yourself out and decide that their methods are right and yours are wrong. This will cause you to second guess yourself and the many hours of studying and revision that you have done will be wasted.

Now is the time to back yourself. You’ve done the work (I hope!) and now is your time to shine.

There are many different ways to respond to many questions – especially in the humanities subjects. You and your friend might approach it differently but that doesn’t mean that either approach is wrong.

Besides, maybe you’re the one who’s got it right. Why do we always assume that if our ideas are different we must be the one who is wrong?

Try to turn this around and smugly think this is at least one student who doesn’t know as much as you!

A lot of exam success is based on attitude and frame of mind.

Do whatever you need to do to ensure that you enter the exam room in a positive and determined frame of mind, ready to do your best.

So, what study techniques do you need to address in the leadup to exams?

Whatever it is that you need to work on, remember that you still have plenty of time and opportunity to do so. We offer plenty of help for students if you need a helping hand.