Homework can be easy and even fun if you do it right.
By fun, I’m not saying you’ll throw out your computer and beg your teacher for just a few more assignments.
I mean fun enough that you’ll feel good to get it out instead of procrastinating. (When something is fun, it kills procrastination.)
Teachers usually recommend students use the bang-your-head against it approach to homework advice. They’ll tell you all the wrong ways to do your homework. They’ll say:
- Take your time
- Try to really “get it”
- Work hard!
Sure… they might have good intentions but most of these strategies are counter-productive. For all the good you get out of them, you sacrifice something much more important.
The most important thing isn’t that you always get an impossibly high score.
For a perfect score, there is no amount of time you shouldn’t be studying. You might as well study all day for perfect because, odds are, you’re still going to mess up once in a while. It’s the perfectionism nightmare they’re encouraging.
The key is finding the right balance for your life.
You can do your homework is less time than you think. There are only a few things that you should know…
Go Irresponsibly Fast
Never slow down during your homework.
From the second you tell yourself, “I need to do my homework,” you shouldn’t stop. Get up immediately. Walk to your stuff. Grab what you need. Throw all the crap on your desk on the floor. Sit down. Answer the questions.
Don’t sit and think about the questions a second longer than you have to.
If you think you know the answer then write it down. Write it down fast enough that it’s a little sloppy. Write it fast enough that you can’t think about anything except that writing.
Then immediately start the next question.
As soon as you pause, you’re allowing yourself to get distracted. The faster you move, the less opportunity you have to be distracted.
Distraction is responsible for the complete destruction of any semblance of productivity in almost every case.
If you don’t allow yourself to stay 100% focused then you’re setting yourself up for more of a challenge.
Pausing is an invitation for distractions.
What if you have to pause to answer a question?
That’s okay once in a while. This is going to be common at first.
If you genuinely don’t know the answer then skip it and come back to it later.
After you answer everything you can go back and try again.
Before you go back to answer the questions, take a look at the time.
Track Time Or Lose It
Start tracking how long each assignment takes you. There are two times I recommend watching carefully.
- The time to answer all the questions you know
- The time to finish the assignment completely
(Doing those “hard” questions can often take longer than every other question on the test. When you’re tight on time, it’s worth considering skipping the tough ones completely.)
If you think you know the answer but can’t immediately think of it then either:
- Throw your best guess
- Close your eyes and take a breather
BUT I GOT DISTRACTED!?
That’s okay too. It happens to everyone. Just pause. Re-asses your goal of moving as quickly as possible. Then get moving!
Does this seem completely impossible?
I’ll explain how it’s possible a little later.
Steal Your Teachers Shoes
After you finish answering all the questions, you want to remember the old joke:
Before you judge someone, you want to walk a mile in their shoes. (That way you’re a mile away and have their shoes.)
The real meaning: how would you feel if you were them?
When you rush through your assignments, there are consequences.
You will be messier than usual. You might make more silly mistakes.
That could cost you points if you don’t steal your teachers shoes and walk a mile in them before class. (That’s a metaphor… Don’t blame me for your shoe sniping.)
Before you hand in your assignment, always check every single question.
Reread the questions and your answers and make sure they still make sense to you.
Read them like you’re a teacher trying to deduct points from your own paper. Be a judgmental teacher that you would hate to actually have. As you’re going through it, correct every silly mistake you made and neaten up anything that’s particularly disruptive.
You’ll notice this process is a whole lot easier than going through the test slowly because the hard part is done.
You’ve separated the two separate forms of thinking about the assignment.
You know that voice you normally hear in the back of your head telling you that you’re doing it wrong?
It’s that judgmental perfectionist voice that makes it so hard to answer the questions.
After practicing this style of homework a few times, you’ll notice that perfectionist voice goes away while you’re rushing through the assignment because you don’t even have time to think about it.
Then, when you get to the judgement phase, that voice is used productively instead of ruining your ability to finish the assignment.
There is one more important part to this strategy that’s absolutely essential to your success.
Give Yourself A Massive Head Start
The honest to goodness truth is a bit of a bummer.
If you’re behind in class then homework is going to be way slower.
If you’re kicking-ass in class then you could probably bust your homework out in five minutes after class.
If doing your homework doesn’t feel like you’re just filling out forms then you’re not as prepared as you could be for class. (Math can be a typical exception.)
Most homework should be as easy as filling out a personal survey. You shouldn’t need to look stuff up often. You shouldn’t need to sit down and think hard about much. It should be automatic because you know the answers that well.
That’s just a sign you’ve been indoctrinated with the wrong strategies for learning.
This is a complicated subject but learning for class is easy when you’re using the right strategies. That’s what this blog is all about. That’s what we write books about.
Doing good in class is more about forgetting the bad stuff you’ve been taught than learning anything knew.
After you forget those poor strategies, you can almost just trust your natural instincts to get ahead but it’s absolutely essential you remove the indoctrination before you try to trust your instincts.
Good studying feels natural.
It’s easier than not learning.
That’s what we can show you how to do…
This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.
I’m about 4 hours away from something big.
The story began a decade ago when I first started to share my study strategies with other students.
I had figured out the Holy Grail of academic optimization strategies – and every intermediate step to get to it. Using this strategy, I pulled a nearly 4.0 GPA while running a double course load in college – and once I started sharing it.
Droves of them.
And then teachers noticed.
Most of the teachers that were looking out for their student’s best interest got what I was saying and supported the cause. Others… well… not everyone has the student’s best interest at heart.
Early on (even before Smart Student Secrets,) I started writing for average students.
I knew… I was NEVER one of the “smart kids”. I was mediocre at best. And I knew, if these strategies worked for me then they could work for just about anybody. And that’s who I wanted to connect with.
But… There was a problem…
I built an audience giving these strategies away. Sure…
And I’d get messages from them. And we’d talk. And I’d hear their stories.
I’d hear from A+ students that cut their study time by 90%.
I’d hear from B students that took their grades up to A’s.
I’d hear from teachers that were sharing my strategies with their students.
I’d hear from older students how these strategies changed their life.
I love it. I love introducing these strategies that changed my life to other people.
But there was always this… but…
What about the C students?
What about the D students?
What about the students that are currently failing?
Sure… Some would reach out.. but…
They never followed through… They’d take a small step. They’d sign up. They’d learn some killer strategies. Seeing right there how powerful they were going to be…
And then… life kicks in. They lose sight of their goals.
And it’s gone.
Student’s came to this site to improve their life. They see the possibilities. But then… they move on.
In about 4 hours, I’m going to be introducing something – an email subscriber exclusive – that can help change that.
It’s going to make more Smart Students than at any other time in this site’s history.
If you’re ready to take your academic game to the next level – if you want to see it for yourself.
Write your email in the box. Check the confirmation you want emails. Confirm your email. And see for yourself.