There is a situation that I always seemed to get myself caught up in. To this day I find myself falling into this problem when I’ve gone a while not paying attention to it. It’s a problem that, since starting this blog and hearing tons of other students stories, seems to be a common one.
I would get home from class and think, ‘there is no way I’m going to study after suffering through class.’ So I’d put off studying for an hour. Then I’d think ‘Well… I SHOULD probably study.’
I would let the thought creep into my skull but I wouldn’t do much about it. After an hour or hours of randomly link clicking through Wikipedia articles to learn some stupid and pointless information that I’d forget in an hour anyway, I’d feel the thought coming through again.
‘I need to be studying,’ it would announce. And then after fifteen minutes of texting a friend back and forth and randomly surfing videos I’d think it again. Then I’d think it again and again and, as you can imagine, again.
Eventually the wall of procrastination falls down and I think, ‘screw it! I’m studying. I’ll never do it if I don’t do it now.’ Then… I’d gather my books. I’d get a pencil. I’d get irritated because I couldn’t find the good mechanical pencil I’d been using. I’d wonder if my brother stole it.
Then I’d settle for an old wooden one and think, ‘what am I? A caveman?!?’ (having my brain completely ignoring the actual timeline of the invention of a pencil.) Then I’d clear my desk. Then I’d put the stuff down. Then after another 30 minutes of muddling down into my books and closing loops that I should have just ignored, I’d finally start literally looking at the study material.
Phew… eventually… I actually got to studying.
Studying Owns Your Time
Think about the problem with this situation. I didn’t want to study so badly that I ended up spending hours of my night worrying and preparing for it but not starting until nearly driving myself nuts.
If you’re worried that you need to study, you might as well be losing the time to studying while getting none of the benefits of studying. Worrying about having to study in the future is not fun. It’s distracting from fun. It often becomes a good excuse to not have fun.
I remember thinking, ‘I don’t want to play a game because then I’ll be having too much fun to stop and study,’ then I’d spend an hour doing something only entertaining enough to barely stay awake but not studying. If I’d have just played the game then I’d at least have not wasted that hour of worrying about studying.
When you’re procrastinating your studying, you are just making it more difficult to spend more time doing what you want to do. You’re giving yourself an excuse to be distracted from the enjoyment you’re looking for. Study or don’t study but sure as hell don’t waste your time suffering helplessly when you could be doing one of the two. Procrastinating studying is often worse than saying ‘screw it’ and not studying at all.
The Pressure Buildup
There is another major consequence to deciding to procrastinate studying. It makes starting studying in the future significantly more difficult. Every time you let yourself get pushed away from studying you’re teaching your brain that not studying is what it’s looking to achieve.
I know that doesn’t seem to make sense logically but emotionally that’s just the message you’re delivering to yourself. After a while you’ll get highly skilled at coming up with great excuses not to study. Unfortunately, you’ll never learn the excuses to study despite those excuses if you’re always procrastinating.
People often end up procrastinating out of fear for what they have to do. They don’t want to fail at studying so they just put it off until ‘they get more sleep’ or they’re ‘in a better mood’ or when they’re ‘not too busy.’ This fear of failing to produce results, particularly when denied with a silly excuse like being too busy, will just get stronger when it’s allowed to continue.
This pressure is what stacks up against a student looking to improve their grades. It’s a wall that tends to separate exceptional students from mediocre ones.
How To Study NOW!
When you need to study, you cannot let anything get in your way. Using the traditional mind-over-matter methodology this can be almost impossible. When your procrastination juices start flowing it’s difficult to discipline yourself enough to stop doing what you’re doing and start studying. Even the most disciplined people in the world get caught up trying to solve this problem.
In reality, you shouldn’t even have to worry about being disciplined for more than a few days. Discipline is difficult. It requires motivation and motivation can be supremely inconsistent. You can’t count on it being there when you need it randomly. Instead, you should just set yourself to not need discipline to start. If anything, it should take discipline for you to decide not to study. Here is how you can do that:
– Get In A Habit
Habits are hard to break. Studying should be a habit. You shouldn’t have to think about sitting down to study. You should just do it at a certain time every day. If you study at the same time everyday, after a while, you’ll start studying before you even have the chance to decide to procrastinate.
– Be Prepared
Studying requires certain resources. Those resources should be prepared before you have to sit down and study. It doesn’t take discipline to drop your book off at a desk without studying. Get in the habit of making sure everything you can prepare for studying is prepared in advance. That way, when it comes time to study, it will be that much easier to start.
– Have A Spot
The ideal spot for studying would be in a room separated from absolutely everything you find distracting. That usually means away from your phone, your computer, and anything else that happens to catch your interest and drag you in. In a more practical world, it should be at a desk dedicated to studying.
– Don’t Make It Hell!
You cannot develop a good study routine if it’s longer than you feel comfortable following through with virtually every single night. If you don’t want to study for an hour a night then DO NOT COMMIT TO IT. No… needing it doesn’t count. If you don’t want to do it then don’t do it.
A good study routine for most students doesn’t have to be longer than 15 minutes. I know teachers make crazy claims about hours a night but those numbers are ridiculous. You do not need to put yourself through hell to learn. More importantly, if you try to put yourself through hell to learn then you’ll probably fail for other reasons like giving up.
For more information on this you might be interested in reading The Unfortunate Truth About Study Time.
Good study routines are sustainable study routines. If that means you open your textbook for only five minutes a night then so be it. This will be a more effective study routine than most students have. An hour long study routine might be better but if it takes you two hours to convince yourself to start, it’s hardly worth it.
After a while of an excessively short study routine you can always increase the length easier because it would be a habit by then.
Do you want to know how you can study in less than 15 minutes a night? That’s what this blog is all about. Studying doesn’t have to take all night. You can score near the top of your class with high efficiency studying. Learn more by following along and checking out the archives. The ebooks in the sidebar may also help if you’re interested in learning more faster.
Aaron Richardson took his grades from fighting F’s to Easy A’s. In the process, he read over 300 books on personal development. Today he’s founded 2 blogs on studying including Smart Student Secrets. He’s written 3 books on the subject. His work has been featured on some of the biggest news, psychology, and student sites on the internet.