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#1 dbranch531  Icon User is offline

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How do I build better study habits / more discipline?

Posted 05 September 2017 - 06:36 PM

I was a slacker in high school but now that I'm working toward a ComSci degree, those bad study habits have become a huge obstacle. I spend like 10% of the time I sit at my computer actually doing something productive, like studying for my Java class or learning Linux commands for my Unix/Linux class.

What do I do? I feel weak against these habits. For starters I bought a physical timer and I set it to 25 min for working, then 5 min break, and repeat. This has helped but I still don't really have a structure to my study schedule.

I'm so frustrated. When will I take initiative?

Any advice will help.

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Replies To: How do I build better study habits / more discipline?

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do I build better study habits / more discipline?

Posted 05 September 2017 - 07:32 PM

Quote

When will I take initiative?


This sounds like the question you really need to answer. Start with the obvious: minimize distractions. Study in the library, close out Facebook, etc. Next, form study groups with folks who work hard and do well. When studying with others, make sure to work at the material ahead of time so you can contribute to the discussion and ask questions. This keeps you accountable, and it also helps you engage with others (which actually contributes a lot to your learning). Don't study with other slackers. We pick up the habits of those with whom we surround ourselves.

Make sure you are getting your rest and eating well. Fuel yourself for success.

Beyond that, you can visit the on-campus Student Success Center. They likely have resources/seminars/folks who can help you make a game plan to build better study habits.

Ultimately, the responsibility falls on you, though.
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#3 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: How do I build better study habits / more discipline?

Posted 05 September 2017 - 07:38 PM

I suppose acknowledging the problem is a good start. The pomodoro idea is a good one, and if it's helping then you should probably stick with it.
Next thing, I suppose would be to have a plan of attack. If you're going to spend four hours working on homework, that's eight 25-minute sessions. I suggest you try coming up with eight things that you think amount to a 25-minute session each. When you sit down to work, spend 25 minutes on the first thing, and then stop. If you finish it, check it off. If not, then give it another 25 minutes. If you don't finish it in the second sprint, then set it aside, you'll come back to it later. Move on to the next thing on the list.

When you've finished, leave yourself a little time for a retrospective. Look at the things you finished - did they fit into the 25-minute session? If so, great - that's good planning. Call that a "small task". If not, then look at that item and call it a "medium task". Take a minute or two to think about what you could have done to turn that medium into a small, and how you could have recognized that it's bigger than 25 minutes. Then if you have anything that didn't get knocked out, call that a "whopper". We don't know how big it is yet because you didn't finish it yet, but it's bigger than medium. While it's on your mind, make some notes about what made it a whopper - where did you get stuck? What did you not anticipate? - and then see if you can rewrite what remains of that task as a set of small tasks. If you have trouble getting it down to small tasks, then see if you can get it to small and medium ones

Now go take a break. Get a sandwich or take a walk or do whatever it is you do that isn't studying, and do it for at least an hour, somewhere that isn't in the room where you were working.

The next time you come back to studying, whether it's later that day or the next day or whenever, take any tasks that are still on your plate from the previous session, decide which of them are still important, and line those up for your next session. If there's time that you haven't allocated, then write some new tasks to fill up that time, and repeat.

Give this a try for maybe a week. If it feels like it's helping, then keep doing it. If not, then it's not for you and you should modify the process or try something else.

NOTE:
1) You will not plan correctly at first. It's a lot harder than it sounds to come up with a chunk of work that fits tightly into a 25-minute block. Don't let this throw you. This is why you're going to give yourself a week to get better at it.
2) Usually you're going to be too optimistic, which means you're going to fail to meet the goals you set. This is normal. It takes a lot of practice to be realistic about work. The feedback loop is there to get you calibrated to your actual working pace.
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#4 ben255  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do I build better study habits / more discipline?

Posted 08 September 2017 - 08:51 AM

work a shit job for a few years, that will really light a fire :P
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