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Monday, October 13, 2014

How To Stop Studying Too Much

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If you're reading this and thinking, “studying too much? is this guy crazy? No one studies too much! People don't study enough,” then you're probably not going to get too much from this article. Now, this article is awesome (I would know. I wrote it,) but it's kind of like giving a medical student the ability to write prescriptions for Adderall. It's asking for trouble.

If you're not a regular reader of this blog then I recommend you start with one of these more introductory articles:

That being said, if you're wild and crazy enough, well, smart enough, too have started implementing some of efficiency focused study strategies, then this article is for you.

When teaching people these study strategies, I find that the most common problem they have is the problem I suffered through at first too. After years of studying long hours for tests, it's hard to get comfortable not spending those hours studying. It's very likely that you'll feel like you're slacking off and that you might even fail because of that “slacking.”

This feeling alone is a problem.

Extra stress will increase the chances that you will end up failing your test. Stress is one of the most important things you're trying to eliminate when you eliminate excess studying. If you're going to stress out about it (consistently), you might as well just be studying.

It gets even worse though. That stress can lead you to start to study at the last minute to try and save yourself. That study time will be virtually useless because it will be rushed and highly stressed studying. When you screw up the test, you're going to be thinking, “OH NO!! WHY WAS I STUPID ENOUGH TO NOT STUDY FOR HOURS!” That will just help you bury yourself deeper into your ineffective study habits.

If you're trying to reduce your studying to improve your grades you need to be able to break your habit fast.

Remember Efficiency

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This is something you already know but it's something you're going to need to remind yourself every time you cut your studying short.

How much you work isn't what's important. The important part is the results you get. You can be the hardest working person in the world but that won't help you succeed if you don't have the right tools.

Efficiency is what you're really looking for. Imagine the difference between mowing a lawn with a lawn mower or a pair of scissors. No matter how hard the person with the scissors works, they're still going to find it impossible to keep up with the lawn mower. Don't be the guy with the pair of scissors trying to mow his lawn. (For some reason, I picture him like he works at a beauty salon with a comb in his hand. I bet he speaks with an accent too.)

Screw working hard! Working hard is easy. Anyone can do it. It has its place but school is where you're supposed to be becoming intelligent. Studying less increases your efficiency. Study after study has shown this. Once you get your planned out minimalist style study session finished. Close the textbook.

Discipline Through Entertainment

It can be tough to close the textbook when you have a history of studying way too much. But this is where you can have a little bit of fun with it. If you get the urge to study when you're not supposed to be studying, get disciplined and have some fun.

When you're first getting into the habit of reducing studying, don't reduce studying just so you can be more productive. For example, don't give up study time to put in extra hours at work or in the gym. After you get in the habit you can increase your productivity but while you're first developing the habit just have fun.

Find an interest other than studying to focus your time on. If you enjoy videogames, play videogames. If you enjoy watching hungarian dance videos, watch hungarian dance videos. If you like trying to bake your own Cheese puffs, well, good luck to you and don't start a fire. Use the things you enjoy to do to help you escape your bad study habits.

Track Everything

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I know that you're scared and I can't blame you. As I started to reduce my studying, I was convinced my grades would drop too. I was watching them and waiting but it never came. In fact, the opposite happened.

If you're worried then take comfort in tracking everything you score before and after you change your study strategies. Instead of looking at this like the end or beginning of your good grades, look at it like an experiment. At the very least, you're going to learn more about the way you study than at any other point in your life. This is going to allow you to maximize your grades in the future, whether you choose to follow through with the reduced study time or not.

As long as you're keeping track of your grades, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. If you see your grades slip below your comfort zone, you can always stop. That being said, I recommend you allow yourself a few point range to get used to it. I, personally, didn't see any negative change but I wouldn't count on it for the first couple weeks.

The best part about studying less is that over time, your grades will continue to improve. Many of the advantages of studying less don't come from the first couple sessions. They come after you start to adapt to studying for less time. The more you're able to intensify your sessions, the faster you'll be able to learn everything.

So, I know you want to pick up that textbook and try to improve your grade but it's the wrong thing to do. Every time you surrender to that temptation you set your brains adaptation time back even farther. It's just going to make your life harder in the long run.

If you're still struggling to get in the zone then you might need to check this article out:

Don't you want to know the way that lazy looking guy with straight A's gets his studying done? Well, you've stumbled into the right place. Check out some of the other articles on this site. Maybe even pick up one of my books.

Do you want to learn the secrets about studying that the mainstream educators wont tell you? Follow this blog.

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