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Monday, January 19, 2015

Screw Your Plan! You Don't Need It

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I had the perfect schedule all laid out. I was in college and I was set to go own my A+ rampage. I was getting good grades at the time but I wanted to crush them. My schedule started at 6 am. I'd get up. I'd workout. I'd eat. I'd shower. I'd study. Then class. Then more studying. Then another class. Then... more studying. I'm sure you get the point.

I was reading a book on time management and it inspired me to try and become a better student through being more organized with my time. It didn't take long before I realized how stupid my plan actually was. Within a week I wanted to quit school and join the circus.

That's what a schedule can do to you. (Everything except possibly the circus part. I'm weird.) A schedule seems like a wonderful thing in theory but it takes a special kind of person to actually put it into action consistently. I've talked with tons of students that had similar experiences to me. When you make an exact plan for what you need to do, you're just setting yourself up to fail.

You are not a study machine. You can't just insert a schedule of hole punched cards in your mouth and program your actions. (If you understand that joke then you win some geek cred.) You can't program yourself into doing things you want to do. Even if you could, it probably wouldn't be better than the alternative. What's the alternative?

Passion Is The Plan

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This may be something you can't understand right now. If you've never experienced it then it can seem a bit unbelievable but after a few years of practice, it comes together. There are times in the day that I'm  dying to get studying. I'm serious. My brain is pumping with every focus hormone in the world and I'm thinking, stimulate me! (No that's not a sexual reference. No matter how much it sounds like it. I use that kind of a reference because it's eerily similar.)

Your brain knows what it wants better than you do. Despite what you may be told, you're brain isn't naturally lazy. It takes years of training to make your brain that way. When you work to stimulate your brain, it can break free of that natural stagnation. Eventually, when you break off some of the brain rust, you can get it running naturally again. What's your brain running naturally?

Your brain wants to think. It's designed for it. It wants to soak up all the information required for it's survival. Once you start getting that survival instinct kicking, you may even start to want to study. (It will likely start with studying subjects completely unrelated to school. It's an urge you want to cultivate from there.)

Your brain won't always want to study but eventually your brain will tell you that it's time to start thinking. When your brain tells you it's time to study, hours of scheduled studying would mean nothing compared to 10 minutes of passionate studying.

Sure, scheduled studying may sometimes be a necessity but so much more is possible when you get passionate.

Schedule Of Passion

As much as anyone would love it to, passion doesn't happen to come on a schedule. It's impossible to predict the dates and times that you're going to feel passionate about studying. That means, you cannot count on scheduling to set up the best study periods of your life. They need to come naturally.

I believe a study time scheduled daily is helpful for studying in school for two reasons.

First of all, it takes time to break the bad study habits that hamper most students. Most students have effectively trained themselves to hate studying. (Who can blame them with the way the school tries to educate them?) That means the method of getting a student to study efficiently has to change. The first thing that needs to be changed is that hatred for studying. That can't changed without consistent and non-miserable study sessions (short, regularly scheduled, and not too stressful.) To get into my specific prescription, check out the archives of this blog.

Second, you can't count on passion when you have class tomorrow morning. You sometimes need to take it into your own hands. Eventually, with practice the schedule gains the same advantages as I'm about to discuss. It just takes time to work out the skill.

As you begin to hate studying less and less, you'll get more and more moments that you actually want to study. At first you may only feel the urge to study once a month. Over time though, you'll find that urge can come as often as daily.

Breaking The Plan...

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One of the worst things you can do for the efficiency of your studying is making a ridiculous plan. Sure, it can make sense to plan a half hour a day but you need to be unbelievably careful every time you do.

Plans don't work because your brain doesn't work that way. The things that you’re passionate about get your attention whether you want them to or not. There is no magic button you can press to get into the zone studying. It's much better to just be ready whenever you find the inspiration.

The worst part about these ridiculous plans is that they interrupt your ability to study in the future. One week of excessive or boring studying can completely change the way your brain works while studying. The brain needs to be focused to work well. When you force it through miserable study sessions, you won't be able to focus. When you don't focus, you make your brain think it's acceptable to not focus while studying. It all just stacks itself up into the impossible wall of studying that most students never break through.

Do you want to know how to let your brain do the studying without the stress? That's what this blog is all about. Be sure to follow and check out the archives for all the details. Oh... And if you have a kindle, make sure you give the ebooks a look too.

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

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