Here’s how to get shit done: Look at when you’re most productive and build systems to replicate it. It’s really that simple.
1. INNER VS OUTER ACCOUNTABILITY
Some people meet deadlines and pressure from outside systems. Others, usually more bohemian, (and definitely as teenagers) set their own expectations, and use that as a driving force for productivity.
Check what kinds of expectations motivate you; If you find yourself to be the kind of person that struggles to come up with their own projects and creations outside of assessments or the prospect of looking impressive to the cute guy that collects the rubbish, you probably rely on outside sources for accountability.
These types of people would be better of joining a sports team than vowing to go to the gym; you hate letting people down. Set up outside structures like emailing teachers or signing up for groups.
Inner accountability- When the binds of an assignment fill you with fury and hatred- figure out a way that you could make this your ‘own’. This is how I personally got through the HSC.
Personally, I’ve found that inner and outer have no blanket rule, but spray themselves around my life. You might have inner accountability when it comes to family stuff and outer when it comes to school.
2. GETTING SHIT DONE IS LIKE A SUPER SOAKER: HAVE A TARGET OR YOU'LL SPRAY EVERYWHERE
“Studying “ is a really broad term that might lead you to tinkering aimlessly across several pages for an indefinite amount of time.
If you break tasks down into their smallest possible components, you’ll have a very narrow area of focus to work on in any given study block
Check out the to-do-list thats been on my bedroom wall since I was fifteen:
Eat w/ loved ones.
So edgy and so, so vague. Guess why that list is still on my bedroom wall? There’s always more self to find and there’s always more laundry to do.
Outline which research, essay, equations etc. you’re going to tackle. And then focus. Be as specific as possible.
3. FOCUS IN SMALL BURSTS OF TIME.
The idea here, is that your brain can focus intensely for a little while, but eventually gets tired or bored. Setting a timer in small bursts is also known as the Pomodoro Technique – and it basically goes like this;
1. Decide the task you’re going to work on. (see point 2) and put your phone away or on airplane mode.
2. Set a timer on your phone (15 or 25 minutes are good starting blocks)
3. Work / focus until the timer goes off.
4. Set a shorter timer (5 -10 minutes)
5. Do whatever you want until the timer goes off, again.
6. Go back to step 2 and repeat. Note that it’s equally important that you honour your breaks as much as your study blocks.
4. DO THINGS IN SMALLER CHUNKS (OR BIGGER CHUNKS).
This one works with the other three:
Figure out how best you work. Personally, I like to have half-a-dozen small sessions in a day. I know people that would rather work like mad for two days straight then go AWOL.
Look at when you’re most productive and built systems to replicate it. It’s really that simple.