Question: How long do you guys study for and how do you stay focused? Any suggestions on the techniques that have helped you?
🧘🏽 Getting into the zone
Flow as a state of mind is incredible — everything else but the thing you’re working on disappears and all the neurons in your brain are firing in a wonderful symphony and you don’t notice time flying by as you get shit done. Hands down if you have the choice between flow and something else, choose flow. If you’re in the zone, stopping at the 25-minute mark (I think) is a terrible idea, unless you’re on a strict schedule and you have to move on to another task. Most of the time it takes at least 20 minutes to get in to flow! Except flow isn’t always easy to achieve! In fact sometimes it’s super hard 😩 It’ll depend on your energy levels, distractions around you, the task at hand, your mental state, etc.
🔥 Motivating yourself
For those times when I am finding it tough to start doing work (again, either because of energy, mental state, distractions, disliking the subject etc.) I subscribe to the concept of “anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly.” At first, this seems unintuitive, but it’s infinitely better to do a few stretches as exercise if working out for an hour seems impossible. It’s better to eat instant noodles than to skip my meal entirely. In the same way, for me, it can be much easier to commit to doing that task I’ve been putting off if I only have to do it for 25 minutes. I challenge myself to see how much progress I can make on that task in 25 minutes. It’s the same as watching an episode of TV, I tell myself. Anything to just get started. And more often than not, I end up starting and going for longer than the 25 minutes I had assigned myself, and sometimes end up in flow!
👊 Breaking the technique down
Now, the actual Pomodoro Technique is based more on the idea of having that sense of urgency. You ONLY have 25 minutes to do this task, so you gotta make as much progress as you can in that time. Take a 5-minute break and then go again! It’s a good way to force yourself to focus because you’ll feel bad if 25 minutes goes by and you have nothing to show for it because you got distracted by your phone. It’s definitely the right methodology for lots of people, so you should definitely give it a go and see if it works for you. (written by Saf Basha — Co-Founder & Director)
😴 Study technique for beating laziness
What worked for me during the HSC was:
When I was finding it really tough to motivate myself to study and kept procrastinating, I used the “5-Minute Rule”. The idea is that I will do this “torturing” task for 5 minutes, then evaluate if I want to keep doing it or not. Since starting a task is often the hardest part, successfully getting the task started meant I’d more likely than not have the motivation to get the task finished.
This hack usually transitions well to my next suggestion:
I’ve used the 25min-5 min Pomodoro technique a lot for studying. It allows me to take a break if I’m super tired of studying by the end of one session. Over time, I have swapped to using the 50min-10min version of Pomodoro because I hated stopping whilst I was 25 minutes into the middle of a task. Here’s a YouTube channel I loved studying along with: TheStrive Studies (written by Leticia Liao — Chemistry Tutor & Marketing Content Creator)