Question: When making goals, do you make them so that you can accomplish them or so you challenge yourself? And if you accomplish the goals you set for yourself do you do more? When is it a good time to stop? I feel like you can always try your absolute best by pushing yourself, but to the point of burning out is bad, so where is this point at?
Rishabh Jain — Head of Product & Head of Chemistry
Set your most important tasks (MITs)
Figure out the MITs that you need to complete each day, and a few bonus tasks on top that you can push yourself to complete if you have the time and energy. That gives you some variability to stretch yourself if you are having a good day, and a baseline if you are not.
Check in with yourself
Constantly ask yourself how you are feeling and reflect on your emotions. Do you have the capacity to sit down and get work done?
Separate motivation from burnout
Sometimes we feel unmotivated but can still do work if we sit down and dig into it. Other times we may feel terrible and need a break - in those times pushing yourself may not be the right option. I haven’t yet found a formula or rule to decide when to push myself or when to take a break. Where possible I try to push myself, but when I can feel I am getting very tired or exhausted, I back off and take a break.
Be proactive, not just reactive
Actively schedule in breaks between study, rewards at the end of the day, enough sleep etc. so that you can keep studying sustainably and reduce the chances of burn out.
Hayley Yong — Chemistry Tutor
Have various types of goals
Something to think about is having a variety of goals. For me, I find that having some easy (but important) goals mixed in with some harder goals allows me to actually start tackling the to-do list and ultimately get more stuff done. It’s really finding what works for you, but only ever setting hard to achieve goals, or only setting easy goals could lead to you not reaching your full potential. I think mixing it up can give you that feeling of getting things done AND have things to push you too. (You gotta be careful not to fall into the trap of only attempting the “easy” goals!)
Remember to reward yourself
For the second bit on accomplishing what you set out to do, first things first, give yourself a pat on the back! Celebrate the small wins my friend. It sorta depends on the day, but don’t necessarily add stuff on just cause you finished everything. Instead, consider taking the chance to have some rest, and reevaluate the goals that you set in terms of their length/ difficulty. Use it as a type of feedback to evaluate your goal setting so you can get closer to finding that balance!
Saf Basha — Co-Founder & Director
Taking your progress further
Take a leaf out of many Kickstarter projects - they have a Funding goal, but if they hit that, they’ve also got Stretch goals. These are goals that are there to push/incentivise you once the Funding goal has already been hit. In the context of studying, this might mean that you have a ‘realistic’ goal to do X in 40 minutes, but then should you accomplish it before the 40 minutes is up, you might have a ‘stretch’ goal to accomplish. For example, your goal might be to complete the intro to your essay in 45 minutes, but in the case where you get off to a good start, your stretch goal might be to write both the intro and the first two paragraphs. This way, you have realistic/reasonable goals, but you also have aspirational goals if you’re in the zone and need to push yourself more.