Our brain is built in such a way that it is more pleasant and comfortable when we eat good food or watch our favorite TV series, but when they try to load it with complicated tasks – it likes it much less, and it becomes defensive – for example, procrastinates or is constantly distracted. The good news is that you can negotiate with your brain. Here are some useful tips for more effective study.
What to Do if You Don’t Feel Like Studying Today
For example, mentally say to yourself, “I’ll finish college, find a job where I’ll grow up to be a mid level developer, and I’ll be able to work from anywhere in the world. Can you imagine how cool it would be to see spring in Paris? I’ll go to a coffee shop in the morning, order a coffee with a fresh crispy croissant, open my laptop and make a product that helps other people.” The key is to find a picture that resonates: “I’ll be able to provide for my parents, and they won’t have to work in their old age.” Or, “I will solve interesting problems that no one has solved before me.” This technique works because of two systems in the human psyche, written about by psychologist and Princeton University professor Daniel Kahneman.
The first allows you to react instantly. These are emotions, impulses, instincts and intuition, and can be called the Feeling Brain. The second allocates attention, calculates, plans, analyzes, evaluates. It can be called the Thinking Brain. When we carefully make a shopping list for the week, the Thinking Brain aworks. When we suddenly decide to treat ourselves to chocolate cake in the store, the Feeling Brain is at work. In fact, it is the Feeling brain that makes the decisions, while the Thinking brain only plans how best to carry them out. That is why we often find ourselves in a situation where our mind understands what we should do, but we cannot do anything – we do not want to.
The sensing brain likes everything new and unusual. When it faces routine, it looks for something more interesting to do: listen to a podcast, stick to Tiktok, watch a new season of your favorite TV series. The good news is that you can negotiate with him. Since he is responsible for emotions, he needs to talk to him in the language he understands – the language of emotions. You don’t have to give rational arguments why you should sit down and study – it doesn’t help. You need to focus on feelings – what kind of feelings does the thought of training arouse? And then imagine how good you’ll feel when it’s done.
What to Do if You Have so Many Tasks That You Don’t Have Time for Anything
Often it happens so – you go through the theory, decide to understand something more, go to Google, accidentally see an interesting piece of news and wake up half an hour later. A few such distractions and the day is over.
This happens when there is no buffer between a new task and its completion. To create one, Mark Forster recommends a principle called “Magnana. It sounds quite simple: you need to make a list of things to do tomorrow and try to accomplish them completely.
The devil is in the details:
- There must be exactly enough to do to complete them all.
- During the day, you cannot add new things to the list: only tomorrow’s list.
- If a super-important thing comes up, you should do it immediately or postpone it to the end of the day.
Forrester advises to start a new day with an analysis – what things could not be done and why. Suddenly, during the day there were too many urgent matters? What can you do to reduce their number? And so on. At first, planning the day will be difficult, but then it will become clearer how many tasks you can fit into the day.
What to Do if Tasks Are Constantly Put off “for Later”
If the same thing is put off “for tomorrow” too often, it is probably necessary to formulate the task more precisely, suggested Tim Urban, the author of advice on combating procrastination.
Unspecific tasks suppress the will: when we see something like “Learn to program,” we do not want to get into it, and instead we either switch to smaller tasks or procrastinate.
The solution is simple – any unspecific task should be broken down into smaller tasks and specify a deadline for them. For example, instead of “learn to bet at the 22Bet sportsbook”:
- See what sports betting languages exist, what types of bets are there.
- Choose a particular sports event, find tutorials, and start learning strategies.
- Find the tree of skills you need and create a plan to learn them.
Still sounds complicated? Then it’s worth breaking the tasks down into even smaller tasks until each one fits into a small “brick” that takes 15-45 minutes of time. Such tasks are easier to fit into your daily schedule, and completing them will give you a sense of satisfaction (which is good for motivation) and allow you to visualize your progress.
What to Do When You Forget What You’ve Learned
You can borrow a technique from Scrum, one of the popular methods of work organization used by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Adobe and other companies.
In general terms, Scrum looks like this: developers look at a to-do list and choose tasks to do in the next two weeks – this segment is called the sprint.
When the sprint begins, each morning the team begins by analyzing what was done the day before. This allows you to assess the deadline – whether or not you can get everything done.
What to Do if You Spend an Inordinate Amount of Time Studying
The fact is that when the brain is not focused on a subject or task, the brain’s passive-mode network is activated. According to Shrini Pillay, M.D., it is responsible for:
- Filtering out distractions (and helping to keep attention better focused).
- For connecting the past, present and future – giving answers to the questions “who am I?” and “what do I want?”
- For developing associative thinking.
- For combining disparate information about objects and the manifestation of vague memories.
Switching gears is also important to keep your cognitive rhythm high. When the brain is constantly focused on the same type of tasks that require tension and focus, the cognitive rhythm drops and the brain begins to think less well.
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