Get Your Homework Done

See Section 4 on mitigating the stress of getting stuck on the homework problems themselves., take advantage of site and app blockers like Cold Turkey to literally eliminate the option of checking, browsing, updating, or posting.

Some great additional resources on reducing internet time-wasting from Thomas Frank over at College Info Geek.

Remember, not only do distractions take time directly away from your homework, they also impart a “task switching penalty” (e.g.

research from Carnegie Mellon found frequent interruptions make you 20% dumber) which significantly depletes willpower.

Ask yourself this: Eat something 5-10 minutes before starting your homework session.

Pound ~20oz of water with it, and now you’ve eliminated the “hunger” excuse.No excuses to get up to go search for your notebook, only to find yourself in an impromptu Greco-Roman-style wrestling match with your roommate.However, just being organized doesn’t quite get us there – it’s also worth our while to actively seek out and eliminate potential distractions.the library, in class, at home, when you’re sleepy, etc.).So after you get your homework space set up, you may want to work in a few study sessions in some alternate locations as well.Well, good news: it’s not just you, and there are ways around it.Studies from University of Illinois and Cornell University show that extended periods of work ( 50 minutes) degrade cognitive performance, and that short breaks (10-15 minutes) can renew attention and improve performance.At some point during that day, listening to lectures, taking notes, reading textbooks, responding to emails – all of that input starts to get progressively ignored by the brain. Take a 15-minute “unplug” break prior to starting your homework. To extend this concept further, also plan on working intermittent breaks into your homework sessions.Options: (1) Use the Pomodoro Technique, and work in cycles of 25 minutes on/5 minutes off. (2) Use the “Rule of 52 and 17” (measured by the Draugiem Group as the optimal schedule of their 10% most productive employees), which is similar to the Pomodoro regimen, but extends the work window to 52 minutes, which may be more conducive to long, involved homework problems.Implement this and you’ll cut hours off your homework time each night, while unknowingly “studying” for your exams at the same time. Then, get your environment set up to maximize efficiency (reduce the amount of time it takes to get started) and minimize distractions (and preserve focus and willpower). And if that time doesn’t get allocated ahead of time, it’s quite easy to brush off a few hours of homeowork problems to the next day, and the next, and the next. But having a starting point to work from is a huge step up from just flying by the seat of your pants. (2) A dis-organized study environment will increase the “distraction load” your brain has to work around (e.g.Here’s our process: First make sure you have consistent time blocked off for homework, and a specific goal for what needs to be accomplished. Third, prime yourself for work by taking a few simple steps to give your body and brain a “reset” (and recharge your focus muscle) before jumping into battle. Or if you do end up sitting down to work, that time gets contaminated by distractions like friends, eating, and fatigue if you’re not consistent about where and when it needs to happen. Simply put: take some time (right now would be good) to block off an hour or two each day for homework in your schedule. “Ooh forgot about that – lemme just check my email real quick”), which drains willpower (a.k.a. As we covered in Section 1, willpower is critical when it comes to staying focused, and powering through difficult work (a.k.a. And this turns out to be a key aspect of how to focus on studying as well, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise.


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