Friday, March 23, 2012

Wasted Time

If your study time involves your phone, Facebook or Twitter, you will get less done because you will be distracted. Check out the chart that follows:
  The idea is that every study session involves a warm up period to get to the point where you are studying at peak productivity, but it also involves distractions that force us back into the warm-up period.   For every person it differs.  You do learn things during the warm up period, but just at a slower rate.  Every time you intentionally sit down to study with the purpose of limiting distractions you will get better.  In other words the more you study, the faster you will get to your peak level, reduce distractions and lengthen your peak levels. 

 All of this means more time in the study sweet spot where you are really learning at an amazing level.  The chart should show you that every time you are distracted you reset to zero and must refocus.  Haven’t you ever reread a line from a book over and over?  This is frustrating and distractions do this to you.  You need to limit distractions.  I would argue that little distractions are robbing you of precious study time.  So when you think you are studying for two hours, in reality that is not what is happening.  You need to subtract the lost time due to recovering from each of your distractions.  Your phone is a classic time thief, as is Facebook, Twitter and even your iPod.
Many people study with headphones to limit outside distractions, but more distractions are being induced if you are stopping to select a new song after each song concludes.  Deep practice is very exhausting, so be ready to get tired when you study deeply.  Having a tenacious spirit will help you to stay locked in. As a child of God you have access to this mental state through the Spirit (Psalm 51:10).

Finally, you need immediate feedback in order to grow quickly.  Look for real-time quizzing opportunities to check your level of learning.  The summary section of the Cornell note should be done afterwards as a way to self check whether you can reproduce the most important facts in your own words.  For those of you who are verbal learners, you will do well to explain the information to someone else.  This will allow you to see whether you really know the information.  Study groups fit this purpose well.