Mind Hacks

5 Tips to Study for Lesser Time and Get More Work Done

Mihir Patkar
Well, the research is in: marathon study sessions will not be as effective as focussed, short bursts of studying. The amount of time you spend studying does not determine how much work you do; your work is determined by the time you spend multiplied by the intensity of the focus.

Cal Newport, author of How To Become A Straight-A Student, interviewed several high-achievers for his book and found that many of them studied lesser than those they beat. Newport proposes a change in our thinking: work accomplished ≠ time spent studying work accomplished = time spent x intensity of focus

In the blog post, Newport shows with simple math how studying for 10 hours at a stretch would yield 32 units of work, as opposed to 38 units of work from studying for 2 hours on one day followed by two hours the next.

A straight-A student he interviewed used the term "pseudo-work" to describe the low-focus, time-intensive marathon style of work. "Pseudo-work feels like work. It's hard and time is being spent. But it's not really accomplishing much," says Newport.

So here are five tips to avoid pseudo-work, and get more done by studying for lesser time:

1) For every hour you study, take a 10 minute break.

2) Study for 3 hours at a stretch, including the 10-min break. Never more.

3) Live a healthy lifestyle by eating better, sleeping right and exercising to hone your focus.

4) Don't study at night, your focus degrades faster and it's harder to work in short bursts.

5) No distractions: switch off the TV, your cell phone and anything else.

The Straight-A Gospels: Pseudo-Work Does Not Equal Real Work | Study Hacks via 99u
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