Study Habits - Cynthia L B McQueen

by Cindy
(Auburndale, FL)

I study best in an indoor, quiet atmosphere. I tend to get distracted easily by what's going on around me until I really get into the subject matter, and then I can tune out just about everything.

I'm not a morning person, so afternoon/evening is usually the best time for me to study, but if I'm really interested in something, I will dive in first thing.

I typically have a "I have to do this right away" way of thinking on just about everything, which can often get me into trouble if I have too many things on my plate.

My need to get it done right away can overwhelm me under these circumstances.

My motivation is two-fold. My need to get things off my plate is a great motivator to "just do it". In addition, I love to learn and I love to write.

* * *

Thanks for your contribution, Cindy...

I was particularly interested to read what you mention about having to do things right away and how it often leads you into trouble.

This is not uncommon in conscientious-minded people -- nor is the consequence that you refer to.

One solution is to get into the habit of creating a buffer between the time you get the task and the time you do it (unless, of course, the task genuinely needs doing the same day).

Putting a task off means you are scheduling your response it rather than reacting to it (which inevitably means everything else gets dropped).

So when should you schedule an incoming task for?

Ideally, the day after you get it.

For example...

  • A friend emails you asking you to support a charity event that she is organizing. The event is six months away.
  • Put ‘reply to (your friend)’ in your daily planner under Wednesday’s date.

  • Reply to your friend.

Obviously this system isn’t necessary if the task takes less time to do than it does to write down! And, as I mentioned before, genuinely urgent responses can’t be put off either.

As a rule, though, doing things the following day works well because you know what you have to do -- you start each day with a finite list of tasks to tackle (i.e. those from yesterday).

At the end of your post you mention that getting things off your plate is a great motivator for getting things done.

If you are okay with this way of working, then “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.

If, however, reacting feels stressful, just try scheduling tasks for the following day. Give it a week and see what happens...

It can feel counter intuitive for a person who has always been a ‘reactor’, but it does work.

Once you develop the habit it makes life a heck of a lot simpler.

- Tim

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