Here we are at part three, where I will explain why you need the oven timer!
We all claim to spend xyz hours studying, right? Now you are going to prove it to yourself. The rule of thumb is two hours of studying for every hour of class time. I don’t know many people who actually do that (I wrote about the two ladies I found this semester that do spend hours studying in an earlier blog), but that is the gold standard for good grades.
So, pull out your oven timer and get to work. When you sit down to read your homework or write a paper, set the timer for 45 minutes or an hour, depending on how long you can sit down without needing to “fluff your pillow.” Focus totally on your school work. If the phone rings, or the mail carrier knocks on the door, or a family member sits down to chat with you, turn off the timer. You are not studying.
When the distraction is gone and you are ready to get back to work, turn the timer back on. Log your actual study time on your academic calendar or a notebook. Keep track of how long you devote to your studies. Make a commitment to spend so many hours per day and so many hours per week studying and move heaven and earth to make that happen.
Every 45 minutes or hour, get up and walk around a bit. It will help get the blood flowing again and prevent you from falling asleep. If you can talk to your significant other or family about not interrupting your study time, that is a great idea. When I am writing, every interruption takes me about 20 minutes of concentrated effort to refocus my full attention on what I was doing. If you are the same way, even the slightest distraction can really drain your study time.
When I was writing my Ph.D. dissertation, I made a commitment to write two hours a day, five days a week. I also tried to write at least an hour on the two days that I took “off”- these were days that I was teaching face-to-face classes all day and then coming home to make dinner, do laundry, and go to choir practice. I had discipline and, as a result, finished writing a 400-page dissertation with 20 pages of references in 12 months. Some people take years to do the same thing. Dedication pays off. If I did it, you can do this homework thing as well!
I see this blog is getting a bit long-winded, so I will put your next steps on the next blog, which I will go ahead and write today. If you have any questions or comments, please use my name in your reply, so that I will know that you are not a robot.