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Study Basics


The pseudo-worker looks and feels like someone who is working hard – he or she spends a long time in the library and is not afraid to push on late into the night, but because of lack of focus and concentration, doesn’t accomplish much. By placing themselves in distracting environments and insisting on working in long tedious stretches, these students are crippling their brain’s ability to think clearly. The result is fatigue, headaches, and lacklustre outcomes. Students should understand this simple equation:

Work Accomplished:

Time Spent*Intensity of Work

Pseudo-work features a very low intensity of focus. Therefore, to accomplish something by pseudo-working, you need to spend a lot of time. Straight A students replace long, low-intensity stretches of work with a small number of short, high-intensity sessions . Students will also need to spread out the intense work sessions so that you have time in between to recharge. To obtain the highest possible levels of intensity, students should choose optimal:

  • Locations
  • Times of day


With the right strategies in place, you can rid yourself of the fear that you’ll always give in to that urge to procrastinate. TLP has five battle strategies to help you fight it.
Keep a work progress journal:
Your ego is a powerful force. We procrastinate, but we don’t want to admit to ourselves that we procrastinate. As a result, we make excuses to ourselves to avoid the truth. It works as follows:
Buy a cheap notebook (or diary) and keep it near your calendar. Each morning, when you work out your schedule for the day, quickly jot down in the notebook the date and the most important tasks that you are scheduled to get done
At the end of the day, if you’ve completed all these tasks, simply jot down all completed. If you fail to complete some tasks, record these, along with a quick explanation. Having to record, in ink, on paper, that you procrastinated over a task for no good reason is a powerful blow to your ego. It is easy to tell yourself weak excuses but writing them down exposes their foolishness and stops you getting away with lame rationalisations.


Having deadlines and obligations floating around in your mind is exhausting – it makes it impossible to completely relax, and, over time can lead you down the path of burnout.
TLP’s lifestyle requires a dairy (or calendar) and a list, and meets the following criteria:
Requires no more than 5-10 minutes of effort in a single 24-hour period
Doesn’t force an unchangeable minute-by-minute schedule on your day
Helps you remember, plan, and complete important tasks before the very last moment
Can be quickly restarted after periods of neglect

(1) The basic idea: record all if your to-dos and deadlines on your calendar. This becomes your master schedule, the one place that stores everything you need to do. The system works as follows:
Jot down new tasks/assignments on your list during the day
Next morning, transfer these new items from your list onto your calendar; and
Then take a couple of minutes to plan your day

(2) Tips and tricks when updating your calendar and managing your day include:
Writing down today’s schedule and ‘Things to Remember/Complete’
When you don’t finish some of the things to do shift them to tomorrow with all the other new things you jotted down during the day
Try to label each of your to-dos for the day with a specific time frame during which you are going to complete it
Group many little tasks (errands that require less than 10 minutes)

Remember, the goal here is not to squeeze everything into one day at all costs, but rather to find out how many of the tasks listed for the day you have time to accomplish.
(3) The main reason students should break down their to-dos into time slots is to help them avoid the common mistake of overestimating one’s free time. If you overestimate your free time, then you are more likely to put off work until it’s too late – procrastination.
During the day you will probably encounter new to-dos and deadlines that need to be scheduled – jot them down as quickly as possible. This is because to-dos/deadlines that exist only in your mind drain your energy, create stress, and are more likely to be forgotten.
(4) Restarting after a period of neglect is difficult. Don’t fear these occasions (which most likely occur after exam periods), and don’t let them make you feel like you’re a failure. They’re normal.
Once you have learned the power of feeling organised, you will have a hard time going long periods without it.

Feed the machine:

Low energy breeds procrastination. Think of your brain as a machine. If you want to defeat procrastination, you need to provide it with the energy to concentrate and win the fight.
Tips to maximising mental energy are simple:
Drink water constantly. Hydration increases your energy, masks boredom-induced food cravings and staves off sleepiness.
Monitor your caffeine intake carefully. Don’t drink more than one large, caffeinated beverage in any one-hour period.
Treat food as a source of energy, not satisfaction (when studying). Carefully choose snacks that promise a long-term energy boost.
Don’t skip meals. Snacks alone are not enough to fuel your mind for long periods of time

Make an event out of the world tasks:

Some tasks are so horrible that even just the thought of beginning them can send chills down your spine. Thus, when studying for something you don’t enjoy, make an event out of it:
Find a new/novel spot to study for this specific task
Choose a location that takes a while to reach by foot, so you won’t be tempted to leave right away
The more people who know about your quest, the harder it will be for you to cancel it

Build a routine:

Once you’ve identified protected hours that are always free during the week, use them to do the same work each week until the task is completed.

Choose your hard days:

Plan hard days in advance; don’t wait until the deadlines are so close that you have no choice but to buckle down. Instead, scout out one or two days to pre-emptively designate as hard. By choosing them ahead of time, you can space them out so that you never have two hard days in a row, and you won’t be caught off guard by the burst of intensity and stress.
Try to plan relaxing, non-academic activities immediately before and after these days to ease their impact.
By proactively scheduling hard days on a regular basis, you reduce their negative impact.
When you are forced into an all-day work marathon against your wishes, you feel drained and abused. If that same day has been planned and hyped for the past week, you’ll come away feeling invigorated.


Answer: Early. You’re most effective between when you wake up and when you eat dinner; you should accomplish as much as possible during this time.
Night time is not the best
because: Night time is not as long as you think
Night time is not as free as you think
Night time is when your body begins to wind down

Answer: In isolation – it shields you from distraction. Identify several isolated study spots and rotate through these hidden locations when you study. You need multiple locations for two reasons:
As you move through your day, squeezing in study sessions, it’s nice to always know of a nearby study spot
Changing locations prevents you from burning out at any one place

Answer: No more than one hour at a time without a break. Your break only needs to be 5-10 minutes, but it’s important that you take an intellectual breather during this period.
This means you should find something you can concentrate on, for just a few minutes, which has nothing to do with the work you were completing right before the break.
This disengagement helps refresh your mind and facilitates the process of finding new angels and insights when you begin to work again. Even when you feel like you are on a roll, keep taking regular breaks.

    1. Manage your Time in Five Minutes a Day:
  • Jot down to-dos and deadlines on a list whenever they arise
  • Transfer these to-dos and deadlines to your calendar every morning
  • Plan your day each morning by labelling your to-dos with realistic time frames and moving what you don’t have time for to different dates
    2. Declare War on Procrastination:
  • Keep a work progress journal, and every day record what you wanted to accomplish and whether you succeeded
  • When working, eat healthy snacks to maximise your energy
  • Transform horrible tasks into a big event to help you gather the energy to start
  • Build work routines to make steady progress on your obligations without expending too much of your limited motivational resources
  • Choose your hard days in advance to minimise their impact
    3. Choose When, Where, and How Long:
  • Try to fit as much work as possible into the morning and afternoon, between classes and obligations
  • Study in isolated locations
  • Take a break every hour