Staying Productive Under Pressure -29 Aug 2021
The deadline for the dissertation I’ve been working on for the whole summer is closing. I can’t say I studied during all this time and I left many things to the last minute. But, I managed to get things sorted out and now I am feeling confident about completing my work.
As I wrote for the last two weeks, two things helped me to succeed in this process: (i) stopping being anxious about the near future and (ii) focusing on what I am working on. Obviously, these are easier to said than done. I needed to re-think about how and when I can study more efficiently and how I can clear my mind so that I don’t get distracted. Here, a few tactics that I’ve used throughout this week.
Finding the hours that I am most efficient 💯
I’ve always known that I am a morning person. I used to and still do like waking up early and even watching the sunrise. However, with the increasing usage of tech devices, like many of you, I couldn’t resist watching Netflix or scrolling on Twitter. The blue screen light that I am exposed to made me go to bed later. Given that I have been a student for the last year, I didn’t need to get up early and prevent myself from getting 8-hours of sleep. Eventually, I missed the early hours of the day.
That’s why I’ve recently decided to get up before 8 AM and be ready for the day by 9 AM. The sooner the better. I’ve usually started the day with a high-protein breakfast, doing some exercise and having coffee later on. By 1 PM, I usually got to have completed 3-hours of deep and uninterrupted work. With the feeling of having progress, I could easily study 3 more hours during the rest of the day. I’ve successfully continued this and it turned into a routine. I even did not study in the evenings and leave them for relaxing. But as an important reminder, I’ve significantly reduced blue light exposure after sunset so that I could go to bed around 11 PM.
Having said this, the hours that someone is feeling most efficient may vary and depend on many other factors. I know that I am a morning person and I took benefit from the early hours of the day.
Staying Away From Short Content Consumption 🏄🏼♂️
Until the last three weeks, I have been almost addict to content consumption, especially short ones like twits, posts or videos. These are making an effect on my brain similar to what eating junk food does the human body. The less the better. I deleted the social media apps from my phone and decided not to scroll on my computer (I logged in only to reply to some messages, to be honest). I also stopped following daily news.
The result was definitely visible. I didn’t feel the bombardment of information or emotions. I felt more relaxed and clear. It was seriously like quitting smoking or changing diet. I understood that my mind got stimulated every time it consumed content. The shorter the duration of content, it gets much more stimulation. But, this is weakening its ability to focus on lengthy pieces. Even before I tried this, I had realised that I am getting bored of everything regardless of how fun or interesting are they. Reading a book or watching a movie without checking Instagram was almost impossible. It was only because my mind needed constant shift and different stimulation. The moment I stopped, it started healing.
Getting Bored Sometimes ♟️
In relation to the above points, I let myself get bored. In the intervals of my study sessions, I’ve done nothing. I did not take my phone or search for something that just popped into my mind. I’ve only walked or sit somewhere and watched people on the streets.
Secondly, I’ve meditated every single day even only for 10 min. I am regarding this as a muscle-building exercise. I am training my mind to focus only one thing at a time but also noticing how my brain works when I leave it on its own. Although I am a complete beginner, I am feeling a positive impact on myself. I managed to extend study sessions and getting bored has not been a big deal for me.
I am not sure I can continue all the time using these tricks but I know that they are helpful for me. I hope they can help you too.
Some good quality inputs of this week
📖 Make time. A great simple book about productivity. It has tons of different tricks and gives the reader a great perspective. Strongly recommended.
📻 Joe Rogan Experience #1309 — Naval Ravikant — An amazing conversation with so many inspirational highlights.
📻 Productivity Expert — How To Finally Stay Productive — Ali Abdaal | E93 Ali Abdaal is a real master of productivity and he shares his valuable thoughts on many issues.