At the start of the year, I made a set of academic goals that I wanted to achieve next year. I composed them primarily by looking at what I wanted to do better than last year. One of my goals was to start and finish work and studying earlier than required. I thought it would stress me out less, increase my marks, and give me more flexiblity if I need to go out the night before a major test, etc.
After two weeks of trying to implement this habit, I realized that it wasn’t working out as I had expected. What I had previously thought would make me less stressed, more flexible, and bring higher marks was doing the exact opposite. I felt more stressed, and less flexible for only not much more reward. How could this happen?
Cal Newport posted a comment on my article about 4 Reasons Why People’s Study Systems Fail, saying that he believes a major reason is that people add more work, instead of studying smarter and reducing work. It occured to me as I read his comment that that was exactly what I had been doing for the previous weeks! After all I have talked about studying smarter and saving time, I easily fell into one of these traps. Luckily I realized this, and I am able to re-focus my goals.
Moral of this story? First, feedback from other people is a wonderful thing. Second, you never know how well you are doing something until you try doing it the other way.