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June 20, 2011 9:24 AM   Subscribe

I recently finished a very rigorous school year. For the last month I was in class/lab/doing homework around 12-16 hours a day 7 days a week. I am looking for tips, anecdotes or exercises for keeping up a similar, though less crazy level of productivity now that I am not racing against the hard deadlines (homework and projects, tests, etc.)?

During school, most of my waking time was productive because I had no choice. If I fell behind, then all my effort was wasted. I wish to maintain that level of performance though I don't feel any desire to work quite as many hours a day.

What I am trying to do: I am working at a research job without set hours so I can work at pretty much whatever times of the day I choose. I am also beginning triathlon and ultra-marathon training. Furthermore, I wish to learn a new language this summer and learn different subjects from reading textbooks that I do not have time to take classes for.

All this would be a breeze at my school year pace. However, without the onslaught of homework and due dates, I am finding it harder to channel that productivity.

Currently, I am using HabitJudo which helps immensely with keeping track of all the little things I need to do throughout the day. However, this doesn't aid in creating the "mindset" I am looking for.

Thanks!
posted by mungaman to Work & Money (2 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
In some of Steve Pavlina's early blog posts he writes about how he graduated from college in three semesters or something like that. You may be able to adapt some of his tools and techniques to your current situation.
posted by zeek321 at 11:06 AM on June 20, 2011


If you need hard deadlines to keep pace, create them and appoint a taskmaster for your different areas (new language, triathalon, work, reading, etc.) To enforce those deadlines.

I sympathise - my most productive times in college (double major, finished in just over three years) were the quarters I took 21 credits and worked two jobs that averaged 40 hours a week. Staight A's. The 15 credit quarters where I worked 10 hours? B's and the occasional C. I found that when I had less time I was so much more focused and on-task and my coursework reflected that. Sounds like you're like me.

Now I'm 7 years out of college and I'm a high school teacher. My most productive year was when I signed up for 10 committees and had 3 different classes to teach. I did that intentionally - because people like us are like pick-up trucks: we need a full load or we can't drive straight. If your load isn't naturally heavy, make it heavy. Use the people around you to help push you to stay on target. If you can't find people search them out through the area in which you're interested. Make a study groups with other people who want to learn the same thing. Get running/swimming/biking buddies.

I guess the sum total of my advice (i.e. tl;dr) is this: don't go it alone. Your friends can help - they probably would appreciate being planned in to your busy schedule.
posted by guster4lovers at 11:22 AM on June 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


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