How to Beat Procrastination: Master Self-Discipline and Productivity | Mike Elon | Skillshare

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How to Beat Procrastination: Master Self-Discipline and Productivity

teacher avatar Mike Elon, Study Coach and YouTuber

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

17 Lessons (1h 57m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. Essentialism

    • 3. The Perfect Day

    • 4. The Power of Three Rule

    • 5. Daily Habits

    • 6. Accountability

    • 7. The Performance Review

    • 8. The Perils of Pseudo Studying

    • 9. The Power Nap

    • 10. The Stimulation Equation

    • 11. Dynamic Studying

    • 12. The Optimized Study Space

    • 13. The Productivity Device

    • 14. The Power of the Word 'No'

    • 15. Procrastinate Productively

    • 16. The White Flag

    • 17. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Struggling with procrastination? Then you're in the right place! Learn how to beat procrastination and master self-discipline with ProjectElon founder Mike Elon.

With over 800,000 subscribers on his study advice YouTube channel, join Mike as he shares his most effective strategies to beat procrastination long-term.

He'll be going in-depth with real examples and stories of his own experiences, as well as using examples and stories from some of the thousands of students he has coached too.

Whether you’re a high school student, a mature post-graduate, or at the peak of your career, this class will give you the tools you need to decrease the number of hours you work while simultaneously improving your output - the very definition of working smart. This is what you'll learn:

  • How procrastination works (it's not what you think!)
  • Use your knowledge of how procrastination works to overcome it
  • Utilise advanced strategies to master self-discipline
  • How to significantly improve your productivity
  • Make your studying or work more fun and engaging
  • Eliminate your bad habits
  • Live with intention and purpose

After taking this class, you’ll have a powerful set of strategies to significantly reduce your levels of procrastination in a way that has you swimming with the tide rather than against it. Because beating procrastination doesn't have to be an onerous uphill battle - if you know what you're doing.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Mike Elon

Study Coach and YouTuber


Mike Elon is a study coach and YouTuber with over 800,000 subscribers on his study advice YouTube channel, ProjectElon.

He suffered with chronic procrastination throughout his entire high school journey and consequently graduated with a 1.3 GPA. As a result, he was rejected from 4 out of the 5 universities he applied for.

However that is when his inspiration was born. He turned this failure around and spent 5 years obsessed with how high-performance students become high-performance students. What are they doing differently?

5 years later, he was finally accepted into his first choice university and went on to graduate with a 4.0 GPA.

Throughout his journey, he realised that living an extraordinary life is all about the mindset.

See full profile

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1. Welcome: There are countless productivity courses out there, but very few are aimed specifically for students. I'm in a really unique position where firstly, I make videos for my studio advice YouTube channel Project Elon, that has hundreds of thousand subscribers. I really get a feel for the biggest bottlenecks that students are having when it comes to productivity. But not only that, for the last five years, I've been coaching countless students one on one to help them become more efficient and significantly increase their productivity when it comes to their studying. Because I get this with a lot of students that I coach when they first come to me. They often assume productivity means getting as much done as possible in one day, but actually productivity is about getting the important things done on a consistent basis. It's about maintaining a steady average speed on a few things, not maximizing speed on everything. In this course, I am not going to go through just generic productivity strategies because there are literally hundreds of strategies that you can implement into your life that can improve your productivity. But I'm going to pick out the most effective productivity strategies, hacks, daily habits, and tools, specifically for students. By the end of this course, I want you to be studying smarter by studying more efficiently. This will help you reduce the number of hours that you're studying and still improve your grades in the process. Everything in this course is focused on helping you do just that. I'm really happy that you've decided to take this class with me and I look forward to helping you firstly, save so much time by significantly improving your productivity when it comes to your studying, but also simultaneously boosting your grades. 2. Essentialism: People often assume that productivity means getting a lot of things done. The student who gets the most work done is the most productive. Well, not necessarily. Productivity is more about getting the things done that actually matter. Usually, in an academic setting, it's about getting the things done that will have the most significant positive effects on your overall grade, and that's where essentialism comes in. Essentialism is the disciplined pursuit of less, this idea that you don't need to be doing all the things you're doing. There are probably so many tasks you're doing in the day that you don't really need to do and that right there is the easiest way to becoming more productive, actually pursuing less. Because not doing something will always be faster than doing it, and is something that I've been thinking about quite a lot recently. I have so many things pulling me in different directions. I have YouTube videos to make, these courses to make, I have my website to write a blog post for, and that's on top of all the other things that I have going on outside of my work life. It was the same for me at university and I'm sure it's the same for you too. I had so many things pulling me in different directions, so I wanted to achieve good grades, but at the same time, I wanted to exercise, and I wanted to eat well, and I wanted to build up a strong network of friends around me, and I also wanted to make money on the side too with some business. The problem is that when you have so many things pulling you in different directions, you can either do them all at a mediocre level or you can choose one or two of them and really excel in those, and that's exactly what I chose to do. My main goal was to achieve a 4.0 GPA. That was my main goal above everything else. That was a big deal for me. I'd never achieved an A grade before in my entire life, literally, never. When I graduated from high school, I graduated with an equivalent of a D minus so aiming to graduate university with an A grade or 4.0 GPA, or a first-class honors degree, whichever grade system you use, I really needed to prioritize it above everything else. I really needed to channel as many resources as possible towards that goal as possible and focus on that one thing. I did have secondary goals though, such as going to the gym five days a week, working on my YouTube channel at least one hour a day, and things like that. But I would drop everything else in my life in order to prioritize my studying. I think that's really quite important because I see so many times where a student will have an exam the next day and they've not prepared well for it. But instead of studying for it that night, they go out to a party that night. It's really a very clear demonstration that their education is just not as high on their priority list. That's a macro level. First, you need to hone your focus on having just one main goal, maybe two main goals at a push, but that's usually the upper limit. You then might have one or two supporting goals. The main area of my life that I focused on was my academic performance. That was my absolute main priority, followed by exercise, and then my YouTube channel. After you've honed in your focus on a macro level, let's zoom in and look at the micro-level because this is equally important when it comes to productivity and getting things done. Being able to focus on the work in front of you for long periods of time is almost an art form, is something that you have to train yourself to be able to do. What I've realized probably only a few months ago is that when I'm working, I can work intensively for three hours. If I raise the focus for that three hours, I can get as much work done as I would working for six hours if I'm not focused. I can literally double my productivity provided that I hone in my focus on the task that I'm doing. How do you do that? How do you essentially double your productivity by just studying more intensely? There are a few things that have worked really well for me over the last few years and have worked really well for the students that I coach too. Shorter study sessions. Instead of studying for 8, 9, 10 hours a day, consider breaking up your studying into smaller chunks. For me, I've realized that three-hour study chunks are perfect. I can study three hours in the morning as soon as I wake up, then another three hours in the afternoon, and another three hours in the evening. It's still studying for nine hours a day, but it's just breaking them up into smaller, more manageable, bite-sized sessions. This ensures that I have breaks in between so I can eat, I can exercise, I can even take a nap. But then when another study session starts after having a good rest, I'm back at my desk studying at 100 percent focus. I used to study for all the day. I used to start studying at about 7:15 AM and finish at about 4:00 or 5:00 PM with breaks in between obviously and I treated it like a 9-5 job. But actually, what I'm doing now where I work in three-hour chunks spread out evenly throughout the day, it's a lot more effective for me. I do one three-hour chunk in the morning, one three-hour chunk in the afternoon, and another in the evening is just way more effectively because I can really work intensely for those three-hour sessions that for my productivity is significantly higher. Eliminate distractions. This one is fairly obvious. I'm not going to talk about it too much, but it really does make a difference. A lot of people underestimate just how many distractions prevent them from concentrating on their studying like phone notifications, background noise, family or friends distracting us, things like. Minimizing these sources of distractions isn't always easy, but there are some obvious things you can do like turning off the TV, putting your phone in another room. I usually put my phone behind my laptop screen so I can't actually see or hear it. Something else I've started doing is waking up super early. I'm waking up now at about 5:00 AM because as soon as I wake up, literally the first thing I do is go to my desk to get some work done, and I usually get a solid three hours of work done before anyone else in the house is awake. There are no distractions and I feel good because I've just had a super productive morning, so it sets a positive momentum for the rest of the day. Avoid multitasking. Another one that does seem relatively obvious, but many people feel like doing lots of things at once is a great way of getting a lot of things done, and it turns out that we're actually quite bad at multitasking. Juggling multiple tasks at once can dramatically cut down on productivity and makes it much harder to hone in on the details that are truly important. You can think of your attention as a spotlight. If you shine that spotlight on one specific area, you can see things very clearly. But if you spread that same amount of light across a large dark room, you might instead only see glimpses of shadowy outlines. You can significantly improve your productivity by giving your full attention to just one task at a time. State of flow. Entering in a state of flow is when you become fully immersed in an activity. If you think the last thing you were doing some work and you almost forgot what time it was because you were so focused on your work. You forgot that you needed to eat, you forgot that you needed to, I don't know, walk the dog, but the state of flow is a student's best friend. If you can train yourself to enter into a state of flow when you study, is an absolute game-changer in terms of not only productivity but enjoyment as well. Because when you're in a state of flow, you tend to be more creative, you're more engaged, your performance improves, and you absorb information a lot better. In fact, an Australian university in 2020 at Swinburne University of Technology, found that entering into a state of flow is almost addictive. They found that there was an increase in activity in dopamine when people are experiencing flow. Dopamine is a brain chemical involved in pleasure and motivation. Ways you can insert into a state of flow includes setting clear goals, eliminating distractions, working on one task rather than multitasking, adding an element of challenge, studying something you enjoy. Essentially, there are two main areas that you need to keep in mind when you're working on honing in your focus to improve your productivity. There's the macro level, so the bigger picture, so the main goal or goals that you are aiming for, so as the saying goes if you chase two rabbits, both will escape, so having one main goal is perfect with two or three supporting goals. Secondary is the micro-level. The task that you're doing, you need to be 100 percent focused at one task at a time, no distractions. Studying shorter but more intensely sessions rather than longer but less intensive sessions can help with this, while also training yourself to be able to enter into a state of flow when you're studying. I think the theme of this lesson and this whole class actually, is all about being very intentional with your actions. Don't do things that don't bring you closer to your overall goal. Only do the most important tasks, the tasks where when you carry them out, they have the most significant positive impact on your life. Because that's really what productivity is about. It's not about doing as many tasks as possible in one day, is about doing the most important tasks consistently. 3. The Perfect Day: If you could plan out a perfect day of studying, what would it look like? This is an important question to ask because you should be doing exactly that. You should be planning out your perfect day of studying to really have the most productive day you can. I spent three years in my bachelor's degree really honing in my daily routine. From the moment I woke up in the morning to the moment I went to bed, it was all planned out and strategized to make my day as productive as possible. At university, I made a lot of mistakes in my daily routine, especially in my first year. But in my third year at university, they were all ironed out. In this lesson, I'm going to go through my perfect daily routine that was 100 percent optimized for productivity. I'd wake up at 4:45 AM, seven days a week. For the first few weeks, this was actually quite difficult but after I'd say three or four weeks of waking up at this time, it just became a habit. Most mornings I actually ended up waking up naturally at 4:30 AM before my alarm clock even went off. But having this daily routine and building up a habit of waking up 4:45 AM every day, it made things so much easier. You train your body to know that it's time to wake up, so it does it automatically. This is what I mean when I say, learning to study smart will make your life so much easier. The alternative is having your sleeping schedule all over the place, so it's difficult to wake up in the morning and you have to drag your half-dead body out of bed, and you just feel terrible. That's just not working smart. If there's another option that is easier, significantly more effective, healthier, and would make you happy long-term, then why wouldn't you choose that option? When my alarm goes off, I'd spend 15 minutes reading the news on the BBC News app because it just keeps me up to date with what's going on around the world. It was particularly beneficial for me as someone who was studying economics and finance because I would read upon economics events. The trade wars going on around the world, economic problems particular countries are having, and really just applying the knowledge of what I learned at university to the real world. At 5:00 AM, I'd get out of bed, I brush my teeth and I'd take a shower, and I make a point of leaving the house before 6:00 AM, so in one hour of waking up. That really was my goal because I didn't want to spend ages getting ready, but my aim was to be out of the door as soon as possible. What I've noticed is that for me, it's really important that I live my life with intention that when I'm getting ready to leave the house, I move fast, I get things done fast, I leave the house fast. I could spend like double or triple the time choosing what clothes to wear or watching Netflix in the morning, or checking my social media, watching TV, and just getting destructed in general. That's why my aim every morning was to be out of the door by 6:00 AM. By 6:30 AM, I'd be arriving at the gym. Going to the gym at this time has a few benefits for me. Firstly, the gyms are almost empty because not many people want to exercise at that time. Secondly, if I was feeling tired or low on energy after going to the gym and exercising, by the end of it, I'd be feeling far more alert and energized. Finally in my first year at university, I made the mistake of going to the gym in the evening. But there are a couple of problems with this. Firstly, I would often feel tired and decide to skip it, so that's obviously not a good thing. Secondly, it's super crowded in the evening because that's when most people go. Thirdly, it would be on my mind the whole day. If I get it over and done with in the morning, then at least for me I just feel better throughout the day. Obviously, that's just how I do it. If you go to the gym in the evening and it works for you, then that's awesome, keep doing that. But you need to be constantly reviewing your daily routine because these small tweaks that you need to be making that will really optimize it and allow you to make your day more productive. At 7:45 AM, I'd arrive at the library ready to study and I realized that I'm at my most awake in the morning. I get my best work done and I'm not my most productive in the morning, so I tried to get as much studying in as I can in the morning. By 8:00 AM, seven days a week from Monday to Sunday, I made sure that I was out my desk studying by the very least at 8:00 AM. I realized that having a structured study schedule was so integral when it comes to studying smarter rather than harder. I notice that by studying at 8:00 AM every single day, after three weeks, I made it into a habit, so it became a lot easier because my mind knew that it was time to study. That's exactly what I was able to do. Forming these study habits, it encourages us to repeat the same habits every single day to the point where they just become instinctive, just like brushing our teeth in the morning. We don't need to think about it, we just do it. That's really integral when it comes to studying smarter, not harder. We want some make our lives easier not harder. We want to create a situation where studying is just integrated smoothly and seamlessly into your life. You're not forcing yourself to study, but instead you're creating structures into your life, these study habits and strategies that makes studying far easier. Some days I had lectures for two or three hours a day, or the day I didn't have any lectures. If I didn't have any lectures, I just study at 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM with a few breaks in between, of course. But I studied for eight hours from Monday to Saturday and four hours on Sunday, but honestly studying for this number of hours, it wasn't really necessarily. I was aiming for 4.0 GPA and I knew that just studying for six hours of really studying hard and studying smart and studying efficiently, that would give me a 4.0 GPA. Just studying for six hours not studying for eight. But I didn't want to leave anything to chance. I knew that if I studied an extra two hours every day, there's no way on this planet that I wouldn't achieve a 4.0 GPA. I mean, it would be almost impossible. I like the idea of setting a goal but then you put in so much work and direct so many resources towards it, but that goal you absolutely smash it. You set a goal but you study far beyond it, if that makes sense. But it did work. When I graduated I achieved a grade of 75.5 percent and I only needed 70 percent to get a 4.0 GPA. Anything above that was just a bonus. I could've studied a lot less than six hours a day. I could have probably even come down to four hours a day if I'm completely honest, but I'd have to make sure that those four hours were super, super efficient. But honestly that would have been risky. I do like how I did where I just over-studied to make absolutely sure that I hit my goal. In my final year, my grade was high enough where even if I didn't attend the last five or six exams and I got zero percent on all of those exams, it didn't really matter. My average grade would have still held me above the 4.0 GPA grade band. I treated university like a full-time job, that's where my mindset was. Most white-collar workers work at least eight hours a day, and if they're feeling tired or having a particularly bad day, they can't just call their boss at work and tell them that they're not coming to work today because they can't really be bothered. That just not an option in the real world. The people that do that, they probably wouldn't have that job for very long. Usually at around 5:00 PM, I packed my stuff and I'd go home. Usually I do some video editing from a YouTube channel for a couple of hours and at 7:00 PM was my relaxation time. This is really important to be able to relax and unwind at the end of the day. I'd spend day going out with friends and some days I'd be working on some other side businesses I had going on at the time. Honestly, some days I just turn on Netflix, I'll watch on YouTube for an hour or so. Because if you do study smart and you really concentrate your studying into a smaller number of hours, then that will afford you more time at the end of the day to really just relax and do things that you've really enjoyed doing. This is your award for studying so hard during the day and studying so smart during the day and I think is quite important for long-term performance, and really just maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At 10:00 PM, I'd be in bed. Now, I took this incredibly seriously. It's really easy to have a set time that you need to be in bed by about when we get busy, we want to stay open, watch another film or watch YouTube a bit longer, then the next night it happens again and before you know it, you go into sleep ridiculous times. It is near impossible to wake up early in the morning. It's super important that you prioritize the time that you go to sleep because in the morning when it's time to wake up, you'll thank yourself for it. Without a productive daily routine at university, it would have been extremely difficult for me to have achieved the grades that I did. Just like brushing my teeth in the morning, waking up or 4:45 AM, going to the gym at 6:30 AM, and arriving at the library at 7:45 AM, they all just became daily habits. They did not require much determination or willpower. I simply just did them. That's really what I want to get across in this lesson, being productive is all about making your day flow smoothly. Your studying shouldn't be this thing that you hate to do, that you have to force yourself to do every day. Now, obviously, you are going to have bad days and there will be elements of your studying that you find boring or subjects that you don't particularly find interesting, and thus fine, that's absolutely normal. But I'm talking about overall, your overall experience when you're studying should be positive. If you have any questions about this lesson, let me know in the comments. If you want to share your daily routine, I'd love to hear them and I'll see you in the next lesson. 4. The Power of Three Rule: I used the power of three rule a lot at university and even now, I still use it frequently, and it's really simple. Write down three of the most important tasks that you need to accomplish that day. They should be the three things that, if you complete them, they would have the biggest positive impact on your life. It might not seem like a lot just writing down three tasks, but it's more effective than you might think when it comes to productivity. Firstly, they'll be far more achievable than having a long task list with dozens of tasks to do. I remember, the first time I started using a task list on my phone, it must be seven or so years ago now. I just write every single tiny thing I have to do. Even if a task only took 20 seconds, I wouldn't do it straight away. I'd write it down on my task to do it later. Ironically, that was just another form of procrastination. Now, as a rule of thumb, if I have a task to do, and I can do it right away, and it takes less than five minutes, then I will do it immediately. I won't add it to the task list. That way, it just helps your task list from getting too long. But also, when you wake up in the morning, just having three of your most important tasks to do probably won't seem like a lot. Often, procrastination is triggered when we realize we have so much to do. It becomes overwhelming. By having just three tasks to do, it reduces the likelihood that you'll start procrastinating. Once you finish your three most important tasks, you have built some momentum throughout the day, and you feel more motivated to keep going. It's a really basic idea, and it's so simple to get sidetracked on other things that need doing that might not be as important. We often assume productivity means getting as much done as possible in one day. But actually, productivity is about getting the important things done on a consistent basis. It's from maintaining a steady average speed on a few things. As I mentioned earlier in the course, not maximizing speed on everything. It takes advantage of the Pareto principle, which states that 80 percent of the output is as a result of 20 percent of the input. For example, 80 percent of a business's profits might come from 20 percent of the products, or 80 percent of the decisions in a meeting might be made by 20 percent of the people. In terms of productivity for your studying, it's very likely that around 80 percent of your grades are as a direct result of 20 percent of your studying. It makes sense to make those tasks that make up the 20 percent of your studying a priority. The number 3 is used a lot when it comes to effectiveness and power. You've probably been in countless situations where people would say something to the effects of, he has three things to remember or these are the three things that we should do, or these are the three main goals for this year. The military even used the rule of three to teach survival. For example, they teach three minutes without air, three days without water, three weeks without food, three months without hope. Three is an incredibly powerful number. Let's say that you only had two tasks on your productivity list, rather than three. Then you come across the concept, the tyranny of the OR. The tyranny of the OR is when you are faced with deciding between two things, which can then trigger you into a state of procrastination because you can't decide which one to do first. It only takes a split second of been unsure what to do next, and before you know it, you're procrastinating. On the other hand, if you just focus on one thing, it's very likely that you are dropping other balls that you really need to balance to keep your productivity up and to balance everything going on in your life. Because at the end of the day, there's probably more than just one thing going on in your life that you want to focus on. Focusing on three tasks for each day helps you make progress in the right direction, and really just help you use your time more efficiently. The power of three rule is really designed to encourage you to be more intentional with your productivity. It's a tool that will help you direct your time, and your energy, and your resources to work on the right things at the right time. Really quickly, I'm going to go through how you can implement the rule of three into your study strategy to help you significantly improve your productivity. One, set your three things the night before. This way, as soon as you wake up in the morning, you know exactly what you need to do. You don't have to think about it. You don't have to spend five or 10 minutes planning your day. You just get up, you go straight to work. It's really about streamlining your morning and making sure that there are no opportunities for the part of your brain that wants to procrastinate to get the better view. This it is something that I've been doing only for the last few months now, but it's so incredibly beneficial for me. In fact, I probably only spend maybe 60 seconds the night before planning my day, looking at my schedule, and writing out the three tasks that I need to do. It really doesn't take long at all. But as soon as I wake up in the morning, I can get straight to it. Number 2, improve your estimates. By really concentrating on your results, you'll start to work out how long each task really takes you. You'll start to get better because you're setting three tasks every day. If you keep working on improving the efficiency of those three tasks, there's no way you can't get better. Number 3, use your three things as motivation. At the end of the day, take a note of the three accomplishments you made that day. It's often a good time to do this at nighttime, just before you set your next three tasks for the next day. It's this approach and realizing your accomplishments that will help you build momentum. If you didn't accomplish the three outcomes you want, then at least you learned something. Either, bite off smaller chunks for the next time, or try a different approach altogether. Having three accomplishments under your belt is a pragmatic way to feel good about yourself. If you have any questions about the power of three rule, let me know in the comments. Or if you want to share your three tasks that you've set maybe for today or maybe for tomorrow, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments, and I'll see you in the next lesson. 5. Daily Habits: Daily habits are absolutely essential when it comes to productivity. I see daily habits as they not only make you more productive, but they also make your productivity easier. They make your life a lot easier, a lot more streamlined. At university, it wasn't until I implemented a system of powerful daily and weekly habits into my daily routine that my studying started to become significantly easier to the point where I didn't even have to think about studying I just did it automatically. Similar to how I brush my teeth in the morning. I don't have to think about it or I don't have to decide whether or not I'm going to push my teeth, I just do it. By implementing habits around the things that you maybe don't necessarily want to do, but you know that you have to do, it can significantly increase your productivity and just improve your life in general. Because now you're doing this difficult task that you don't want to do without even thinking about them. In this lesson, I'm going to go through a few of the daily habits that I have implemented into my life that have drastically improved my productivity since implementing them. I'm not going to go through every single one on this video because then the video will be an hour, two hours long, but I'll go for the most important ones. Plan the day. This is something that I started doing probably a few months ago now, but in terms of how long it takes me to plan my day, a few minutes a day, maybe 60 seconds, is the most time-efficient few minutes I spend every day. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." I've made it into a habit where every single night before I go to sleep, I plan my day. I'll spend a few minutes looking at my schedule and plotting the tasks that I need to do for the next day. I'll then write out these tasks down on my phone, and so as soon as I wake up in the morning, I know exactly what I need to do. I don't have to think about it, I don't have to wonder what I'm going to do that day, I just open up my task list and I get to work. Planning the day helps me massively with prioritization. I make sure that my most important tasks are prioritized first. These tasks the things like this video, for example. One of my most important task of the week is to film two YouTube videos. Two YouTube videos for my YouTube channel and one video for my course. But it also helps me prioritize my free time too. If I don't plan my day, then I end up just working and working and not being able to fit other things in such as networking, socializing, health, going to the gym that kind of thing. There are four pillars to having a good life, at least in my opinion. These are health, wealth, love, and happiness. If you take care of your health, your wealth, and your love, then happiness will take care of itself. Making a habit of planning my day the night before ensures that I spend enough time allocated for each pillar. Read the news. I've not met one single person that is incredibly successful and they don't know what's going on around the world. They all know vast amounts of information, vast amounts of knowledge in the industry that they're in and that they're successful in, but they also know about the conflict between Gaza and Israel, for example, or the latest spending plans set out by President Biden. For me, every single morning for the last, I'd say six or seven years, the first thing I do after my alarm goes off in the morning is open up the BBC News app on my phone and be updated with what's going on around the world. The benefit I find in reading the news just for 10 minutes or even just five minutes in the morning is that it keeps me up-to-date with current affairs. I keep up with what's going on around the world and it really gives me more perspective in that there's more going on around the world than what I'm seeing in my own life. It was particularly beneficial for me as someone who studied for an economics degree because it provides news about a country's economic situation. For example, the trade wars going on around the world and a lot of the theory that I was learning at university, I could then apply them in real life and almost see things play out with real countries and real economies. Studying. Another daily habit I had at university was the time that I studied. Now I'm not going to go into too much detail here because I have another lesson that talks about how I scheduled my studying into the day. But making studying into a habit was huge in terms of just making myself study. At 7:15 AM every single day, seven days a week, I would start studying and I'd be at the library at that time every single day. It's funny because the library would be empty every single morning. I'd be the first person there, but that's also why it worked so well. It was like a psychological thing where it felt good that everyone else was sleeping while I was studying in an empty library and that acted as motivation in of itself. But the reason why I started studying a 7:15 each day was because I made it into a habit. My brain and my body knew that at 7:15 every single day, I sit down and I study. Just like as soon as I wake up, I brush my teeth. I don't need to think about it, I just wake up and brush my teeth. There's no part of me that thinks, "Should I brush my teeth today or not?" That thought just doesn't cross my mind, I just do it. I train myself to have that same mentality when it came to my studying and that's how powerful habits can be. That's also why I studied for seven days a week although on the weekend I did study for less but I still studied because I knew that if I took a day off, it would untrain my brain if that makes sense. By making studying into a habit that I did the same time every morning, it made things so much easier. There are various reasons why daily habits make our lives easier. Firstly, they make us more productive and that's why you're watching this course, to be more productive. When we have set daily habits throughout the day, it reduces the need to make decisions. It allows us to know exactly what task we need to do each day without having to decide or to think too much about it. As soon as we've done one task, we know exactly what we need to do for the next task. Daily habits also set structure in our lives. It provides a framework that we become familiar with and comfortable with. Because at the end of the day, in order to excel in something, you need to do it every day. To excel in your education, you need to study every day and daily habits allow a flow to the day. University was the first time I really felt flow in my life. It's difficult to articulate. I just felt like I was swimming with the tide rather than against it and life just became easier, I guess. This was in part down to the fact that I set daily habits into my life that essentially standardized my studying and I became far more efficient as a result. It's also a way of building really good momentum throughout the day. I would have a habit of studying at 7:15 AM. When I first started university, I would study with breaks for five hours a day, but every day it started becoming down a bit easier to study for five hours until eventually studying for five hours became really easy because, with the help of the daily habits, I had trained myself to essentially just get better at studying for longer hours. Then I bumped it up to 5.5 hours and once that got easy, I bumped it up to six hours. Eventually, in my second and third year at university, I would study for eight hours on a daily basis, really easily actually. It just got easier the more frequently I did it. Just as a byproduct of that, a byproduct of making my studying into a habit, it helped massively with stress. I really didn't get stressed at all at university. I mean exams were, I don't want to say they were easy, but let's just say I was well-prepared for pretty much every exam I took because I made studying into a habit. I started preparing for my exams well ahead of time, pretty much before everyone else in the class. Probably because I studied a lot more than most other students as a direct result of my studying, that's why I didn't find my exams that difficult. School in university shouldn't be this constant battle with forcing yourself to wake up early and forcing yourself to study and constantly fighting off this feeling of wanting to procrastinate. You need to get to a place where you actually enjoy your studying, where you like your life at school in university. You need to get to a place where your life is almost like this flow state where, like I mentioned earlier, you're swimming with the tide rather than against it. It's funny because I was actually reading Atomic Habits by James Clear a few months ago and he brought me on to this idea of habit stacking, which was a bit of a game-changer for me. I've been thinking a lot about living life more intentionally and living in a way that uses my life in a more productive and efficient way. One of the most ingrained habits I have is showering. As soon as I wake up, the first thing I do is I have a shower. It's a habit that I've had for pretty much every day of my life for more than 20 years, so it's a super-strong habit. Habit stacking is about creating a new habit by stacking it on top of another habit that is already established. Now when I'm showering, I listen to an audiobook on Blinkist, so I'm stacking two habits together. Audiobooks on Blinkist last about 20 minutes, the same length of a shower, so the timing is perfect. That way, every single morning I'm listening to an audiobook, and is now a habit. I use the first habit of showering as leverage to make it easier to form my new habit. Small strategies like habit stacking can make your life a bit more streamlined and less stressful, and that's what you should be aiming for. At the end of the day, daily habits implemented into your life will significantly improve your productivity, but it will do it in a way that just makes your life more easier, I guess. You don't need to acquire as much determination or willpower because your studying will just become a daily ritual and that's really where we're heading, becoming more productive, but in a way where we don't have to force it. Because if we're forcing our productivity, then it's just not going to stick in the long-term. But building up structures into your life in the form of solid habits will help you stay productive in a healthy, sustainable way. 6. Accountability: Being accountable for your own productivity and your own studying is massive. The very fact that you're watching this class on productivity and you've gotten this far is a really good sign. It shows that you're taking responsibility for your education and you're actively trying to improve your performance. But also accountability is going to be absolutely essential for when you leave your formal education and you're working full time, at least if you're going to achieve any kind of success. I saw this all the time at university. There are two types of students, the first average students would claim that they're just not very good at studying. They receive pretty average grades because they think that they're not smart enough. They're not talented enough. Studying is just not their thing. They're not the academic type. Then there's the other type of student that beliefs that if they keep trying, if they keep improving, if they keep making a conscious effort to study harder and more efficiently, then their grades will improve. It's this type of student that is taking accountability for their studying. It's this type of student that is far more likely to go ahead and achieve great success in the future. Because when a student doesn't hold themselves accountability for their productivity or when they fail their exams, they'll very lightly blame everyone else but themselves. It's the lecturer's fault, it's the parents' fault, it's the government's fault, it's their friends fault. They didn't have enough time, the exam was too hard. I'm sure we've all studied with people that have this kind of attitude. However, on the flip side, a student that holds themselves accountable for their productivity and for their actions and therefore their choices, they see it as a learning opportunity, so they'll focus on the mistakes, what they did wrong, what they could have improved on. They'll really analyze how they can improve for the next time. You can see quite clearly when a student fails their exams, the student that doesn't hold themselves accountable automatically shifts the blame onto other people and tries to deflect it away from them. But a student that holds themselves accountable takes the full blame. They blame themselves, but not in an unhealthy way, not in a way where they want to punish themselves, but in a way where they look to learn from their mistakes and grow from them. This should even be the case in group work. With group work, you have diminished responsibility, so when you're working individually, you are 100 percent responsible for the work that you submit to your lecturer. However, when there is a group of, say, four, and working on a group project, technically you're only 25 percent responsible so it's even easier to pass the blame onto someone else. I remember in my first year university we were doing some group work for moccasin class and we were put into groups of four, so I was with three other people. For our first presentation that we did, we didn't get a very good grade at all. We didn't really match our work with the marking criteria and so we missed out on a lot of points. After that, it would have been easier to pass the blame onto someone else, but I did the complete opposite. I took charge of the situation and made sure that for the rest of the work for that group, we not only scored closely to the marking criteria, but I also personally doubled down my effort and productivity I put into the group work. We managed to get a really good grade for our great group assignment which carried most of the marks. In the end we achieved a decent grade overall but it was only because we looked at ourselves and essentially blamed ourselves instead of trying to shift the blame onto everyone else in the group. I realized from then onwards that accountability was absolutely necessary to do well at university. But holding yourself accountable and realizing that for many of the negative outcomes in your life, there's a good chance they were as a result of the decision that you made, truly realizing this can be a daunting experience at first, especially as our automatic reaction to any kind of criticism can be to get defensive and that's where grit comes in. Angela Duckworth, the winner of the MacArthur Genius Award for her research on grit, states that in order to take responsibility and hold yourself accountable, you have to cultivate grits. Grit is the perseverance and strength of your current, say, in reaching your end goals. It is the amount of effort you're willing to undertake to accomplish something and your willingness to keep moving forward no matter how difficult it gets. To develop grit alongside taking accountability for your studying, you really need to work on improving your productivity every single day. It's also important to surround yourself with others who also have grit. You've probably noticed that the highest performing students in your class have the highest levels of grit and productivity and accountability. As the saying goes, you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The student who can truly take accountability of their productivity and, as a result, become slightly better, slightly more knowledgeable, slightly stronger, slightly wiser than the day before, it's that student that will go on to achieve incredible things. Because over a few days, there's not going to be much change. It's like when you go to the gym for the first time, after your first session in the gym, you don't walk over to the mirror and expect to see massive results. But over a period of a month, there will be some slight improvements that you start to see. But after a full year, there's going to be some really drastic changes. I started my growth journey about eight years ago and if you knew me back then and you know me now, you'd know exactly what I'm talking about. 7. The Performance Review: For this lesson, I'm going to walk you through the three-step system that I created that was so powerful for me in how we significantly improved my grade. Anyone can implement it into desk to reschedule. I think it's going to bring massive value to your own studying too. I call this three-step system the performance review. Our University, I created this three-step feedback system because I knew I needed to do something drastically different to shake me out of this procrastination truck that I was stuck in. Because I knew that if I continue procrastinating as much as I was, my grades would just stay the same. As Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". There are three steps of the performance review. Step 1, review your day's performance. The main idea of this system is not to make a sudden massive change to your studying and go from studying two hours a day to 10 hours a day overnight. That's not the point. What we're aiming for is to make tiny, incremental improvements for making those improvements every single day. With step 1, the idea is that every night, just before you're about to go to bed, you review how productive you were that day. You'll review what went well and what didn't go so well, whether you procrastinated or maybe you've got a lot done that day. Then you ask yourself, so let's say you had a really productive day that today, why did you have a really productive day? What happened that made you reproductive? Maybe you woke up early and you start studying really early in the morning, or maybe you put your phone in another room when you were about to study so you didn't get distracted. Because by figuring out what works for you the next day, you can learn from that and keep doing those things. The things that you're doing that are making you unproductive, you can learn from them also, and make a point of not doing them the next day too. Let me give you an example, at high school, I struggled with even sitting at my desk to study for 15 minutes because I would just get distracted so easily. There were so many other things I'd rather be doing like playing video games, going out with friends, watching YouTube videos, that kind of thing. I'm sure we all know that feeling. But at the end of the day, when I reviewed how productive I was or how unproductive I was, I would notice that almost all my distractions came from my phone. I realized that if I had my phone next to me when I was studying, I would get destructive far faster than if I didn't have my phone. I made two small changes. The first one was that I put my phone behind my laptop so I couldn't see it when I was studying. If I didn't have it in my line of sight, then I would be less likely to reach out for it and start procrastinating. The second thing I did was that I downloaded the Pomodoro app on my phone and the app I downloaded and still use to this day is focused to do. I'm able to not only set a timer for what I'm studying, but the app also locks your phone. Even if I did want to get distracted on my phone, then it will be a lot harder because the phone is locked. It's this small changes that I implemented because every night before I went to sleep I'd review and learn from them. Much in making a tiny, a really small upgrade to your life every day. Over week is probably not going to change much, but you need to make those incremental improvements every day. In a year's time, they're going to snowball into huge improvements. Step 2, review your grades. I've been stuck in this trap when I was a high school. I'd be getting pretty bad grades, every exam, every assignment, every piece of homework I'd get pretty average grades at best. But here's the main problem, I never did anything about it. I'd be like, yeah, I could do better, but whatever, because I wasn't doing anything about it because I wasn't trying to improve my studying either to study harder or to study smarter. My grades just stayed the same. However, this is something that I learned to improve at university. Whenever I got my assignment back or my exam results back and obviously I'd be given a grade or a percentage for how many answers I got right or whatever. I'd review it and be like, am I happy with this grade and how can I do better for next time? Is really easy to get complacent, especially when you're getting quite good grades but at least in my opinion, you should always be pushing yourself to restart next level. I remember getting the grade back for my first ever assignment in my first year at university. I was given 76 percent, which is equivalent to a first-class degree 4.0 GPA A grade depending on what system you use. But I received no feedback on my mark sheet. I saw most of my classmate's mark sheets and they all received feedback. I met with my lecture later that day and I asked him for some feedback. He read my paper again and he said, "That's really good, just keep on doing what you're doing". I pressed him further, I said, "I've received 76 percent, there's still 24 percent of wrong in there, right?". Eventually, he gave me some points to work on, but it goes to show how seriously I took constructive feedback and how keen I was to improve on the work I was doing. Every grade you get back, you should be asking yourself, what can you be doing better for next time. What went well in the revision process and what didn't go so well? It is funny because every single exam we had, I'd always see the same students that hadn't revise for the exam. They had to cram in their revisions the night before the exam in the library that often pool overnight in the library. They wouldn't sleep, they just study the whole night for the exam that was at 9:00 AM in the morning, but it was the same students for every exam that seems to be making the same mistake. He's like, surely it would be easier to just start studying earlier, but rather than having to pool overnight books. By implementing these three steps to the system, you're always learning, you're always improving your studying process. You're not going to fall into the same trap of leaving all your revision until the night before the exam. Because if you're using the system properly, then you shouldn't be making the same mistakes over and over. Step 3, review your goals. I'm a massive advocate of goal setting. If you've been watching my videos for any length of time, you probably know that. But the third step of the system is to make sure that you're constantly reviewing your performance and making sure that your performance is in line with your goals because there's no point just setting a load of goals, but then after a few days, you forget about them. I had one main goal at university and that was to achieve a first-class honors degree equivalent to a 4.0 GPA. I had other sub-goals or secondary goals, but that was my main goal that I prioritized above everything else. I'd be constantly reviewing and asking myself, is the studying that I'm doing, is it on the level of a 4.0 GPA? If I continue studying like I do will I graduate with a 4.0 GPA because if the answer of that question is no, then I'd have to change something drastically so that I am studying in line with my goals. When I'm coaching students one-on-one, I'm really impressed with the students that are regularly monitoring and keeping track of their goals. A perfect example of this is a student in a private Facebook community and they posted, I just started college about eight weeks ago and the first term is almost over. I found this first term to be not quite what I imagined. Right now I'm still rushing to get assignments done and I recognize this could be a sign that I need to get back on track as soon as possible before this affects the second half of my first semester and beyond. This is a perfect example of someone who, because he is constantly monitoring his performance, he just started college eight weeks ago, but he's realized that he's falling behind with his assignments so he's taking massive action and firstly joining the course and the coaching sessions to turn his grades around. I'm particularly impressed with this because a lot of students leave it until they're failing exam after exam because they don't do anything about it. It's not until they're really backed into a corner and they have no other option and that's when they do something about it. This is what the three-part feedback system is designed to do. I really want to get across this message that in order to really make the most of your education, you need to be constantly reviewing your performance and monitoring what you're doing well and what you're doing not so well. Then constantly making small incremental tweaks that will compound in some massive changes. Having that growth mindset is really an incredibly powerful thing because once you have it, you can apply it to all areas of your life. Your study, your personal life, your career, your financial situation and I know this is cliche to say, but it really is a game-changer. 8. The Perils of Pseudo Studying: This is something that I've been thinking about quite a lot over the last few months. This idea of pseudo studying or pseudo working. Pseudo studying is when you just sit there with your laptop and textbook and you are studying, but you're not really taking in the information. You are more just studying to feel like you're being productive rather than to actually study with your exams in mind. I say that I've been thinking about it a lot recently because honestly, I'm probably guilty of this to some extent. At the beginning of this year, I would work 12 hours a day relatively easily. Sometimes 13 hours a day, sometimes 14 hours a day, and it was easy for me because I love my job, I love doing what I do. So I don't actually mind working those hours, but then he got me thinking, is it really necessary? What if I worked more efficiently and got as much done in that 14 hours in say eight hours. My total output would be the same, but I decrease from 14 hours of work down to eight hours of work. Over the last few months, I've been working on improving that, and honestly, it's been working amazing for me because now I have so much more time to go to the gym, to socialize, to network, that kind of thing. I realized that for much of my workday, I was essentially pseudo working. Let's say I had to write a script for a YouTube video that's about 2,000 words. I used to spend the whole day writing the script, the whole day. I'd plan, I'd research, I'd read entire scientific journals, which is great, but it's incredibly time-consuming. A few weeks ago, I set myself a limit, I was like, "I'll give myself two hours to write the script." Instead of taking the whole day, I just give myself two hours. What happened? I wrote the script in just two hours and it was still a really good script, but I completed it about six hours faster than I normally would have, and I guess that is just Parkinson's Law in action. The old adage that work expands to fill the time allotted so the amount of work required adjusts to the time available for its completion. You see, I don't have a boss because I work for myself. I don't have a manager breathing down my neck making sure that I get X amount of work done and it will probably be the same for you if you're studying. When you're at work, you probably have a manager keeping you on track and putting a bit of pressure on you to make sure that you're performing. But when you're studying, you have to manage yourself, you have to keep yourself on track, you have to put pressure on yourself. You have to make sure that you're working quickly enough and efficiently enough. Going a bit on a tangent here, but it reminds me of what Elon Musk mentioned on one of his biggest problems with running a charity. When you have a business, you have to keep shareholders happy. You have your competition ready to overtake you as soon as you make a wrong step. He said charities, however, they don't have the same pressures. There's not as much pressure on them to make X amount of profit. It's not as competitive of an industry. Therefore, naturally, charities don't tend to perform as efficiently as for profit organizations do. It's the same wave communism, if there's no competition there, then there's less incentive for a business to run more efficiently. But I think as a student, you can't afford to be lazy. The amount of money you and/or your family are investing into your education is probably pretty damn high. For example, in 2020, the average cost of a four-year university degree in the US was $100,000-200,000. I think a lot of people can't really comprehend how much money that actually is. You can literally buy a Ferrari or a Lamborghini with that money but because you're taking the money out in the form of a student loan, it doesn't necessarily feel like a lot of money, but ironically, with interest that 200,000 can quickly snowball into 300,000 or more if you don't pay it off. Let me put it this way, if I deposited $200,000 into your bank account today and I told you that you have to buy a house with it, you would treasure that house. You'd keep it clean, you'd be proud of it, it's the same with your education. If you're spending that crazy money on your education, then you really can't afford to be spending a lot of your time just pseudo studying. Let me go into this idea of pseudo studying in a bit more detail. You'll probably find that the majority of the marks you get in an exam are coming from a select few things that you're doing when you're studying and the rest of your studying is for studying sake. For example, for me, past papers were absolutely essential for getting good grades in my exams and so I prioritized past papers. Other tasks such as reading for background information in a textbook, it didn't directly correlate to getting higher grades, so as a result, I didn't allocate much time to reading pages and pages of thick text books. I also didn't gain much from answering unnecessarily large amounts of practice problems. It wasn't like I was learning new information and getting significantly better by practicing hundreds of the same practice problems. Once I hit a certain number, the learning curve flattened so I stopped. Another thing that I noticed was that I was researching for hours and hours before writing an assignment. I could research for seven or eight hours before I even typed a single word for the assignment. Although preparation for writing an assignment is important, it certainly doesn't need seven or eight hours of it. I learned to restrict the oxygen I gave to research and cut it down to two to three hours, and it saved me about five hours per assignment and my final grade wasn't affected at all. For all of my studying, for every task that I started, I questioned myself, "To what extent will this task affect my overall grade?" If the answer was by a lot, then I'd increase the time I spent working on that task, but if the answer was not a lot, then I decrease the time on that task or even eliminate it altogether. Cal Newport talks about that idea of pseudo studying in his book, How to Become a Straight-A Student. He used the formula, work accomplished equals time spent times intensity of focus. For example, a student that is prone to pseudo studying might spend six hours studying with a focus level of two. Using the formula, work accomplished equals time spent times by intensity of focus, that student would achieve a score of 12. Now let's say a high-performance student can study for just three hours, so half the time of the previous student, but this high-performance student can study with a focus level of six so their score will also be 12. That's a 50 percent saving. Now imagine what you can do with that by cutting your studying time in half, you're suddenly getting good grades and you have time to hang out with your friends and have hobbies on the side. The secret here is really to replace long hours of low-intensity studying with a number of short bursts of high intensity studying. It's what I've started doing with my work, especially with tasks such as writing, which are quite high intensive tasks, but I make sure that I'm in my most productive working space and for writing that for me is often a coffee shop, so I make sure it's the right time of the day where I'm at my most energized. That for me is the very early morning or in the evening after about 6:00 PM, and I set my timer on my phone for two hours, and I basically write for two hours nonstop. From my experience, here are some quick tips on how to eliminate pseudo studying. Take a five or 10 minute break for every hour of studying. This helps reduce the rate at which your focus intensity decays. You'll notice that if you try and force hours of studying without any breaks, you'll soon start feeling fatigue. The idea of this strategic breaks is to slow down the rate at which you feel fatigue so you're basically giving your brain time to rest so you can study for longer hours. Try not to study for longer than three hours at a time. That includes your 5-10 minute breaks. If after three hours you're still in a state of flow and you're still being productive, then by all means, keep going, but don't feel pressured to keep going. The idea is to study in short, intensive bursts rather than long five or six hours study sessions. Get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise. These factors control your energy and your energy controls your focus. This class is all about long-term strategies for long-term success and you need to have the fundamentals in check. Sleep, diet, and exercise are the foundations of which you can then build upon. Study in the mornings if possible, try to accomplish as much as possible as early as you can. It's important that you start the day off on a positive note and if you have a productive morning and start studying within one hour of waking up, that positive momentum will continue through out the day. Always study in a quiet distraction free location. It goes without saying but talking roommates or a TV in the background will lower your focus. When it comes to being more productive by studying smarter rather than harder, consider studying in shorter but intensive bursts. When you are studying, really focus on being as efficient as you possibly can, rather than just racking up the hours. If you have any questions about pseudo studying, because I think it's something that we're all guilty of every now and then, even me, but it's not talked about enough, I think. Just let me know below and I'll do my best to answer them all. 9. The Power Nap: I feel like having a nap during the day is often stigmatized. It is often seen as this thing that only lazy people do. But I'm a massive proponent of the power nap. I nap probably four times a week because usually mid afternoon my energy levels drop after eating and instead of fighting that urge to sleep, I just sleep. Now, on the other hand, I have friends that never nap. I was talking about it with my friend the other day actually and he just can't fall asleep during the day even for just 10 minutes. We all know how important getting enough sleep is for our productivity. Insufficient sleep results in more stress, worse reaction time, decreased learning, inefficiency, and just a general deterioration of our health. In fact, there was even a 2000 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that found that getting less than six hours sleep a night tripled your risk of being involved in a car accident, which is crazy thinking about it. There've also been studies that show that 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon provides more rest than 20 minutes more sleep in the morning. The body seems to be designed for this, as most people's bodies naturally become more tired in the afternoon and after eight hours after we wake up, and that certainly is the case for me. What are the benefits of the power nap? I feel when many people get tired during the day, they reach for an espresso or energy drink for the caffeine or chocolate bar for the sugar, but napping can be a far healthier substitution. According to Behavioral Brain Research journal, caffeine can decrease memory performance which can obviously be harmful when you're preparing for exams. You literally have one job to do when you're studying, to memorize large amounts of information for the exam, and caffeine can seriously hinder this. You might get a burst of energy from a coffee but at the cost of lower quality work. Power naps on the other hand can help with replenishing energy while improving memory recall. They can also help lead to more alertness and a better mood as well as other health benefits like reduced stress and lower risk of heart attacks. A power nap while shorts can let our minds recharge and heal. I'm just keeping this lesson super short because I just wanted to put it out there that having a nap in the middle of the day can be a massively beneficial to overall productivity even though it might sound counter-intuitive, but it definitely helps especially if you're finding you have energy slumps in the middle of the day. 10. The Stimulation Equation: I'm currently coaching about 15 students one-on-one on my program to help them significantly level up there studying. I try not to have too many students that I'm coaching one on one because, I really want to track each individual's performance and really put in the resources and the effort into helping them make a massive difference in their academic journey. But there's one area that I spend a lot of time on with every single student because it really is important and that is, I help the students that I coach make there studying more interesting. Because when I'm coaching my students one-on-one in the early stages of the coaching, I always ask the same question, do you enjoy your studying? Do you actually like your studying? This is important because if their answer is no, then it's very likely that there will be fighting an uphill battle because if they don't enjoy they're studying, they're far more likely to procrastinate, then more likely to get destructed, to lose focus, to lose motivation, that thing. With these students that say they don't enjoy studying, I really put a lot of effort into finding strategies in which they can get that passion back for learning. This lesson, I'm going to call it the stimulation equation because like most things in life, to become good at something you have to like doing it. Your studying needs to be interesting, you need to like your study, your brain needs to be stimulated when you're studying, it needs to be engaged. It's definitely one of the most important factors that determines a student that is high performance and a student that is average. In this lesson, I'm going to go through a few ways that you can make your studying more engaging and by implementing these strategies into your studying routine, you won't have that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you have to study because you want to do it. What's the byproducts of that? The byproduct is that, it involves more studying, less procrastination, you'll be happier, your grades will improve and the opportunities after you graduate school or university, will also open write up. Your studying affects your life, it's important to realize that the subjects and topics that you're studying actually affect your everyday life because when you realize that what you're reading about is relevant to you and your life, it starts to become far more interesting. Let me give you an example, I studied economics and finance at university and reading about the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve passed decision to drop interest rates to almost zero in November 2008, stands as an important moment in financial history and we're still see the ripple effects to this very day. How does that affect me? It means the interest rates are incredibly low in the US and many other countries, it far cheaper to borrow money if I want to buy a house or a car or some other large expense and you can do this with pretty much any subject. For example, when you're studying projectile motion, think about how you would throw a ball or when you're studying areas of a square or circle, think about lawns or stadiums. Linking what you're studying to what's going on in your own life will actually make your studying more interesting because you can now use this new information you've just learned to understand the world around you and it just turns you from studying to pass an exam to studying to become more knowledgeable and therefore make better life decisions and it's a win-win, if you're learning more and it's more engaging and interesting. The relevance to your career. Expanding on the last part of studying to become more knowledgeable, not just to pass your exams, is important to relate your subjects or how it can be applied in a work environment after you graduate. When you're looking for an internship or a graduate job, there's still things that your student can really help. At the end of the day, that why most people got to university to have better job prospects once you graduate. What you're studying now can make you a better employee in your first graduate job, whether your dream is to become a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer, whatever it is, your education will help you get there, even if what you're aiming for is less conventional like to be a business person and own your own business, you're studying will teach you soft skills such as work ethic, time management, and communication skills. Study on the move. Studying in the same place can get very boring really quickly and this is actually something that I've been dealing with recently, like the last few months or so. I've realized that switching working environments, sometimes I'll go to a coffee shop, sometimes I'll work in the office here, sometimes I work at home. Doing this regularly keeps me creative, it helps keep me motivated, and focused and it's actually to the point where I would literally be at seven different coffee shops in a week, so I would go to a different coffee shop every single day. Usually when I'm doing some creative work such as writing, I'll go to a coffee shop but if I'm doing more intensive tasks that require more brainpower, then I go to my office where it's completely silent. I do realize that I'm in a very fortunate position where I have many options to study in but even just small things like sitting at a different desk in the library might be enough to trigger your creative juices to start getting them to flow again. Sitting in the same place every day to study can soon read inspiration or motivation you have. Studying in a coffee shop, the library, outside of the local park, or even just changing the room that you're studying can often give you that extra boost and motivation that you need. The Premack Principle. The Premack Principle is a theory of reinforcement that states that a less desired behavior can be reinforced by the opportunity to engage in a more desired behavior, it has also been doped the grandma rule, you can't have dessert until you've had your vegetables rule. If your studying is the vegetables, your dessert is your award and this can be anything from watching a film on Netflix to going out with friends, it is important to reward yourself when you achieve big milestones or you study particularly hard that day because it will encourage you to keep repeating that behavior, but just make sure not to use your studying as an excuse to indulge yourself. You should be able to withhold from any rewards, if you don't study enough so your goal could be to study for eight hours a day today or achieve a certain grade exam. Sing your studying. Now I haven't personally used this method, but I have friends that swear by it and if you love singing then maybe it might work for you. Making your studying material into a song can help you memorize it for an exam, maybe the most popular example for this is the periodic table of elements song. It makes sense why singing while studying can help you remember your material better, so remembering the lyrics to your favorite song is a lot easier than remembering those exact same words if they were just written in text format. Formal learning versus informal learning. The school system teaches is that if you're learning in your free time then is because you have homework to do, or You're being made to do it in some way, maybe your parents have paid for a tutor to teach you for a couple of hours after school and so you don't really have a choice. The school system is all about formal education, it doesn't encourage informal education. The school system doesn't teach us that we can learn just because it's an interesting activity. In the same way, you'd watch a film at the cinema or you'd play a game of cards, it actually does the opposite and saps away your passion you had for learning in the first place. How do you get that passion back? How do you make the learning process firm? You develop a growth mindset. You realize that the more you learn, the better you become. Carol Dweck wrote about this in her book Mindset, the New Psychology of Success. She carried out a study that demonstrated how people with a growth mindset have far more fun learning than those with a fixed mindset and people with a growth mindset are people that understand that the opportunities and results in life can improve the more they develop themselves as opposed to those with a fixed mindset that believe that qualities like intelligence and talent are traits you're born with and can't be improved upon. In the study she followed medical students who were taking a chemistry course during their first year at university. In the course, the average grade was a C plus. In the book, she found that the students with a fixed mindset achieved good grades at the beginning of the course, but after the course gradually became more difficult and more challenging. The grades of those students started to decline very quickly. On the other hand, the students with a growth mindset achieved good grades at the beginning of the course, but after the course became more challenging. The growth mindset students continued to maintain their grades because they had a growth mindset, they found that their learning was fun. Therefore, challenges within their course continue to be fun, and those that had a fixed mindset didn't have fun. Therefore, they soon burned out once they were faced with new challenges. Learning is a lot more fun to students that have adopted a growth mindset. Study with friends. Studying with a friend or with friends is a great way of making your studying fun providing that you don't get distracted and loose focus on your actual studying. It can reinforce learning habits and understanding whether it be exposing you to new methods of learning or just providing encouragement. There are so many other benefits. It can help you build inter-personal skills. It can increase learning retention, it can improve your mood, and it can make you a lot more motivated. Studying with a partner or in a small group of up to, let's say four or five students, is usually most effective. Try to partner with people who will inspire you to study, people who are more motivated than you. Choose a study buddy that will hold you accountable and not distract you with what they were doing on the weekends. Dig deeper into your subject. Textbooks are not interesting. They're usually 200 pages long, they're are thick, just black and white text, small print, not many images and they're been produced purely to transfer information from one person to another. On the other hand, a book or a documentary, and particularly YouTube videos and movies, they're all created and written to keep you hooked. Consequently, they're far more interesting and engaging to consume than a university textbook, and you're still learning, it's just a more interesting way of learning. It's a more fun way of learning. What I would often do at university is to watch a documentary before I started a new module at the beginning of the semester. For example, if the module I was starting was about the 2008 financial crisis, I'd watch a documentary on the financial crisis such as the HBO documentary, the untold story of the 2008 financial crisis. In the 2008 financial panic, there's no playbook for this stuff. There's no road, there's no instruction manual on what to do. We're trying to think of the most hated moment in the crisis. Watching a documentary on the 2008 financial crisis is significantly more interesting and engaging than reading a thick black and white textbook on it. It will give you a solid foundation of knowledge to build upon. Flashcards. Flashcards were a permanent staple in my bag at university. I never left the house without them. They're incredibly useful for memorizing material, especially when using the active recall method and space repetition. There are three main steps to making flashcards. Find the most important information that you need to remember. Step 2, create questions and answers based on that information. Step 3, write the questions and answers in a brief, easy to read format. The very process of just creating the flashcards is grade for learning. You're selecting, ordering, and rewording information, which is extremely helpful for memory retention. Just make sure that you are actually rewording and summarizing the information rather than writing it out word for word from your textbook. Combining flashcards with studying with a friend can also be a good idea. It turns learning into a game to see who can answer the most questions on the flashcards. You can take this game further by studying in groups of three people, so one person becomes the quiz master and the other two race to come up with the right answer first. As long as the flashcards have close ended questions, meaning that the answer should have an exact 1-3 word answer, not like a long fluffy response. Participate in class. A lot of what makes studying more interesting is actually engaging in the studying process. It's relatively well-documented that students that engage in class and in lectures have increased attention and focus compared with those that don't engage. Asking questions in class, answering questions, even writing notes will help you practice higher level critical thinking skills and it promotes meaningful learning. If you're not engaged in class is all too easy to get bored and zone out. We've all been there. Also just as a bonus, pushing yourself to participate in class will help develop your confidence when it comes to public speaking, and public speaking is incredibly useful skill to have. Socialize. For all this course, I don't want the message to be just keep studying and studying and everything else in your life can be put on hold. That's not the point of this course. I want you to study smarter, not necessarily harder. I want you to know that it's important to take breaks, it's important to relax and hang out with friends and socialize. These are the things that you should be doing at school and university. In order to be a well-rounded individual, you need social skills. Social skills are very important after you graduate in whatever career path you choose. By pushing yourself out there and joining social clubs and societies, and going to parties, and going out to dinner with your friends, it allows you to develop relationships with people from other cultures and countries as well as honing on social skills. They just aren't taught in your regular school or university curriculum. It will also help you build your self confidence and it's a great way to distress after a challenging study session or exam but overall, it will just make you happier and you'll enjoy your studying and your education much more as a result. My aim in this course is really so have you studying more efficiently. It's not just about being productive. Well, making that productivity count, so that you have more time to be doing other things in your life like going out with friends and socializing because it is important that you balance well everything you have going on in your life. 11. Dynamic Studying: Usually my preferred way of studying is to enter into a flow state where you are laser focused with your work in front of you that you forget about everything else that's going on around you. It can even get to the point where you forget to eat because you're so engrossed with your work. I like to work in chunks, so I work in chunks of three hours at a time. Three hours in the morning, three hours in the afternoon, three hours in the evening. That for me is really how I run at my most optimal productivity. But what if you can't enter into a state of flow? What if your mind keeps getting destructed after 30 minutes or an hour of studying? That's when dynamic studying can help. Dynamic studying is where instead of deep diving into one subject and focusing all your attention on that one subject for the entire day, you instead study multiple subjects that day. Our university, in an eight hour study session, I could even study eight different subjects in those eight hours, so one hour per subject. There's a few reasons why this strategy can significantly improve your productivity. Firstly, and this is one of the biggest factors why dynamic studying work so well. It takes advantage of the spacing effect. When your studying is spread out over a longer period of time, your brain will be able to process and retain that information far more effectively than if you crammed all of you're studying in a short period of time. For example, studying a subject for eight hours in one day, which is called massed practice, is less effective than studying that subject for one hour, every day, for eight days. The author of make it stick wrote, "Massed practice leads to short-term satisfaction. Spaced practice leads to long-term understanding." But he also wrote that although you learn a lot when studying just one subject for long study session, you also forget that information a lot faster. When you're studying a subject for one hour every day, you can recap the information you just learned the day before and so you're constantly going over the same information to make sure that it sticks in your head long-term. A second benefit of studying multiple subjects is that, if you study the same subject for the entire day, you're more likely to get confused to similar information because you're studying the same subject. For example, if you're focusing entirely on French vocabulary all day and you start with vocabulary about traveling, and then you move to vocabulary about food, and then you move to vocabulary about family members. You are bound to get some of those words confused with each other. You're bound to. If you focus just on traveling vocabulary that day, you're less likely to get mixed up. A third benefit is that it can help you keep better track when it comes to your schedule. If you have science class and history class on the same day, you need to spend time for both while studying, not just one. You can better balance your workload when you're regularly changing the subject that you're studying. A fourth benefit is that your brain is not going to burn out as fast because you're constantly switching things out by changing the subject that you study. There's also this concept called cognitive load. Cognitive load is when it becomes difficult to manage and learn new material due to the amount of mental effort that is being used. It's the workload that your brain is taking on and you need to be mindful of this because learning small bits of subject per day and later integrating that information into your mind slowly bit by bit each day could be far less mentally taxing. I used dynamic studying a lot at university. I think for me, it was mainly to take advantage of the spacing effects. It's a very time effective way of studying because by spreading out the learning, my brain had some time to process the information. There was no overloading of information going on, but instead I had time to soak it all in. If you're having problems with focusing on your studying after an hour or so, or you're having problems forgetting the information that you're learning, then give dynamics studying a go. You might be surprised actually how effective it can be. 12. The Optimized Study Space: Having a study environment that you feel comfortable and where you can really hide away from all the distractions and be completely preoccupied with your work. This is absolutely essential when it comes to productivity. Because at the end of the day, studying should be something that we enjoy doing. It should be something that we actively wants to do. It shouldn't be horrible experience where we feel like we're being forced to study because we have no choice. You see at high school, I never had my own dedicated study space. Sometimes I would study in my bedroom, sometimes I would study at school, sometimes I would study in the kitchen which was incredibly ineffective because I constantly had family members passing by. This was a major factor in why I performed so poorly at high school. I didn't have a fixed study space. When it came to time to study, I would stop and ask myself, where should I study today? Then in that very moment of hesitation, I'd often just think that I wasn't worth it so I'd end up not studying. By asking that question, it was an obstacle put between me and my studying. By creating my own study space at university, I remove that obstacle. As soon as it was time to study, I would just sit at my desk and study straight away. At university, I learned how important it is to have a dedicated workspace. This lesson is designed to really encourage you to think about your own perfect study space, somewhere that is private, quiet, comfortable, and free from distractions. A quiet workspace is crucial for studying and maintaining focus. As Ray Williams once said, "Silence is comforting and nourishing. It can be inspirational, it nurtures the mind, body, and soul. Science is now showing that silence may be just what we need to regenerate our exhausted brains and bodies." There have been numerous scientific studies showing how important your study environment is when it comes to actually processing that information that you're studying. For example, a 2013 study by Ian Curran of Duke University Medical Center found that two hours of silence could create new cells in the hippocampus region, so that's a brain area linked to learning, remembering, and emotions. Furthermore, according to a 2006 study by [inaudible], studying in a completely silent study environment can relieve tension in the body and brain. This was attributed to changes in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain. It's a space where you're going to spend hours every day. It's worth spending at least some time to think about where this space should be. If possible, it should not be in your bedroom. There are often too many distractions especially if your bed is right next to you.. I chose a desk in the corner of the quiet section of the library, and I could pick any desk in the entire library because I was almost always the first person to arrive in the morning. I tend to get distracted quite easily from background noise such as people talking, so I invested in some active noise canceling headphones. I highly recommend a pair if your body will allow for it. But the reason why having a dedicated study space is important is because as soon as you go there, you know that it's time to work. Your brain knows that as soon as you step into the library in the morning, it's study time. It's a lot easier to start studying and that's often the hardest part. However, it's important that if possible you only study in your study space. Any relaxation should take place elsewhere. If you will still study in your bedroom, that's a room that your brain associates with relaxing and sleeping. It doesn't set you up for the right frame of mind. Now, I do understand that having your own study space is a luxury. Maybe the library is closed or you have to study in the family house with a lot of distractions are. Maybe you have to study in your bedroom because that's the only place you can get some privacy. If that's the case, then turn your desk away from your bed, so it's not on your mind as much. Unplug the TV even better take it out of your room. Turn your phone off, put your headphones on, create your own dedicated study space. Because when it comes to where we study, not all of us are lucky enough to be able to create our own study space, but there are other things that we can do. For example, consider buying a study lamp and the study lamp could be put on your desk can only be turned on when you are studying. Your brain will begin to associate the study lamp with studying, so it will help you get focused at the start of a study session faster. The moment you lose your concentration, turn the light off, get up, leave your desk. What you're doing is you're training yourself to study while you're sitting there. The more you do it, the more automatic it will become. Another good tip is to make sure that your study material is possible as you might find some great study environments in some unlikely places. For example, I often read a chapter of a textbook or watch the recorded lecture on my phone during my lunch break. I also kept study notes on my phone. If I was waiting in a queue, for example, to get a haircut, I would brush up on some revision while waiting. I would drive to university every morning and I would listen to audio lectures or subject related podcasts. Remember that your time is valuable, but many students just don't realize actually how valuable it is. Everyone's time is finite. Eventually it will run out. My goal was to make use of my 24 hours as efficiently as possible. I've been thinking about this quite a bit recently. I've realized that I tend to change my environments much the task that I'm doing. If I'm doing something really intensive where I need 100 percent focus, maybe it's, I don't know, doing taxes or some boring accounting job, then I'll go to my office. If I'm doing a task that involves more creativity such as script writing or preparing for a full YouTube video, then I'll go to a coffee shop. If it's a task that doesn't need that much concentration, then I would just do that at home. I'd like to change my working environment quite often, as often as I can really, and it was the same at university. I would find the change in study environment would give me the boost that I needed. It can get really monotonous studying in the same place every single day. At the end of the day, when it comes to productivity as a student, there are things we can control that effects our productivity and there are things that we can't control as much. Maybe how we feel that day. Maybe we're feeling a bit tired or maybe we have to study a subject that we don't particularly enjoy studying. We don't have so much control over those things, but the things that you can control that affect your productivity such as your study environment. It's important that you really work on setting up your environment that motivates and inspires you to be the most productive you can be. The environment that you study is just one piece of the jigsaw towards mastering productivity, but is a big piece of the jigsaw. If you have any questions about this lesson, maybe you need ideas on how to improve your study environment, let me know in the comments. 13. The Productivity Device: I love my phone. I really don't know where I'd be without it. It's like having this tiny personal assistant in my pocket that organizes my day and makes sure that I'm on track for doing everything that I need to get done that day. It notifies me of important dates, any appointments or meetings I have that day, and it keeps me in contact with the rest of my team. But a phone only works to improve your productivity if it's used correctly. The other side of the coin is that our phones can be incredibly destructive, I mean, in terms of getting things done, in terms of productivity, they can be incredibly distracting. In this video, I'm going to show you how I turned my procrastination device into a productivity device. There are few things that I've done as well as some really important apps that I want to go through that honestly, without them I'm not sure my productivity throughout the week would be anywhere near where it is now. Blinkist. I've told about this app on my YouTube channel quite a lot, but I really do love it. It's a massive time-saver and it helps me essentially read an entire book within 10 to 15 minutes. Because recently I've really been a bit obsessed about working as productively and as efficiently as possible, so not necessarily increasing the number of hours I work, but just getting more done in the hours that I do work. On this journey of essentially attempting to live as efficiently as possible, it got me thinking, when I read a book, it takes probably on average eight hours to go through an entire non-fiction book, and in that eight hours that I'm reading, I'm not physically doing anything else, I'm not working, I'm not creating, I'm just sat there reading. So how can I make this process more efficient? That's how Blinkist helps. Blinkist is an app that basically summarizes the key points of a non-fiction book in about 15 minutes, and these 15 minute summaries, they are called Blinks, so you can read them just like you would a book or you can listen to them just how you would an audio book. The app covers pretty much every non-fiction book you can think of covering everything from business, personal growth, psychology, and education. Blinkist has grown so much in the last few years. Its growth in terms of users downloading and using it has grown exponentially and it makes sense, I totally get it because a non-fiction book takes about eight hours to read, but it's very likely that you came away from reading that book, only learning and processing long-term, maybe two or three points of the book. But obviously an author can't really sell this just a few pages long with the main points so they fluff it out and Blinkist basically gets rid of all that fluff and gives you the most important takeaways in 15 minutes. I've been using Blinkist pretty much every day for about five or six weeks now. A Blink lasts for about 15 minutes and I shower for about 15 minutes, so when I wake up in the morning, I get a shower and I turn on the audio version of a Blink, and I put my phone on loudspeaker on in the bathroom, and so now every time showering which used to be dead time, so time that is not really productive, I'm just showering has now turned into 15 minutes of being productive and learning and growing at the same time. Last year I used to read quite a lot, but this year since I've downloaded Blinkist, I really don't feel the need to read anymore. I just feel like Blinkist is a more efficient way of essentially downloading information into your brain far more efficiently without having to read an entire book. Todoist. Todoist is maybe the most important app on my entire phone. In my opinion everyone should have a task list, whether it's on the phone, or pen and paper, or on their laptop, whenever. Everyone should have a task list, they just help so much when it comes to productivity. Todoist is just a simple task list. I've been using task list apps in my phone for as long as I remember, 10 or more years maybe. I've used so many, but I've been using Todoist for the last three years or so and it has become so integral to my overall productivity. However, recently I've started to change the way that I use this app. I used to use it just as a basic task list. If there was something that popped up during the day and I couldn't be done straight away, then I jotted down on the task list and that's how most people use their task lists. But a couple of weeks ago, I started to also write down the three most important tasks that needed to get done that day, and I do this the night before. As soon as I woke up in the morning, I knew exactly what I needed to do, and that for me has been massive. To write a task list for the next day, the night before, I start with the one task where if it was completed it would take me the closest to my overall goal. It's taken into account the 8020 Pareto principle, where 80 percent of outcomes are a result of 20 percent of action. So it's likely that 20 percent of your tasks result in 80 percent of your productivity. From all the task list apps that I've used, Todoist is the app that I found the most customizable. It's really basic and does exactly what I need it to do. You can customize it pretty much however you want and I've set my phone up so when I swipe left through my home screen, the task list is right there. What I like about this is that I've also put my most commonly used apps on that same page. Whenever I swipe left to use one of my most commonly used apps, which is at least, 10, 15 times a day, I'm constantly being reminded that I have tasks left on my task list, so it's almost impossible to forget that I still have tasks to do because they're always right there in front of you. Focus To-Do. The Focus To-Do app is again, a really basic and simple app, and you might be starting to see a theme here, the apps that are the most basic and do just one job, but they do that one job incredibly well, they tend to, at least in my opinion, be the best apps to use. This app, it basically just forces you to study. That's all it really is. You set a timer for how long you want to study, if you're using the Pomodoro Technique way you're studying 25 minute blocks with five minute breaks in between, then you set it for 25 minutes and you can have options where you can set it so that it locks your phone while you're studying so you're not tempted to get distracted while you're supposed to be studying. There are loads of features on it, for example, you can turn on relaxing background music through the app or turn on full screen mode, and if you do feel tempted to close the eye when the timer is counting down, then it will give you five seconds to go back onto the app and it won't stop vibrating your phone until you do, so a really nice feature to have. Forest. The Forest app is very similar to the Focus To-Do app in that it's basically a Pomodoro timer, and just like the Focus To-Do app, it can be used to significantly boost your productivity when you're studying. Basically you set the Pomodoro timer. When you start a timer, a tree starts growing, and if you stop the timer or you close the app, then you kill the tree. Obviously, no one wants to kill a tree, so it encourages you to keep studying until the timer rings and you can then take a break, and after a while you can build a forest, and it's nice because it gamefies your studying. It makes things just that tiny bit more interesting than a standard Pomodoro timer. Your calendar widget. I think it's really important that your productivity apps on your phone are the easiest apps to access. So as soon as you unlock your phone right there on your home screen, are your most productive apps, or it just takes one swipe from your home screen and you're there, or at least that's how I've customized my phone. So on my home screen you can swipe left and you get to the task list and most commonly used apps, but if you swipe right, you arrive at the calendar widget. This app right here, pretty much organizes my entire life. During the day I often have a lot of things to remember, a lot of important dates or appointments or meetings, and it's almost impossible to remember everything going on in my life. That's where your calendar widget comes in. Pretty much my entire life is on the widget and I liked this app because if you have an important meeting or appointment or whatever, you can set a reminder one hour before the time, so it's really difficult to forget anything you have going on during that day. I probably use this app, seven or eight times a day at least. Like I said, I really don't know what I'd do without my phone scheduling everything for me, and just like that Todoist app is super customizable and I like that I can change the background and color of the text so that throughout my entire phone when I scroll left or right, all the apps and widgets look like they belong together. All the apps use the same color and use the same theme with white text and icons. Well, everything is set in my commonly used apps, and I purposely keep these with their original icons just so I can recognize them in a split second, when I need to find a specific app which would take a lot longer if they were all white, if they all look the same. Those are my most important productivity apps that I have on my phone and are absolutely integral to my overall productivity. I really do think that our smart phones are just phenomenal pieces of technology that we often take for granted, but there's such a powerful tool in terms of becoming more productive and being more knowledgeable and helping with our education providing we use them in the right way. 14. The Power of the Word 'No': When it comes to productivity, being able to turn people down is an incredibly important skill to have. It's something that while I was at university, I did struggle with and it did affect my productivity. About two months before starting my first year university, I read the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It's an incredible book. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to improve the relationships around them, whether it's business relationships, social relationships, romantic relationships, whatever. The book really focuses on providing value for the other person. In any relationship, you should be aiming to give at least 51 percent of the value to the relationship. Meaning you should be giving into the relationship more than you're getting from the relationship. If you're giving 51 percent, they're giving to you 49 percent. But the book really focuses on giving 60 percent or 70 percent of relationship. But really this can have a massive detrimental effects when it comes to productivity. I'll give you an example. Our university, I did quite well. I stayed on top of my studying and I was getting decent grades. Naturally, a lot of my friends would come to me for help with best studying, and I was absolutely fine with that. I liked helping them out, no problem at all. But it got to a point where so many people were coming to me for help with the studying that it started to significantly hinder my own studying, particularly if someone was panicking the night before the exam because they had left their studying till the last minute, and then they'd ask me for help. Obviously, the night before the exam is a pretty important time when it comes to revision. I had to learn to say no, it wasn't until the third year at university. What I learned, the power of the word no. There's a fine line between giving so much value to relationship, just like the book How to Win Friends and Influence People teaches and encourages and being taken advantage of. I remember watching an interview a while back, maybe two or three years ago actually with Tim Ferriss. Here was saying that the problem is, once you've reached a certain level of success, you can become a target for people who want your help with things that are important to them. As much as you might want to help, progress depends on remembering to have your most important tasks, stay as your most important tasks, and don't let other tasks that are not quite as important, takeover. Tim Ferriss mentioned how some of the most famous and successful people have turned him down. What he found was that successful people say no to about 90 percent of things that they're asked for. They simply just don't have the time to take advantage of every opportunity. He also mentioned how he doesn't check his email because when you receive an email from someone is usually them needing something from you, which probably won't benefit you. Now, I don't know whether I'd recommend going so far as not check your email in the name of productivity, but it's just an example of how often we get asked to help someone else out to the detriment of our own productivity. If you don't take care of yourself and your own needs, you'll find you have increasingly little of yourself to give, both to your own priorities and the projects for the people in your life whom you want to help. As James Clear, author of Automatic Habits wrote, "The ultimate productivity hack is saying no" Not doing something will always make you faster than doing it. The truth is that we say yes to many things we don't actually want to do. For example, social events. We were asked to go to, but we don't necessarily want to go. I mean, I'm sure you've been in a situation where someone has asked you to do something and automatically your reply is, yeah, sure. A few days later you're overwhelmed by how much is on your to do list. We become stressed from our own obligations, even though we were the ones who said yes to them in the first place. Now, after saying all of that, a disclaimer, I'm not telling you to say no to everyone that asks for help. The book How to Win Friends and Influence People is absolutely correct, in my opinion, in encouraging people to give more than 50 percent value to any relationship, but at the same time, a balanced dose needs to be stroke. I'll finish off with a quote from Peter Drucker that pretty much sums up this whole lesson. "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." 15. Procrastinate Productively: Procrastination can be okay. We all procrastinate to some extent. Even me, I'm filming this productivity class right now, but I still procrastinate every now and then. But with this lesson, I really want to get across this idea that if you want to procrastinate, there's a right way and there's wrong way to go about it. I'm not going to be unrealistic and say, never procrastinate, because that is just unrealistic. In some ways, procrastination, it can be a good thing. It gives us a break. It allows us to rest and recover and recharge, but it's when you procrastinate too much, and then it becomes a problem. It's like socializing. You need to socialize and hang out with friends every now and then. It's good for your mental health, is an awesome stress reliever, and as humans, we need to socialize. We've evolved to be social creatures. But problems arise when you prioritize your social life over your education. In this lesson, I want to present to you the idea of procrastinating productively. Instead of procrastinating like a lot of students do like binge watching Netflix or scrolling through social media. Instead of doing those things, you procrastinate by watching educational videos on YouTube, or you're watching documentaries. You're doing things that are interesting, but they're also educational. I often ask the students that I coach, "How many hours in the day do you waste, and how many days in the week do you waste?" The answer I normally get back is, about 4-6 hours a day is wasted on things that just aren't helping in the long term, like watching YouTube, watching Netflix, social media, things of that nature. Let's say you waste four hours every day doing mundane things, that's about 28 hours a week, or 112 hours a month, or approximately 1,344 hours a year. Let's say if your time is worth $10 an hour, which is a very low estimation, your time is probably worth far more than that. But let's say for argument's sake, it's worth $10 an hour, so wasting over $13,000 a year. That's a lot of money you're wasting, and you're wasting that money right now. What would happen if you took that time that you're wasting procrastinating? You take that 4-6 hours a day and you turn it into productive procrastination. Let's say you spend just two hours watching YouTube, and not watching YouTube videos that are good for you, but watching in a mindless way that people do when they're not really paying attention, they're just wanting to waste time. How about you try this to start off? How about you watch a documentary for two hours instead? So something that you're studying. If you're studying economics, then a documentary on the US, China trade wars. If you are studying medicine, then a documentary on the COVID pandemic. At least you'll be learning something, at least you'll be becoming more knowledgeable and it will be building you up. The term "you are what you eat" is thrown around quite a lot. But it is also true you are what you consume. We are products of our environment. We are what we watch, we are what we listen to, we are what we think about all day. You need to program your mind and you do that by the content that you consume. Instead of listening to music on your commune, what about listening to podcasts, or listening to audio books, or subjects that are in line with the life that you want to create. If you remove that two hours of wasted time, binge-watching pointless videos on YouTube, and instead you replace it with two hours of content consumption in a subject that will actually benefit you down the line, a subject that you want to be an expert in, a subject that you want to build a career around, within 2-3 years, you can be in the top five percent of your industry. It's not just the content that you consume, but what about the things that benefit you that you enjoy doing? Let me give you an example. Sometimes if I don't want to work, maybe, I'm feeling tired or maybe I don't know, I didn't sleep well that night, so I'm just not in the mood to study, my natural reaction would to be procrastinate. But instead of procrastinating, I go to the gym, or I go for a run. Is still procrastinating because I'm not doing the work that I should be doing, but it's a healthy kind of procrastination. After going to the gym, firstly, I'll feel good about myself, and so I'll often be more motivated to start being productive with my work environment. But I'll also feel more energized and awake, because exercising increases the heart rate, and it improves the blood flow meaning that when I get back to work after going to the gym, I'll be far more productive. Because once you get out of the mindset of trying to kill time on Instagram, or trying to kill time on YouTube, and instead you use those social media platforms and start investing that time on building yourself up and making yourself more knowledgeable and smarter and more inspired, it will dramatically improve the quality of your life in terms of your happiness, in terms of your health, in your finances, in your relationships around you. It's a no brainer. Start following people that inspire you. Subscribe to YouTube channels that pope you up rather than just suck all your time. Surround yourself with a digital network that encourage you to become the best version of yourself, because what happens if you don't? What happens if every time you continue to just throw hours of your day out of the window? Well, the short-term and long-term consequences. The short-term consequences, you feel bad. It's uncomfortable knowing that you're wasting your life. You've been given this one life. You've been put on this earth to achieve incredible things, but you just go on and waste it. It doesn't feel good. Then the long-term consequences, you fail your exams, you don't get into the university you wanted to go to, you end up with a mediocre job and live just above the poverty line, just like most people do, because if you're wasting so much time when you're this young, who's to say you're going to change that habit in five or 10 years time when you're working. If you continue to waste your time, you know how bad it can get. You failed exams because you didn't use your time efficiently. You've had relationships negatively affected because of this. You know the opportunities you've missed, because you've spent so much time procrastinating, you know how bad it can get. I'm so passionate about this message because I'm trying to get this message across, we should at least consider stopping just mindlessly letting life pass us by, because I lived most of my life like that up until about seven years ago when I made the decision to solve my life out and live more intentionally, and start putting more effort in. I realized that the more effort that I put in, the more I put into life, the more I get out of it. But in many ways, I'm glad that I wasted a lot of my youth spending 14 hours a day playing video games, neglecting my studying, living life in a very passive way because I learned so much along the way. I know how bad it can get. I was a little bit late getting into the game, but I was still young, my late teens, early 20s when I started to make that transition from being unmotivated and unproductive and wasting so much of my life, to actually getting back on track and putting in the work, and making things happen. Now, I'm so much more motivated to teach others not to live like that because honestly, it's depressing. Is such a waste. I'm wanting to use the transformation that I've made in my own life and trying to inspire others to also make the same transformation, or a similar transformation too which is a big underlying reason why I do what I do and why I'm filming this course right now. This whole lesson in one sentence, instead of procrastinating like most people do, try procrastinating with activities that are both fun and educational, and bringing you closer to a happier and healthier life. 16. The White Flag: Sometimes, if my day doesn't go as planned for whatever reason, I might be feeling tired. There might have been a lot of things come up that destructed me. If I've had a particularly unproductive day, by the time it comes to late afternoon or early evening, and I still haven't got anything done, then sometimes, I'll just write the whole day off. I'll surrender it to the procrastination. Essentially, fly my white flag, which is a strange concept that I'm talking about in a class about productivity, to just give up if you're having an unproductive day. But let me explain. These, we'll call them white flag days. They're actually factored into my monthly schedules. At university, I studied seven days a week. That was eight hours a day, every day from Monday to Saturday. On Sunday, I studied four hours a day. But at the same time, I told you that I treated university like a 9:00-5:00 job. But even with 9:00-5:00 jobs, you don't have to work seven days a week. Usually, you'd work Monday to Friday, and then you'll have the weekend off. That's the way society has trained us to live. It's how school is structured. We go to school from Monday to Friday, then we don't have to attend classes on the weekend. But I do things a bit differently, and this works for me. In fact, it works really well for me. I studied seven days a week at university because I loved learning. I loved studying. I didn't necessarily need a full weekend off. These days, I work seven days a week, again, because I love working. I love my job. I don't need an entire 48 hours off from work a week. However, like most people, I have the odd day here and there where I'm feeling a bit tired or just not really myself and my productivity takes a hit. I'm just not feeling good for whatever reason. That's when I surrender to procrastination and take the rest of the day off. It's because I don't have a set day off from work. I don't plan to have a day off every Saturday and Sunday like a lot of people do, but instead, I just go with the flow. If I feel like having a day off during the week because I'm being particularly unproductive that day, then I will. But at the same time, though, it's important that if you live your life this way, that you don't take advantage of the fact that you are able to just write the whole day off when you're feeling tired. I write the entire day off, maybe once or twice a month. It's not often at all. I only do it when I'm having a seriously unproductive day. It's one of those days where, you just can't drag yourself to the desk. But you're literally too tired, or they're just so many distractions being thrown at you, and it's 3:00 PM in the afternoon, and you still haven't got anything done. Like I said, we all have our bad days. We all have days where we're incredibly unproductive, and it just seems like nothing is going our way. But it's important that if we write that day off that psychologically, you start a completely fresh day the next day. You learn what made you unproductive the day before, and you put in place steps so that it doesn't happen again. For example, if you got caught up watching a series on Netflix that you became addicted to, then the next day you maybe use that as a reward for after you finish your studying, thereby giving you more motivation and more reason to study. At the end of the day, we all need breaks. We all need downtime to relax and to reach out. It's important that if you do have a super unproductive day, that you're not too hard on yourself because forgiving yourself doesn't mean letting yourself off the hook. It's not an excuse to not learn from your mistakes. But you just need to ask yourself, so I was unproductive today, how will I move on and change it for tomorrow? Don't be scared to write off the day every now and then, but do make sure that number 1, you don't do it too often. Number 2, you learn what it is that it's making you unproductive, and you don't allow it to happen the next day. This lesson is really important when it comes to mental health. This idea that you should be pushing yourself when it comes to productivity, to try and complete as many important tasks as you can throughout the day, but without pushing yourself so much that it's negatively affecting your health. If you have any questions about it, please let me know in the comments section. I'd love to hear from you. 17. Final Thoughts: Throughout this course, I really wanted to get the message across that our productivity is not something that we can just master in a day or two days or a week or a month. Procrastination is a real problem. To be honest, I don't think it ever really goes away. I still procrastinate nowhere near as much as I used to but I still procrastinate every now and then and I'm sure that probably 99 percent of people on the planet still procrastinate to some extent. But the idea here is to really control your procrastination to rein it in. It's not something that you can fix straight away, but instead it takes incremental steps of consciously making an effort to curb it. Because I've coached thousands of students in all corners of the planet helping them boost their productivity, and I noticed that it's the students that have some kind of structured feedback loop in place. Those are the students that are really able to eventually master their productivity, the students that learn from their mistakes every single day. They're course correcting all the time. So one day they might procrastinate a bit longer than normal. So that night they analyze what caused that procrastination. Then the next day, they take actionable steps to minimize that same thing from happening. After going through this course, I do want to mention this. Productivity is important. Of course it is we all know that. That's why we're here right now. But what's more important is your physical and mental health. By all means, push yourself, steer towards obstacles, put yourself in difficult situations, challenge yourself, test yourself. Always be striving, but never at the detriment of your mental and physical health. Your health should always be prioritized above everything. With that, I want to say thank you for sticking to the end of this course. If you're looking for more study advice or just need some more help in general with your studying, then check out my YouTube channel, Project Elon, where I have literally hundreds of videos on how to increase your productivity and just become a better student in general. One last thing. If you want to leave me a review as well, I'd love to hear from you and know what you think about this course. I'm going to be making more study advice courses just like this one. How to study for 12 hours a day, study habits, memorization techniques, that kind of thing. So stay tuned. With that, I hope you-all have an amazing day. I wish you all the luck in the world with your occurring exams, and I'll see you in the next course.