Tad Waddington

Tad Waddington Ph.D.


Become Smarter: Mix it up

How to prevent brain fill-up and freeze

Posted Nov 20, 2008

When studying a variety of subjects or working on a variety of projects, it is more difficult to do similar things right after each other than dissimilar things. For example, don't study English then your foreign language then math then science. Instead, study English, then math, then the foreign language, then science. Don't work on a report, then a presentation, then the budget, then taxes. Reorganize them so that the sequence goes: words, numbers, words, numbers so that you maximize the differences between topics each time you move to the next one.

A related trick that I use to beat procrastination is to organize my work such that I counterbalance words and numbers, computer and paper, reading and phone. Telling myself that I can do anything for ten minutes, I then set a countdown timer for ten minutes and work my way through the stack, forcing myself to spend at least at least ten minutes working on the unpleasant tasks. Importantly, the time doesn't have an alarm so that if I am enjoying the work, I am not distracted when time runs out and can keep working.

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