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Eight bad habits that successful students don’t have and how to avoid them

Top tips on how to be less like yourself and more like brain giants whose level we envy

Plan to work right up to the delivery

We, the “last minute” people, are extremely misunderstood. During my student career lasting millions of years, I saw hundreds of teachers, curators and fellow students whose eyebrows were so high until they started to disappear, when I accidentally made a reservation that yes, I really finished writing an essay 20 minutes before handing over and I hope that it will be good and without proofreading; Yes, I actually went to bed when 500 words were written, hoping to write the remaining 2000 between 3 and 9 am; Yes, I really thought that the city bus would be a great place to compile a bibliography. For those who do not understand this, the “last minute” is like laziness, lack of organization and bad faith. In fact, this is certainly not the case. Rather, it is a completely different way of thinking, in which you need the pressure of a limited amount of time and the calculation to use as much time for work as is available, right up to surrender. You finish the job, putting as much effort as anyone else, but later and, as often happens, more passionately.

The problem is that being “the man of the last minute” doesn’t mean so much to be lazy or unorganized, as it can and will really cause you trouble. I can mention too many examples when I had to end badly with what was in my focus because I was planning to do too much and too late. There was a case when I wanted to completely restructure the essay in 10,000 words the day before the submission, when there were still 2000 words left to finish, and I did not have time to place the links. Or when I was going to finish part of the course work on the morning of the day of surrender and woke up with a migraine, being unable to finish anything. Or hundreds of times when I gave away work with a lot of mistakes that I did not notice because I was too tired after a sleepless night.

If you are the person who finishes work at the last minute, and reading this, you feel an inner annoyance from all the terrible work that you have passed, because everything flew into the pipe at the last moment, then this trick can help you . Make yourself an installation: have something that you can already pass before 9 am on the day the work is to be transferred. It should not be perfect, but necessarily complete, written almost to the final version, formatted, with conclusions and references. If this implies that you have to stay awake for a long time or get up before dark, then so be it. Make the necessary changes a day before the deadline, but so that the final version is released, ready for delivery.

Use caffeine as an answer to all questions.

One cup of coffee or even Red Bull, drunk in a really hopeless situation, can demonstrate wonders, helping you to trick your thinking and zip through immeasurable amounts of work. But, using a larger amount, you will not achieve a significant difference and, on the contrary, you will find yourself in an unfocused, anxious, shaky and unhealthy confusion. Too much caffeine also hurts your heart and disrupts sleep patterns.

If it is difficult for you to concentrate or you have a feeling that you are working through the brick wall of fatigue, try to do more exercises – it has been proved once and again that a 30-minute intensive load for the heart several times a week works wonders with your mood, sleep and attention.

Work all night long

Angry sister of work until the last minute and an overdose of coffee – night vigil, my least favorite training support of all the rest. We all do that. For example, I’ve probably done this a hundred times. Once I watched the sun rise and set, rise and set again during the whole session in the library (I must say that it was in winter when the sun shines only for about 7 hours a day, but still it was a very depressing event).

Night vigils always look like a brilliant idea somewhere at 6 pm the day before you exercise them: you will have an additional 12 hours that are not found in ordinary life, without distracting moments, although you will probably have to eat and drink plenty of low-quality food and gallons of carbonated drinks to stay awake. In fact, if you are going to stay up all night, you can probably break free to rest for a while now … At about 9 pm, as soon as you had eaten all your snacks, we had a good rest and began to realize “how much you should have done” and “ what you would do more than anything else “, the feeling of self-satisfied determination begins to disappear. By 12 o’clock, after the third cup of coffee, you may feel fine, but around 2 o’clock in the morning your head will pulsate noticeably, your eyes will be bloodshot, itchy and mostly will be in a half-closed state. And by 4 am you will be already tired and hungry, so you can hardly read the words you just wrote, not to mention thinking about new ones. When you reread your work the next day, then when it is too late, you are horrified by the number of typos, spelling errors and sentences written at 6 am, which do not make any sense and just take up space on your page. Thus, if you can work the next day, personally, waking me up at night turns me into zombies for at least two days.

Of course, there are inevitable circumstances when part of the work takes more time than expected, or something goes wrong at the last minute. But, if only you are not one of those crazy night “people-owls” who sleep all day and work best at 3 o’clock in the morning, do not plan or rely on night waking hours. They are absolutely terrible and definitely do not contribute to good work.

Learn and be in social networks at the same time

Yes, we all do that when we have a lot of work and we know that it will take more than a few hours of concentrated effort. Then we want to make this process as fun as possible. There are many different ways to do this: either schedule meetings with people to have a snack or drink coffee, thus dividing your day into parts; or read the synopsis, sitting in the sun, and not in the library; either go to the library with a friend and interrupt work every few minutes to chat; either work at the same time and sit on Twitter or Facebook, while spending their academic and social life at the same desk.

In my personal experience, the last two ways to get around work are always a mistake. Speaking in popular science, our brains function at two different levels. The first level at which we usually think is quick, instinctive, emotional, and always motivates us to take action in response to our surroundings — this is how the brain helps us live a day so that the car won’t knock us down or the lion ate. But the human mind can also function in a slower, more logical and deliberative way, taking time to make decisions, seeking more serious answers and, which is the key point, allowing you to think creatively. This is the system of thinking, slow, creative and logical, which we should strive to use while working, be it a series of mathematical tasks or a process of writing something. And, in order to launch this system, the decisive factor is the removal from entertainment and the little things that trigger our instinctive reactions.

Being together with friends or sitting on Facebook may seem like a good way to make work less stressful and more fun, but this will make it difficult to concentrate and really get to the heart of the matter. This means that you need more time to solve certain problems, and the final decisions will be of poorer quality. Try to work alone, without entertainment, for 3-4 hours at once and you will be surprised at how much you have done, how much better your work and how much more time you spend on those things that you really want to do.

Work in your bedroom

At first it seems like a good idea to work in your room: it’s nice and comfortable, you can easily get tea or snacks and you don’t even need to be heavily dressed. But, as for me, this is a recipe for entertainment: either it is a clear call to eat something tasty in the fridge, encouraging us to take breaks every 5 minutes, or the temptation to watch TV, or the realization that I really need to wash it now I personally always find at home a reason to digress. Moreover, a day spent locked up in one room, when you have not seen anyone and have not achieved much, can leave you in a lonely, stressful state, which means that at the end of the day it will be difficult for you to disconnect and rest in the same room. No, where to go, so it is in the library.

Ignore problems

If you do not understand, cannot master something and you do not even have a clue how to start it, then it may seem to you that you are the only person in the world who does not succeed. I used to sit in mathematics and science classes for weeks on end, not understanding what was happening, and wrote something randomly to create the appearance that I was listening, while I was wandering in my fantasies, in which I tried hard to hit my neighbor with a graphing calculator on the head (she raised her hand to answer every question without exception) and giggled disgustingly if she suddenly answered incorrectly.

In those dark “natural history” days I did not understand that it doesn’t matter how hard or smart you are – everyone struggles from time to time with some themes or concepts. Absolutely no one can understand absolutely everything from the first time he heard it. What really makes you a successful student is how you cope with what is difficult for you. Instead of ignoring the heavy topics, focusing on what they are, and sad to say about the lack of “mathematical brains”, the best students identify the problem and cope with it in the initial stage. If they do not catch something in the classroom, they go home the same day and read their notes, textbook or outline, they ask the teacher or friend to explain to them again, so that the problem does not get worse, growing and causing more stress and so that later they would not understand even more.

Restrict work in the classroom

When you were younger, listen to a lesson in class, do your homework, and sometimes get a little ready for the test work here and there, it was probably sufficient to guarantee your brilliant performance. But as you grow up and begin to specialize, it seems that everything around you suddenly becomes more and more difficult, and teachers and curators seem to use lessons to throw a huge amount of information at you and cover everything in the world time, expecting you to leave and continue to work independently.

Starting from the last years of school, your success will greatly depend on whether you consolidate the material you learned along the way, changing the paradigm of trusting teachers and lessons to be more independent and devote extracurricular hours to make sure you understand everything. It sounds terrible, but in reality it is not very difficult if you do it regularly. Spend one or a few hours at the end of the week to read the recorded synopsis and important chapters in your textbook, sketching out some questions you want to ask, as well as making out everything that you don’t understand, with your teacher or with a book and practice difficult for you. moments. This will not only eliminate the gaps in your knowledge that appear in the process of learning, but will also assume that by the time you are going to repeat, you will have a good, complete synopsis, and you will be able to effectively repeat everything at once!

Stress if you fail

Even the best students sometimes fail, go wrong, make mistakes in examinations, or pass parts of jobs that fail completely. But just due to the fact that these students tend to study well, they are often fairly confident that they can make random mistakes, take it calmly and realizing that writing a bad one or even a whole series of essays does not exclude them from writing well next.

If you have failed one or several times, or even a whole year in a row, the most terrible thing you can do is letting your confidence die and stop trying. On the contrary, tell yourself that you are just as capable as anyone else, find out from your teacher what the problem really was, and work on correcting this error the next time. Perhaps you will fail again, but this should not cause you stress. When you make a mistake and learn from this lesson, you often understand better how to succeed than if you were lucky enough to hit the jackpot the first time.


I am Arnett Harrington, an award winning writer, editor and ghostwriter. I have over fifteen years of experience writing articles, blog posts, academic papers and papers for government agencies, government contracting agencies, nonprofit leadership organizations, and private business owners. I have experience writing press releases and reportage content for government-related industries such as defense, technology, aerospace, business, banking, and other sectors.