Tag Archives: study

4 Simple Steps to Beat Procrastination


Motivation done right lets you motor through your to-do list like magic. Try this simple trick from London-based writer, Sidin Vadukut. Pair each chore on your daily to-do list with a short, sweet reward.

You are using a to-do list and a calendar to make short work of your academic tasks, aren’t you? Paper works great, but I’ve recently been playing with Wunderlist 2 and have been pleasantly surprised.

Here’s how it works…

  1. On your to do list add a fun to-do after each and every task.
  2. Assign your tasks (the fun ones and the less fun ones) a time to complete. That will keep you from letting things drag out or from over-scheduling yourself.
  3. Keep your fun to work ratio at about 1:10. For example, if I spend forty-five minutes studying my Econ homework, I might then allow myself five minutes of Smarter Every Day.
  4. Bask in the glory of a fully checked off to-do list.

Let us know your favorite rewards in the comments!

Read Sidin’s full article on fighting procrastination here.

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

GRE Prep Courses


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to find out more about all my GRE Prep Course offerings.


I decided to take the GRE with very little time to prepare. After two meetings with Cody, my score improved 12 points, and I scored above and beyond my goal during my official test. I would highly recommend giving him a call if you are preparing for the GRE. – Maverick N. –  Read what other students say

Lewis Knew It


So, ‘member how it’s good for your study stamina to take frequent breaks? Looks like Lewis knew it way back when.

“I would recommend anyone, who has to devote several hours together to one subject of thought, to try the effect of such a break, say once an hour, leaving off for five minutes only each time, but taking care to throw the mind absolutely ‘out of gear’ for those five minutes, and to turn it entirely to other subjects. It is astonishing what an amount of impetus and elasticity the mind recovers during those short periods of rest.”

Find out more timeless study superchargers in my ebook, Secrets Smart Students Know.

5 Simple Ways to Rule at Back-to-School


Yipe! School is hurtling at us like a ton of hurt. What to do? How can you prep now to kick massive academic kiester? Here are five quick and easy ways.

  1. Get a calendar you’ll actually use. I like gCal (Google’s calendar that comes with a gmail account) for its ease of use on most any device. Going old school? Cheap paper calendars rock. Don’t waste loads of time or money getting the perfect planner. Go for calendars that allow you to see at least one month at a glance–a semester at a glance is even better–and has room for ten to twelve items on each day. Avoid calendars that cost more than a cheap date or that feature pictures of soopah cutie-wootie kittens in sweaters. Or Justin Bieber. Or any Cardashian.
  2. Start using that calendar now. As soon as you have dates to put down, get them inked in; holidays, burfdays, road trips, class meetings, study groups, all night yarnbombing raids, end of semester dates, test dates, project due dates, colonoscopy dates, date dates, etc. Anything that will take more than thirty minutes should go on your calendar. The sooner you get it on there the better.
  3. Bust up big tasks into smaller chunks. Got a twenty-page research paper due in November? Break it down into small chunks–get research sources, write rough draft, bake brownies for prof, and the like–and put those chunks on your calendar too!
  4. Write down daily to-dos each and every day. Take five minutes in the AM or just before bed to transfer the next day’s calendar crud onto a to-do list. Assign each to-do a time–attend PHYS201 4:30-5:45, practice waxing w/ Mr. Miyagi from 6:30A-7A–so you’ll not only remember to do it, you’ll know about how long it should take, and what’s next on the agender.
  5. At the start of the week, map out the week. Sit down with your calendar once a week to look over upcoming commitments and revise, remove, and massage to make e’erthing fit.

These five easy steps–if you will make them part of your daily routine–will have you sailing through school all la-dee-dah while your roomies panic over missed assignments, cram and jam for their next exam, and generally muck it up.

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Prime Yourself for Success


What do the words in the following list have in common?

  • reliable
  • rock
  • steady
  • trustworthy
  • Abe
  • true
  • honest

Did you figure it out? They are all words that have to do with being reliable or trustworthy. Did you realize, however, that just thinking about these words has primed you (predisposed you) to view things in your environment–including what you are reading right now–as more reliable and trustworthy?

There is ample research to back this up. For a complete explanation of this and further resources, look here. You might also read the excellent book, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave, by Adam Alter for an absolutely amazing analysis of how environmental factors, like colors and symbols, have been proven to affect behavior, mood, and performance (HINT: Paint the opposing team’s locker room pink to sap their energy before a game. Paint your locker room red!)

So how can you use this to prime yourself for academic success? As you begin a study session, prime yourself with key words, images, and thoughts. For example, I might think about words like diligent, engaged, attentive, smart, and focused, in order to increase my ability to be all of those things during my next class. I could prime myself to be creative by thinking words like: creative, insightful, clever, smart, and weird. You can prime yourself with thoughts of strength and quickness for athletic tasks. This worked remarkably well for me when I learned of it and applied it during my high school football career.

Priming works on others as well, whether they realize it or not. One study found that just showing people words that remind them of old people–such as rocker, cane, dentures, wrinkles–made them walk slower compared to another group primed with non-geriatric lists of words.
“As a man thinketh, so is he.”
BONUS: Keep priming lists for key occasions. In my wallet or on a list on my smart phone I can keep lists of words that prime me for different activities and occasions. I look at the list and think carefully about what they mean, what they look like, and how they feel.
© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Get smarter during the summer?


Is it possible to actually get smarter during the summer whilst basking at the beach? Absolutely, yes! How? Take this semester’s notes and give them a light going over every week or two–while at the beach, if you like. Quiz yourself over them. Practice a bit. I’m not saying you’ve got to spend hours; just a little refresher every now and then. You’ll be transferring all that hard won knowledge into the vaunted vaults of your long term memory while the hottie with the pre-cancerous tan next to you is ever so slowly losing her spring semester learning and getting dumberer.

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Quick Formula For Mastering New Academic Material


Need a step-by-step formula for puttin’ the hurt on your current course load? Want to muscle through those killer classes and become a legend of learning? Here’s an idiot-proof way to step-up your academic game in three simple steps. Caution: This works best for non-skill-based classes such as, history, political science, sociology, biology, etc. rather than topics like physics, cage-fighting, foreign languages, and math.

First: Make sure you take thorough notes. You can’t master the material if you don’t remember what it was. For a more in-depth how-to on taking noteworthy notes–notes that will cause your professor to weep uncontrollably and set up a shrine to you in the staff lounge–look here. As you’re capturing those notes, be sure to get down the high-payoff items, and I mean payoff in terms of exam grades. You want only to study the info that will actually boost your GPA. Not sure if an item is going to be on the test? Continue reading Quick Formula For Mastering New Academic Material

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.