45 Little-Known Tricks That Help Me Do My Homework

Sunday, April 1, 2018

"I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it," Bill Gates.

It's all about me. I'm too lazy to do my homework. My Mom said that I would never succeed if I don’t make effort. However, I’ve spent hours, days and weeks looking for easy ways to study. And I’ve found them. I did thousands of experiments. Some of them worked, while others didn't.

Here's the result - my exclusive collection of tried and tested methods to study smarter, not harder or longer. Enjoy!

  1. Quick hot button combinations. I feel that these shortcuts saved hours of my life. It does make a difference. There are lots of them, but here are the most essential ones for Windows I like best:
    • Ctrl + A =select all
    • Ctrl + C = copy
    • Ctrl + V = paste
    • Ctrl + X = cut
    • Ctrl + Z = undo
    • Ctrl + I = italic
    • Ctrl + B = bold
    • Ctrl + U = underline
    • Shift + F3 = change the letter case
    • Ctrl + Shift + G = check word and symbol count
    • Ctrl + Shift + F = change font.
  2. Searching docs. Don’t tell anyone, but I never read an article or a dissertation in whole. I always used the combination Ctrl + F to search the document. I chose the keywords I needed and enjoyed myself in the time I spared.
  3. Academic phrase bank. Your life can get way easier if you have amazing clichés for using in your academic papers. It can be a great source of inspiration. You’ll never waste time staring into a blank screen. Whenever you open your phrase bank, new ideas will pop out from it. The following phrases are just right for any paper. Simply fill in the gaps:
    • It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact...
    • X is a common symptom characterized with...
    • Over the past decades there has been a dramatic increase in...
    • However, these rapid changes are having a significant effect on...
    • A major problem with this program is...
    • There has been little discussion about...
    • This essay examines/ critically discusses/ analyzes...
    • The results of this research support the idea that...
  4. Googling like a pro. Sometimes I used only Google to do my homework. Of course, at a certain point when your subject gets overly complicated, it doesn’t work. However, at the beginning of a course, Google can be really helpful. Add the following shortcuts to your Google search entries to discover specific results:
    • Use quotation marks "" to get an exact match;
    • use an asterisk * to denote anything in your search;
    • use autocomplete to discover available options;
    • use filetype:, site:, inurl: to find only certain types of files or search within a certain site;
    • search alternatives by using 'vs.' or ‘better than’.
  5. Listening to my recorded voice. Instead of writing it out or speaking it out, I recorded my own voice and then listened to it. You need only to try it to understand how effective it can be.
  6. Testing myself. There’s nothing like practice tests for learning something.
  7. Taking power poses. Some of the recent studies have revealed that there's a direct relationship between the level of confidence and cognitive potential. That’s why taking a power pose (making a high V with your hands and/or sitеinп straight and relaxed) will help you study more efficiently.
  8. The right music. Whereas you may want to listen to your favorite music while studying, it may be too relaxing. A better option is listening to classic music, jazz or any new genre you’re not accustomed to.
  9. Free databases. From my experience, there’s often no need to buy a textbook if you can find it for free online. Here are my go-to free databases:
    • textbooknova.com
    • enbookfi.org
    • ebookee.org
    • eknigu.com
    • manybooks.net
    • Gutenberg.org
    • feedurbrain.com
    • freetextbooks.com
    • 2020ok.com
  10. Reading before bedtime. It’s a proven fact that during sleep, our brain perfectly processes the information. That’s why reading something right before dozing off will help you easily commit it to your brain.
  11. Repeated short study sessions. 10 half an hour study sessions are much more effective than a single 5 hour study marathon.
  12. Flash cards.
  13. Yoga brain poses. Just a couple of sun salutations can help you improve your blood circulation and boost cognitive processes.
  14. Exercising. Any workout can help you get energized and better motivated.
  15. Meditation. In many cases, simply sitting motionless and looking into the wall can improve concentration and clear your thoughts.
  16. Dozing off. Even if it seems that you absolutely have no time for it, power napping is a great solution.
  17. Right time for studying. Whereas everyone may have different time of peak productivity, schedule is important. If you study every day in the same time, your brain will get accustomed and it will work more effectively at that time.
  18. A balanced nutritious diet. Even though fast food is a quick solution, it doesn’t give you the valuable nutrients to feed your brain.
  19. Brain boosting foods and drinks. Nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, coffee, fruits and berries are the legit doping that can help you do your homework.
  20. Chewing gums. Numerous studies have proved that chewing gums make you better concentrated.
  21. A careful record of assignments.
  22. Auto-pilot of some study habits. Develop useful study habits and auto pilot them. For instance, get used to reviewing noted before and after a lecture doesn’t take you long, but it may have immense effects.
  23. Use of dead time. Posting flashcards on the bathroom mirror and reading them while standing in a dentist’s line is my favorite lazy way to study.
  24. Colors. Green can boost your concentration, while red alerts you and keeps you energized.
  25. Frequent short breaks. Your memory best retains what you study first and last. That’s why not gluing yourself to a chair until you whole homework is done is useless.
  26. Eat a frog first. Do the hardest and most boring tasks first when you have enough energy for them.
  27. Rewards for small goals. Call a friend or eat an apple after reaching an intermediate goal.
  28. Small specific goals. Instead of starting your work with a goal "I will write my dissertation until my fingers bleed", set a more specific goal: "I will write an introduction section today".
  29. Mnemonic rhymes. E.g. I before E, except after C.
  30. Acronyms. E.g. FANBOYS: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So – the little conjunctions used in compound sentences.
  31. SQ3R method. The SQ3R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review. This method is extremely effective, no matter whether you think you’re a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner.
  32. Times New Roman is the fastest font to read, just so that you know.
  33. Speed up your lecture recordings. If you record your lectures, try speed up recordings.
  34. Cheat sheets. Whenever you don’t understand something, write it down on paper. Even if you never use these cheat sheets, simply making them can help you.
  35. Block distractions. But for apps blocking distracting sites, such as Anti Social and Stay Focsd, I would never do some of my homework.
  36. Apps to study on the go. Simple Mind for mind mapping and Dragon Dictation for writing down what I say are my favorite apps that help me stay organized and never waste a minute.
  37. Google Translate for editing. Simply copy your text into a Google Translate window and listen to it. In most cases, it'll help you detect errors.
  38. Citations generators. Bibme.org and citationmachine.net are my favorite tools for citing papers.
  39. Healthy lifestyle.
  40. No to coffee.
  41. No to all-nighters.
  42. No to multitasking.
  43. Hypnosis. Boost your confidence by repeating to yourself: "I can do it", "I'm gifted".
  44. Sleep studying. Believe it or not, but listening to audio books while sleeping somehow improved my results. Of course, I never relied solely on this method.
  45. A good laugh. Did you know that 15 minute laugh is equal to 2 hours of sleep?

And just to show you the amount of crazy experiment I had, here are a couple of methods that didn’t help me do my homework in any way:

  • studying in different places;
  • reading it aloud;
  • finding a partner for studying;
  • writing it out.

So, that's what always helped me do my homework. Do you use any of these strategies or do you have any other secret study tactics?

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