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How do you guys deal with extreme procastination?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by PokerDoc, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. PokerDoc

    2+ Year Member

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    Seriously, I seem incapable of just locking down and studying for and hour or two and then taking a break and repeat.

    i seriously have to look at the internet (damn my notes for all being in pdf format) every 10 seconds, txt someone, check my email, or keep refreshing webpages that havent changed for the last 2 hours, before i will even think about studying my notes.

    Ill be good for 10 minutes and then again before I realize it I'm talking to someone or reading the same 5 webpages again.

    its driving me nuts but im finding it so hard to just study my notes.
     
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  3. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna
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    why dont you just save all of your pdfs to your computer, disconnect the internet, and then study from that?
     
  4. Random Anesthesiologist

    Random Anesthesiologist Random Anesthesiologist
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    This is how I study....

    Classes are from 8-12am and afternoons are free, sometimes dotted with labs.

    I pack my breakfast, lunch and snacks to get me through until dinner and go to the med library. There's a little nook in the upstairs I've found to be quiet and private and I make a little nest.

    I set up my computer and make a to-do list of what I have to study - usually outlining the lectures and corresponding readings for the day I just had.

    I hook up my earplugs and listen to classical music and study. After every hour I give myself a 10 minute break to check e-mail, send texts, go potty, whatever.

    I have my food and drink right there so I don't get hungry/thirsty.

    I stay until my objectives are done for lecture work and go home for dinner. After dinner, I usually work out, go over structures in cadaver lab, or study for an upcoming quiz/lab.

    It changes for exam prep, but this is basically what I do.
     
  5. number

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    Just use the internet at school and do not pay to have it at home.
     
  6. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna
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    how does that help? OP said he/she needed it to access pdfs. It doesnt matter if the OP is at home or at school, the internet is still available and distracting.
     
  7. Concordia

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    Save the PDFs onto your laptop at school and look at them at home (had to do that pretty frequently b/c the Internet at my place would die every so often).
    Or print the PDFs on the school printer (hopefully you get free printing at your school) and study with your computer turned off.
    Or join the gunners you must have in your class. Just study in the same areas they study...sooner or later, having a bunch of people study determinately gets you in the mood to review some lecture material.
     
  8. themudphud

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    I'm same way. But if you are aware of the problem, sometimes it's easier to deal with. If I'm about to break and check email, I'll think about the fact that I'm procrastinating and that'll help me go back to the studying.
     
  9. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    My routine in medical school and even today is to set the timer for 50 minutes. Study 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute break, on the timer too, then back to another 50 minutes of studying. On my break, I could walk around, get a drink, look at e-mail or do anything that wasn't studying.

    My 10-minute break was my reward for keeping my mind on my studying for those 50 minutes. I knew that if something kept entering my mind, I could write it on a piece of paper and think about it (do it) on my break. When I came back from my break, I was ready to focus.

    It isn't so much procrastination as the fact that my attention span for studying is about 50 minutes long. Sitting for hours at a stretch and staring at a paper/laptop screen was not for me and not very efficient. Sometimes, I would take my papers and pace while I studied too. Getting the blood flowing helped by some movement worked.

    I also found that extreme quiet was counter-productive. I would listen to anything with my earphones which helped me to hone in on what I needed to master. Some of my best studying was done at the airport or in one of the subway stations where there was plenty of noise.
     
  10. HPSPpayissues

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    Are you passing all your courses?
     
  11. PokerDoc

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    haha yeah easily, i wish i could get honors tho!
     
  12. WellWornLad

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    I don't think you can trick yourself into working. It's a question of willpower. If you're passing then you probably don't have much motivation to change things. I mean, it'd be nice to get honors, but if it's not nice enough to you personally to keep your head in the books, you're fighting a losing battle.

    Maybe this wallpaper will help:

    http://interfacelift.com/wallpaper/details.php?id=1223
     
  13. number

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    Download the pdf's to your laptop at school and then study them at home, away from the distraction of the internet. I did this for most of first semester.

    This worked well, but eventually I decided that I had the self control to handle the internet at home.
     
  14. Textuality

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    Haha, I'm kind of like that too...but I'm passing everything without needing to cram also. I think next semester I'll start studying in the library instead of at home, fewer distractions there and better lighting.
     
  15. number

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    Library is ok but I cant ever get comfortable there because I get self conscious being visible to others. If I feel like picking my nose, talking to myself, or doing other weird stuff, I do not like to worry about others observing me.
     
  16. medhearter

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    There was a time I had procrastination all figured out.
    And it involved using those computers that have proxy servers blocked
    so most sites dont work - no email, no fb

    that was one productive day
     
  17. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    Yeah I'm the same way, trying to fix the same problemn even though I'm having no problem passing. It's not even that I want to honor in everything, it's that I want to study faster so that I go the frick home and relax. Checking the internet every 10 minutes is just as useless in terms of relaxing as it is in terms of studying.

    So far the two things that have improved my output:

    1) Whenever possible, leaving the computer behind. There are a lot of courses I've found I can study for from paper printouts of the notes, exclusively. If I go to a room and study those sans laptop I'm generally WAY more productive

    2) Silent study groups. It doesn't sound like something that would help but the study groups I usually review with (maybe once a week) have started silent studying together as well. It makes it easier to be productive when you're embarassing eachother into productivity.

    Other suggestions welcome.
     
  18. Jwax

    Jwax Just a minor variation
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    I have the same problem. I think in addition to Medical Student Syndrome (diagnosing yourself with a billion bizarre diseases) there should also be Medical School induced ADD. The longest I am generally able to focus is about 30 minutes. Then I am burning to wander the internet. I've taken to making many, many mini-goals - i.e. read this chapter, read these 2 lecture notes, take this practice quiz, etc. followed by watching about 20 minutes of a TV show online. I have a billion shows I like so there is almost always something I can find to watch. This gives me a direct goal of "as soon as I get through these two lectures, I can watch a few minutes of the next episode of Entourage". It helps when I'm reaching burn out mode of reviewing. It is a little easier for me to focus when I am watching lectures for the first time, but there is just something about endless reviewing that bores the heck out of me.

    Anyways - that boils down to small goals and many rewards. Can be a little internet browsing time (which I've noticed I will tend to spend longer than 20 minutes on if I get caught up in anything), cooking dinner, taking a nice long, hot shower, some playstation time... yadda yadda.

    During our last test block, I had to cram pharm (140 drugs in ~10 hours). So I actually shut the computer off for about 4 hours and did a really good job focusing. So I've got to say that turning off the computer whenever possible is really helpful. Unfortunately, our printing isn't free and almost all my study material is on my computer... and I'm a tree hugger. So that doesn't happen very often.
     
  19. Occams Razor

    Occams Razor Hickam schmictum
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    Yep, same problem here. I get distracted with online TV and movies, instant messenger, radio, etc. Here's what I've tried:

    1) study at the public library. I feel more motivated when other people are busy studying around me.

    2) print out the PDFs. If they are locked/password protected, there is software online that can unlock it so you can print.

    3) reserve a portion of the night JUST for TV/internet before you go to sleep. Maybe 1 hr, 2 hrs...enough for you to get your fill, then shut it down. I reserve 10pm-12am for TV and internet.

    4) dont focus on the entire day. Set goals for each hour--ex. this hour i'm going to learn the urea cycle. Give yourself ample time to complete the goal- things often take longer than expected.

    5) put a portable clock in front of you when you are on the computer. You will be less likely to waste time when you see how long you have spent looking at BS online...this is why there are no clocks in casinos.

    6) if you're the competetive type, remember that while you are on the computer, one of your classmates is studying their ass off, learning the material, and vying for a better Step score than you. they will get a better residency than you, and make more money than you. whatever you need to give yourself a kick in the booty.

    7) if you're the compassionate type, remember that someone somewhere has a metabolic disease or infection, and they are waiting for you to learn the material competently so you can diagnose them accurately. Don't let them down!

    Just some ideas.
     
  20. Occams Razor

    Occams Razor Hickam schmictum
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    Oh...one other suggestion. If you really want to break yourself from internet addiction, block sites you keep going to. Choose to password protect them, close your eyes, and slap random keys on the keyboard. click OK, and you will never view those sites again. Unless, of course, you guess 9v0klmp5fna as a password!
     
  21. goosedander

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    I like these. I'm a big fan of strategic self-deception. Not that that's what these are necessarily.
     
  22. rkaz

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    Awesome ideas... #6 and 7 definitely were interesting perspectives. I'll have to print this out. Thanks! :thumbup:
     
  23. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    I'm distracted horribly by the Internet (see post count for details). I tried for a while in my first semester to study with a laptop so I could use powerpoints and look up things online that I didn't know, but it was a waste. So I would find the study materials I needed most - I'd have the course syllabus and a text/review book - and I'd go somewhere that didn't have the Internet. It helped me not to use too many different sources to learn. When I studied in undergrad, I'd have pages all over the table and lots of books and various websites to explain things, but it's too inefficient for me. For several classes in med school, I only used the syllabus.

    I never studied at home, because my home computer has cool games, my DVR has some cool TV shows, my kitchen has great food, my wife would love to spend time with me, and I could tidy this place up too....

    So I studied at the public library down the street, in the med school library, or in the study rooms at school. Now that I live across town from school, I go study at my undergrad. When I studied at school or the public library, both of which had the Internet, I'd severely limit the websites I would allow myself to check - I'd browse SDN and read some medical blogs, and that was it. Most of the rest of the Internet is too inappropriate to look at in a public place anyways.

    I took lots of study breaks, played pool with a friend, drank endless amounts of Mountain Dew from the soda machine, etc., but I stayed much more focused than I ever could at home. It worked pretty well for me. This way, as soon as I got home, I felt completely free from any obligation to study.
     
  24. bodonid

    bodonid Dr. Spaceman
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    I too am a fan of "unplugging" to study.

    I like to study for a block of two hours or so, then move somewhere else, repeat. I write things down to google them later. If you study and eat at the same time, study for awhile before you eat, then eat and then study afterward.

    I use a text (usually), the course notes, my notes, but always for a single subject, maybe two. If you bring anatomy, embryology, histology and biochemistry, you won't study as efficiently. Plan what you are going to study before you do it, but I wouldn't plan more than a few days in advance in case something comes up or you want to study more.
     
  25. Fakesmile

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    Three words:

    Suck it up.
     
  26. marcus8

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    I have the same problem. One of the things that kind of helps me is to listen to music that I really enjoy. I can still concentrate on what I am reading, and I am doing something that I enjoy at the same time. I actually look forward to reading because I get to listen to my favorite music.
     
  27. medaholic

    medaholic short-coat
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    I don't blame you for having a short attention span, it's just the way our culture is going right now. Everything is instant, instant, instant.

    Your problem isn't so much procrastination as it is distraction, so the best way is to remove all distractions.

    Go offline. Unplug your computer from the internet. Only have medical information around you. Be in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed and can study for large blocks of time. Don't study near a TV. If you're going to talk to your study buddy, part ways.

    As for procrastination, the only way to deal with that is a deadline. Nothing gets things done faster than a set date to finish with consequences for not completing it.
     
  28. nars etc

    nars etc MS 0.5
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    I keep wanting to deal with my procrastination too, but other things just keep getting in the way...

    Maybe tomorrow.
     
  29. davidsf2

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    I should be doing my tax return, it's a week late already. Sitting in the library studying anatomy when I'm not (yet) a medical student is my way of avoiding of sitting down and getting on with what I should be doing.

    Find something really urgent and important to do and avoid it by studying.:thumbup:
     
  30. GreenShirt

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    I second using a timer. I study in 55 min cycles: 40 min study, 15 min break. I have a vibrating timer that's set to buzz at 40 and 15 min intervals (Invisible Clock II). I used to try to study for 1-2 hrs and was constantly losing focus like the OP. I realized I just needed more frequent breaks. If you know a break is coming up soon, you're more likely to study during your study block. The timer helps you stay on task too. Also, find something either than the internet to do during your breaks such as cleaning, reading or another activity that is easy to put down. The internet is harder to "put down" because you just want to keep clicking on links.
     
  31. CorazonDoc

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    I second this idea. You need to find yourself a study partner or group to meet up with a few times a week. Having people hold you accountable can be a huge help. Silent studying allows you to be more efficient but then occasionally ask each other questions when they arise. Best study method by far.

    One other strategy I used when I felt like I was procrastinating and giving a weak effort to studying (ie web-surfing and texting every 5-10 minutes) was to stop myself from trying to study altogether and completely blow off the books for the night or a few hours and do something fun. The next day I would usually feel guilty and at the same time refreshed and able to attack the studying again with more focus.

    As for the timer method, it sounds kind of miserable for my personality. Ding. Study study study. Ding. Rest for 10 minutes. Ding. Study study study. Ding. Go to the bathroom. Ding. Study study study. Ding. lose my mind. I'm sure it works for some though.
     

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