For a rainy day, this is a note to myself, and in case others might need fresh ideas to jump start one’s studies… I have listed things that help me to build momentum in my academic work. This list also works for sermon preparations.
Please share your study habits that work well for you!
This list is what works well FOR ME. But might be helpful to others…
Study tips for reading and writing
* exercise regularly
* eat healthy all the time!
* mood regulation – whatever you need, for me, this means no drinking
* sleep regular hours
* meditation – to help you focus and “declutter” your mind
* study at same time, same place – build a habit of studying
* start study time with prayer!
* take notes and highlight along the way while reading – quotes are helpful, but summaries are better if planning on writing paper later.
* make notecards of important chapters or book
* start writing paper with notes, summaries of readings (blank screen paralyzes me so I just put something down on the page!)
* create and maintain support of friends who cheer you on and friends you can cheer on in some way
* close web browser, and keep closing it!
* Pomodoro app – 25 min study, 5 min break (sometimes this helps me to keep studying, sometimes I use it to make sure I take breaks!)
* take breaks!
* celebrate accomplishments!
i’m finally on page 13 of my paper. it seems like it took an eternity to get past page 12! usually what happens when i get stuck on a page is that i keep revising and reorganizing. and so even though i’m writing the page number pretty much stays the same. but this week, i wasn’t making much progress at all until yesterday. i wrote and wrote and i was still on page 12 at the end of the day yesterday. but at least i was writing. all week long i couldn’t write new material for the paper.
i think what really helped is to work on the sermon for next sunday. as i started writing for the sermon, i just felt more comfortable writing. my sermon for next sunday is related to what i’m writing about. my paper is on nihilism. my sermon is about how we can find meaning and purpose in this meaningless world! i love it when my academic interests and religious interests intersect! that’s why i feel so blessed to be doing what i do. and that’s why i want to be able to keep doing what i am doing now. i study what i am interested in and i am interested in what i am studying! how cool is that? very very. 🙂
it’s a beautiful day today. i would have had graduation today if i finished the thesis on time. oh well. it’s not like i really wanted to go to the graduation anyway. but still, it would have been nice to have the option.
somehow i’m managing to write again. it’s amazing. since last night i’m writing and organizing my thoughts. how is this possible? wow. wow. wow.
yesterday was parents day in korea where my parents live. so i called mom then dad to thank them. in response they thanked me. huh? i guess they were thankful that i (really my sister who informed me that it was parents day in korea) remembered to call them. their expectation of me/us must be really really low. it’s all good. i’d rather surprise them than not meet their expectations.
i’m not sure what really changed…something seems different. why am i not afraid of writing a bad paper? how am i able to just write? when i talked to my dad yesterday he said that one has to finish what one started because otherwise it just feels icky, and the unfinished business will keep hanging over you all of your life. did that somehow motivate me? who knows? at times like this, it doesn’t matter what jump started my brain and got the creative juices flowing.
how could i have nothing to write about, right? i don’t know, lately i wanted to write a blog but couldn’t think of interesting enough things to write about. but then again maybe what i write isn’t really all that interesting in some sense. it’s still valuable to me that i can express myself and that i am connecting with others with the blogs.
in my wednesday group, someone mentioned how she can’t write anymore. to be precise, she said she couldn’t write anything good anymore. i told her that even if right now she feels that she can’t write anything interesting that the process of writing is still valuable. and i really believe that. i don’t think creative moments just strike us very often. instead, when we do “creative” things regularly, once we start doing it then we might find that creative juices start to flow.
i think i read an interview somewhere where the artist says that he or she religiously paints or writes and sticks to a rigorous work hours whether he or she feels creative or not. it’s true, when you start to write or paint or whatever, sometimes the sense of creativity and energy may come after you start, as you are engaged in the process.
i think maybe i have not been thinking about things so that i can avoid questions about the “meaning” of my life. i don’t know if i can finish my program, if i finished what i am going to do after i finish, and more importantly, what i would like to do with my life. living each day, trying to be productive each day is what i’ve been trying to do. maybe that’s all i can do at the moment.