Don’t study like I write wedding thank you cards. Study like my wife wrote hers.
I got married in August (2017) and it was a BIG wedding. Then we went on a two week Honeymoon right afterwards and I can assure you no thank you cards were written while we were there.
When we got back my wife and I split the thank you card duty.
We sat down one Saturday and got started.
I probably did 20 cards to her 10 in the same amount of time. I was just faster. Secretly I thought I’d “crush” my duty way before she did.
But by the end of September my wife had written all of the cards in her pile and I still had dozens to go. I know, I know, never underestimate your wife.
You see, when I first wrote this it was December, 4 months after our wedding.
And while I may have had fewer cards left than before, I still needed to write dozens of them.
(And yes she was on my case about it).
Lessons in Consistency
So what happened?
I only wrote my thank yous when I had big blocks of time dedicated to doing it.
When I sat down and started I’d get a lot done in those periods of time. But I didn’t do anything in between.
As you know, it’s hard to find dedicated blocks of time. So time passed. And I procrastinated when I did find time. After a few missed sessions I was really crippled in terms of my forward progress.
Then that lack of progress got in my head.
I was stressed that I hadn’t finished. I was stressed that I wasn’t writing thank you cards. I was STUCK and it felt so hard to even write one even though when I was actually writing it felt easy.
Yeah. It’s exactly like studying.
You want to do what my wife did not what I did.
She wrote a few cards every day. Sometimes when she started she’d keep going. But mostly it was 1–2 while sitting in front of the TV or waiting for pasta water to boil or right before work while having a cup of tea.
She knew what she had to do and she chipped away at it. She never made it into a big deal.
You can do the same thing with your studying.
Set small goals. Don’t take any days off. Keep your momentum going. Avoid (unplanned) zero days.
Her approach crushed mine.
And it’s even more important when we start talking about actually learning something.
There are literally dozens of studies around long term memory retention and how much more effective shorter stints of studying over prolonged periods is vs. intense cramming periods
So to summarize why you should study like my wife writes thank you cards:
- You’ll remember things better
- You will maintain momentum
- You can break down big goals into more manageable chunks
- Note I originally wrote this post on GoStudy about the CFA exams