How I'm Able To Study 10 Hours Per Day? (Even When I Don't Want To) ✍️
I have trained myself to study 10 hours a day even when I don't want to. Here's how.
Table of Contents:
What You Shouldn't Do:
1.) Don't just work 10 hours for no reason.
Only work 10 hours a day if you have a good reason eg. final exams. Otherwise why would spend this much of your valuable time mindlessly working? Focus on active, productive and efficient studying only.
2.) Quit feeling so dreadful about the work.
The amount of work you have and the hours you have in the day will never change. It is all dependent on your perspective. You can either be miserable and feel annoyed about studying or you can focus on the smaller steps.
Think about what you have to accomplish in the next 30 minutes and feel good after you do it. Knock every task down like a domino and get a dopamine boost after each one.
Shift the focus away from all the big exams and assignments and think about what you can do in the next 10 minutes.
Let's jump into my practical advice.
#1 Break out of the Laziness Void
You won't suddenly jump from scrolling tiktoks in your bed to a productive 10-hour workday. You have to ease yourself out of this dreadful and drained mental state. When I've done nothing except procrastinate for hours on end, I give myself a guilt-free 30 minutes to break the cycle.
At this point, you'd usually feel awful about screwing up the day and......No, you must switch those thoughts off for the next half hour and follow the next steps.
Step 1) Turn everything off 📵
I switch all my notifications off and shut Netflix down. Everything that led you to procrastinate should be placed out of reach and sight immediately. Now, what do we do during the remainder of the 30 min?
Step 2) Meditate. Shower. Recharge.
Do anything to uplift your mood. If you've been miserable for the last 3 hours, you need to change it up before diving into a long study session. Put on a 10 min meditation, have a warm cozy shower or get some fresh air. Use the guilt-free 30 minutes to refresh and reset in a healthy way.
Step 3) Set the study space up
Get all the books you need. Open up the lectures and the ppt slides. Brew a nice cup of tea. Light a candle, tidy the room, whatever works for you. It is vital that you condition and prepare your brain for focused effortful studying.
#2 Clarity of Goal in the Macro and Micro 👁️
There needs to be a very clear and convincing goal in the micro AND the macro.
Let's go back to my first year at university. I decided to study biomedical sciences because I didn't get into medical school the first time around. But I discovered that there was an opportunity to transfer to medicine there. This was my one chance.
I had to achieve the highest grades amongst 200 people competing for only 15 places. I had 40 days left before the exams and had 100s of hours of studying to go. It was very competitive but I knew I wanted to do this.
The way I studied during that time surprises me to this day. I immersed myself in my work and started studying intensely at least 10 hours per day. It took a few days to get used to but I began to feel an insane level of clarity in my goals and rarely lacked motivation anymore.
This is the biggest mindset change you need to have in order to study for 10 hours every day. Truly reflect on why you want to work this much in the first place. It is very excessive so don't just do it for the sake of it.
Once this macro-level reason creates a vivid goal in your head, it will act as the most powerful driver within every micro-level study session.
#3 Plan the Night Before
Personally, having a pre-determined plan of my tasks the night before my studying is 🔑, especially if I am struggling to get into the study zone.
I start my work at 10 am every day and this means that, as soon as I sit down to work, I know exactly what I am going to do at 9:59 am. No activation energy is exhausted over deciding what to do. It is all laid out the night before and I can immediately dive into the zone with focus.
For example, tomorrow I'm going to be studying genetic and paediatric diseases. So tonight, I will open the textbook to this chapter, prepare the lecture recording and set the slides up on my laptop. This way when I sit down tomorrow there's no preamble. I am all ready and all I'll need to do is sit and work.
Essential tip: Always break everything in the plan down into small manageable chunks. Write down all the specific thoughts, doubts and work you have for each project or subject.
Writing everything down on a piece of paper is crucial because it reduces anxiety around the work and prevents you from feeling overwhelmed by it.
#4 Don't Leave Your Seat
This is slightly controversial. But stop giving yourself reasons to get up and out of your chair. Rather, give yourself excuses to stay and persevere.
Rule: Don't leave your desk to do anything until AT LEAST 1 hour of effective studying is achieved.
This rule single-handedly gifts me an extra 3 hours in the day, at least. The principle behind this is simple. Every time you get out of your study environment, you are giving yourself an opportunity to procrastinate and waste time. Unintentionally leaving my study space when I felt unengaged always meant getting distracted for anytime between 20 mins to 2 hours.
Hence, before starting my work at 10 am I tidy my space, get my snacks and make sure everything is organised so that I can minimise the times I have to get up for the next few hours.
"I'm almost done with this, let's give it 10 more minutes before getting coffee ☕" Push yourself to put in extra effort for a bigger reward.
Keep pushing yourself to study. My thought process is: Look, if I couldn't even do an hour of effective studying, then do I really deserve a break to get food or check my phone? No, not really. So I force myself to keep going. Finish reading the page. Finish the lecture video. Finish writing the paragraph.
In my experience, the extra 10 minutes are always worth it because pushing myself for that extra time usually ends up turning into 15 or even 45 minutes. This ensures that you keep persevering with setbacks during your revision or assignments. Eventually, I started building increased levels of concentration, commitment and focus. It honestly felt incredible.
So keep giving yourself reasons to continue studying until there's no other option.
CAVEAT: Structured breaks are obviously essential. Rewarding yourself with time to relax is essential. I usually study for 2-3 hours straight and then take a 10-15 min break (Pomodoro-ish?). It takes time to find what works for you so don't stress, just experiment.
#5 The Pleasure in a Late Night Study Sesh
As opposed to dragging out your studying: plan the day so that you can end it early, take a long guilt-free break and then throw in a late night study session.
When I do my 10-hour days: I work 10am-2pm, break for lunch, work 3pm-7pm and then take a long guilt-free break. At that point, I've productively studied for 8 hours so I'm happy to chill and socialise with no stress. This little recharge is the best trick to freshen up.
But when I'm done with my evening chill time (around 10 pm), I dedicate the last few hours to my lighter work. And honestly, this has now become such an enjoyable ritual.
It may be weird but try to make it fun. Make a hot cocoa, put on a lo-fi playlist and kick back with that late night sesh.
This work doesn't involve any heavy-duty brainpower. For me, it's mostly lighter work like planning for tomorrow 📅, designing my website 👩💻 or working on articles ✏️ like this one. Leave the more relaxed work for the end of the day and make it fun for yourself so it doesn't end up feeling like work.
Note: I skipped some obvious tips like taking scheduled breaks, changing your scenery and rewarding yourself but those are very important, especially if you want to build consistency.
I'm happy if I can do what I set out to do 80% of the time. The other 20% is life.
Now obviously, having ridiculous expectations from myself to study 10 hours every day can be a slippery slope to burnout. I'm not a machine and I can't always be grinding through the entire day. But I'm happy if I can do what I set out to do 80% of the time. The other 20% is of the time stuff gets in the way, plans with people come up or maybe you're not up for it. Things happen so be flexible.
It takes time. Be patient.
Let's say you're riding a bike down a flat road. Initially, you will feel resistance when you press on the pedal. But it gets easier and easier until you're gliding down the road without any energy needed. If you stop the bike, then you have to start and apply effort again.
It's the same with studying. It takes effort and time to get into this state of flow. Personally, I've always had to build up into this stage of studying 10 hours every day. It doesn't just jump from nothing to long hours of hard work. Keep at it.