When you really have to study for an exam the slightest excuse is excuse enough to drift away from 'what-you-should-be-doing'. There is always this play between reward and punishment. To bring back the focus you think about the payoff - the period of relaxation after the exam. Visions of the promised land seduce you into reading that paper or making those notes. I don't know what the Old Testament promised, but for me the promised land is:
1) A place where you can wake up as late as possible
2) Have to do zero 'real' work
3) Where you read books, papers you WANT to read instead of books/papers you SHOULD read.
4) Nice, tasty food is always readily available.

If rewards are not in your scheme of incentives then try punishment. What really works for me is the more realistic scare of 'doing-this-painful-process-all-over-again'. Again and again this has proved to be a powerful incentive. It makes me avoid checking my email every 2 mins, or keep me from taking more than frequent UGBs (unnecessary Google breaks). I think it will be an interesting topic of research to see what percentage of internet users are taking UGBs and how this is affecting graduation rates.


Ashutosh said...

Yes, doing the painful process all over again is always a pain. I am suprised how much my patience for sitting through exams in general has diminished, now that it has been more than two years since I took my last formal exam that was aimed at 'getting good marks'.

Ashutosh said...

Here's to Dr. Parikh, by the way!

Hirak said...

Thanks! But that is still a few moons away.