Learning easier





Everybody has some problem with procastination, some more than others. Procastination is the postponement of a task or tasks. Usually it results in stress, loss of productivity, feeling of guilt and many others bad things. 

It is associated with the painful feeling you have when you think of a determined task. You put them off until you can, so, when you do (if you do) that task, you don't have time enough to learn properly, to sleep, to build a consolidated knowledge. 

It can be compared with a poison. If you drink it in little quantities every day, you won't have problems immediately, but with time it can transform into a cancer or failure of some organ.


Actually, when your are in front your task and procastinating, it is waste of your time. When you are studying, even watching a fly flying is more interesting: distractions. Studying in front the tv, checking the program, your cell phone, your e-mail, your facebook, watsapp all the time just makes your process of learning harder. Second Barb Okley (2014), you need 15 minutes to concentrate again after a distraction, so what you could do in a short amount of time, will take ages.



You must be thinking: "I can't change, it is a permanent problem in my life, I don't manage". Alone it is really hard, I know, you need STRATEGIES and TECHNIQUES to help you. 

I will talk about some helpful techniques that helped me in my life.


1- Have focus, eliminate distractions as much as possible




Look for a calm place, without noise, Tv, people talking or you can use a blocker noise ear. 

The most important, figure out what distract you the most and turn it off (facebook, e-mail, chat...). 

As I said before, each time you turn your attention to something, when you come back, you spend about 15 minutes to concentrate your brain again. 

Don~t just read your material but focus on it, give your total attention to learn it.


2- Think of the process instead the product




Thinking about the product, the task you need to finish, is the more responsible for the painful feeling that you try to avoid when procrastinating. 

Finishing the book is not the most important thing.  Learning about this book is more important than just reading it, right? When you just think of the product you become afraid, anxious. 

Focus on the process, because the product will come naturally.


3 - Use the technique of Pomodoro.



Pomodoro is a very helpful technique. You turn off every disctration and put 25 minutes in your pomodoro. Believe, it is less painful if you convince yourself to focus for just 25 minutes. 

After this time, take a little break and give yourself a small reward.

The break is fundamental to relax and refresh your brain. You can give yourself 5 or 10 minutes to rest and after do another pomodoro. After some pomodoros you can take a longer break (4 pomodoros or how many you think will work with you or fit in your schedule).

Reward is proven to be a excellent key for your brain to understand and fix an idea. You can see it in pets, after some task is completed if you give a reward (praise or a biscuit) it will fix this task easily. This does not just work for animals but also children.  When they do something good and their parents give them a reward, they undertand that thing is correct and fix that behavior. It happen with everybody, including adults as well. It is explained for Bernstein (2011) in your view :

“people are pulled toward behaviors that offer positive incentives and pushed away from behaviors associated with negative incentives. In other words, differences in behavior from one person to another or from one situation to another can be traced to the incentives available and the value a person places on those incentives at the time." 


Try don't give yourself the reward before complete the pomodoro, or your brain will understand that don't need to do it to gain the reward. 

It can be a coffee, visiting your favourite website, watching a cartoon, eating some sweets,  it doesn't matter. The bigger the completed challenge, the bigger your reward should  be. So, you will have an association with a happy moment after you finish your pomodoro and it will be much more enjoyable and easy.






Video lectures by Barb Okley and Terrence Sejnowski: week 3- Procastination and memory. Learning how to learn. Coursera. https://class.coursera.org/learning-001/lecture


BERNTEIN, D. A. (2011). Essentials of psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.