Optimize Your Sleep: 5 Tips for Falling Asleep Faster and Sleeping Better

Do you remember the last time you had a really good night’s sleep?

If you’re in college, it may have been awhile. College students aren’t exactly known for their amazing sleep habits. People brag about caffeine-fueled all-nighters and only needing two hours of sleep a night.

But despite what you might like to think, there’s no substitute for good quality sleep. Sleep is like an oil change for your body. Just as fresh oil keeps your car’s engine running cleanly and smoothly, so does a good night’s sleep keep your body in top running condition.

Sleep rebuilds muscle, regulates your metabolism, and helps you stay focused. Also, it’s an integral part of the learning process. Since learning is basically your full-time job as a college student, getting excellent sleep is a must.

Most of us kind of suck at sleeping, despite it being something we’ve done every night for our entire lives. Even if we get the recommended 7-8 hours per night, many of us find ourselves waking up groggy and anything but well-rested. Luckily, this is a problem you can fix with a few simple changes. In today’s post, we’ll break down five essential tips for falling asleep faster and sleeping better. Read More…

How to Stop Procrastinating and Focus: A Guide to the Pomodoro Technique

As someone who has to create videos, podcasts, and other articles on a weekly schedule, procrastination is my number one enemy.

You would think that after years of working on this site I would have gotten over this problem, but it still rears its ugly head every week.

Procrastination is a familiar foe to every student as well. Whether it’s that 10-page research paper that you wait to write until 12 hours (or 4…or 1) before it’s due or that exam you meant to start studying for a week ago, we’ve all had that moment when procrastination made our lives really unpleasant.

There are lots of ways to combat procrastination: planning ahead, starting work long before it’s due, or even taking on fewer commitments are all options you should consider. The most effective technique for me, however, has been the Pomodoro Technique. Read More…

How to Use the Feynman Technique to Learn Faster (With Examples)

There’s a quote that’s often attributed to Albert Einstein which goes:

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Whether or not Einstein himself actually said this (it’s never been properly sourced, so it’s likely he didn’t), it’s still an insightful observation. It’s also one that yields a pretty powerful study tip when reversed:

If you want to understand something well, try to explain it simply.

By attempting to explain a concept in simple terms, you’ll quickly see where you have a good understanding of that concept. You’ll also be able to instantly pinpoint your problem areas, because they’ll be the areas where you either get stuck or where you end up resorting to using complex language and terminology.

This is the idea behind the Feynman Technique. Read More…

How to Learn Any Skill in Under 20 Hours

I’ll never forget the first time I tried to teach myself a new skill.

I was in 7th grade, and after spending a lot of time fooling around with the free 3D graphics program Blender, I decided I should probably learn how to draw. That was the advice most 3D animators and artists gave, at least.

And so, without much of a plan in mind, I picked up a few books and drawing and started going through their exercises.

How did it turn out? Well, I certainly learned a lot about drawing. I even got to the point where I could do something more than stick figures, but the results of my quest were ultimately…meh. Read More…

How to Improve Your Grades on Multiple Choice Tests

When it comes to multiple choice tests, there’s this common piece of advice that always gets thrown around: When in doubt, always pick C.

At least, that’s the letter I was told–maybe you heard it was B. Whatever the letter, this advice pops up everywhere.

Some of you heard it from your parents, some of you read it on the internet, and I’m pretty sure I heard about it from this kid named Jimmy in my 8th-grade history class. But, as Abraham Lincoln once didn’t say,

“Always independently verify advice given to you by 8th graders named Jimmy.”

Truer words have never not been said.

Read More…

How to Be More Confident: 5 Strategies that Worked for Me

Today, we’re going to go through five effective strategies you can use to build your confidence.

These strategies come from my personal experience, and they’ve all been pivotal in the development of my own self-confidence.

Rather than keep you in suspense, I’m going to tell you what they are right up front:

  1. Gain experience. Do that which you wish to become confident in doing.
  2. Understand the perspective of other people. Most importantly, realize that they don’t think about you nearly as much as you might believe.
  3. Realize that people love confidence. The average, everyday human experience is normal, mundane, and unmemorable – yet people crave novelty and excitement.
  4. Record your accomplishments. Write them down and use the resulting archive to remind yourself of your ability to overcome future challenges.
  5. Focus on other people. Speak less, smile more, and develop active listening skills; building up other people in your interactions will make people like you and help you build internal self-confidence.

If this quick overview is enough to help you take action and start building confidence, then get out there and start building it.

Otherwise, sit tight and keep your finger poised over that scroll wheel on your mouse; next, I’ll be digging into each of these strategies, sharing how I personally implemented them, and demonstrating how you can use them in your own life. Read More…

Cold Turkey Writer: An App that Forces You to Write by Blocking All Distractions

Vincent van Gogh once described the agony of staring at a blank canvas:

“You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything.”

As a writer, I find the blank page – or, to be more accurate, the blinking cursor – to be just as intimidating.

To avoid the page’s paralyzing stare, I naturally procrastinate. That often takes the form of going to get a snack, browsing Airbnb (even though, ironically, getting to work would get me closer to satisfying that wanderlust), or even cleaning my room – all simply to avoid confronting the dreaded blinking cursor. Read More…

Marcus Aurelius’ Advice on Dealing with Negative People

At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard of an idea called Occam’s Razor.

Usually recited as, “The simplest answer is usually correct,” a more correct way to state it is:

“Amongst competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct.”

I talked in detail about Occam’s Razor in my post on black-and-white thinking. In that post, I also mentioned another razor-themed concept called Hanlon’s Razor, which is what I want to focus on today.

Hanlon’s Razor deals with the intentions of other people. Here’s how it’s normally stated:

“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

To illustrate this concept further, think about a time when your friends forgot to invite you to something (maybe a movie). We have a natural instinct to feel slighted when things like this happen; it’s easy to believe our friends don’t like us for some reason, or that they intentionally didn’t want us to come along. Read More…

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