I've started to track my everyday in paper to keep myself more productive. The reason is I'm staying from home in a country without any public libraries. I'm out from college so I've no friends at all now. Most of them are doing jobs or applying for Germany, USA etc. So, I need it. I tried discord study rooms but they weren't very useful as nobody saw what you were doing under the laptop. This is what I track currently:

  1. Morning checklist:

    a) Drink water (eg: If I drank water after waking up, I put a tick mark.)

    b) Long toilet (eg: If I went to toilet to clear myself up, I put a tick mark.)

    c) Make bed

    d) Tea

    e) Listen to favorite podcast

    f) Did you wake up before 7 AM? (If I woke up before 7 AM, I put a tick mark.)


  1. Did you took a break after using laptop consistently for 2 hrs, write how many breaks you took

    ie I use laptop for 2 hrs for studying, then ask myself to take a break from laptop. Break for studies is implicit. I take breaks after every 45 minutes. It is made to make myself stop drowning in google search and youtube black hole.

  2. Did you finish majority of tasks by 7 PM?

  3. was your social media under control? eg: I use twitter for around 1 hr on all my browsers.

  4. Was your facebook under control? eg: I use facebook for 10 mins per day.

  5. Did you stayed 15 mins under the sunlight?

  6. Did you switched between subjects, topics every 2 hrs? How many times?

    This is done to keep myself efficient. Because I keep getting stuck in 1 topic day and night. And no productivity happens.

  7. Keep track of days to go for final exam date. (i.e if there's 20 days remaining to the final exam, I put 20 in it.)

It's working decently for me. But here're some problems-:

a) It's not helping me for revision. I'm failing to track myself revise regularly. I want to implement a tracking where I can check myself if I revised that day. It'd be even better if it became integrated within the current tracker.

b) Seeing "days to go" getting so close in last days of exam is heartbreaking as I still would have lots of topics to study as our exam time schedule is made in such a way.

c) In the beginning seeing "so many days to go" makes me kinda chill and less effective. So, I want solution for it as well. How do I solve this problem? I definitely need to track my days to exam, but I don't want to feel like, "today I've infinite time" and "one day I've just 3 days".

d) I don't switch subjects and switch time between using laptops AT ALL in many days.

I am not sure how do I make this process very streamlined that it becomes easier for me to switch off from laptop. I study everything from laptop. I don't even follow any one or two standard textbook that I can just buy them and study from it. I follow on demand content. i.e if I have to learn about "x", I start searching books for "x" and start reading it. I've to weed out the bad books and study from the most relevant book. So, it's not possible to study something for the first time totally without internet.

My question is How do I solve problems a, b, c, and d? Can you suggest any techniques?

  • What field, generally or specifically, are you trying to study?
    – Buffy
    Aug 15, 2022 at 12:40
  • So, a technical, STEM, subject, yes?
    – Buffy
    Aug 15, 2022 at 13:20

2 Answers 2


Perhaps it is just the way you wrote this, but I'm worried that you may be spending too much of your focus on the "time in the saddle" rather than on what you actually do while studying. You can spend a lot of time very ineffectively. You say you've failed this course previously, so something is likely wrong with how you are approaching learning beyond the time you spend at it.

For many STEM fields, such as math and CS, the best study is active study in which you work to solve problems. Reading and watching recorded lectures is passive by comparison. Memorizing won't get you through most exams.

Find materials, such as books, that have a lot of problems/exercises in them and try to solve as many as you can. Books with solution guides are a mixed blessing as it is too tempting to use the solutions and think you understand how to solve the problem. There is a big difference between reading a solution and producing one. In many books, including some of mine, the problems are more important than the text. If you can solve all of the problems in the book, some quite hard, you will be a success with that subject. Much more so than if you memorize the text.

But you also need some way to verify that your solutions are correct.

One issue you have in studying alone, however, is that it is hard to get feedback on your attempts at problem solution. Repetition and reinforcement are good things, as long as you don't reinforce the wrong things by making mistakes that are never corrected.

  • I just want to clarify that my issue isn't that I find this subject hard or have any mental or any barriers to study it which appears like that looking at your answer.
    – gashopped
    Aug 16, 2022 at 1:21

I found useful using Org Mode under Emacs for my morning list (which allows me, among other things, 1) to keep track of how much time I spend on each task, 2) to schedule tasks with various periods, 3) to keeps tasks in various files and compile a unique agenda from them, in the spirit of David Allen's Get Things Done methodology). I used to have reminders for "hydrate" as you did, but removed them once the habit was ingrained, to keep the agenda cleaner. Once you adopt a good scheduling tool (orgmode or other), it will help you to solve your four issues:

  1. helping me for revision Schedule a task (on Mondays for me) where you review your whole system.

  2. Seeing "days to go" Have deadlines appear a long time in advance (the default in orgmode is one month, I sometime put a -2m or -3m to extend it).

  3. seeing "so many days to go" makes me kinda chill and less effective: break up large tasks in smaller ones, with deadlines reasonably earlier for each.

  4. switch subjects and switch time between using laptops AT ALL in many days. I am not sure if I understood this problem, but

    • to switch subject, choose one main subject for a specific day (or half day); and
    • to avoid getting stuck on the laptop for large periods of time leaving me exhausted, I am using an application called Workrave to prompt me to take a short pause every 25 mns and a larger one every 2h (in the spirit of the Pomodoro Technique. The computer is LOCKED for 5mns, forcing me to look for other things to do in the house, such as drinking or making tea, putting food to cook in the solar oven or checking on it, taking a walk in the garden, etc.

Here is a (slightly edited) extract of my agenda on a typical day, automatically generated by the function OrgMode-Agenda from emacs:

5:59...... REMEMBER: =Remove yourself from people and places where you don’t feel valued and respected.= 
6:00-6:30  REVIEW, RESCHEDULE and INDEX Daily agenda        
6:01...... LOG (at least) 3 things I am glad of in last 24h 
6:02...... LOG Energy Level in morning (1-5 5=excellent)    
6:03...... LOG mental clarity  (1-5 5=excellent)            
6:04...... LOG Health (1-5 5=excellent), health problems and temperature
6:05...... LOG Dominating Thought or Emotion                
6:15-6:20  DOWNLOAD Student's drafts (to review while exercising) 
6:20-6:30  CHECKOUT Messages on Discord                     
6:30-6:45  CHECKOUT DAILY Firefox tab of bookmarks          
7:00-8:00  EXERCISE in the morning                          
8:00-9:00  REVIEW PDFs in [[file:~/ToReview/]]              
9:00-9:15  PROCESS Some Night and Running Notes (if any) 
9:15-9:30  REVIEW electronic mail               

I hope it helps!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .