Last week, we declared war on a common thread between nearly all students (and, quite frankly, a commonality among all humankind). It’s a horrible thing. It runs amok in our lives. It’s not a lack of money, but an abuse of time. It’s the oh-so-dangerous-and-easy-to-get-ensnared-in procrastination. Please, if you haven’t, read my column from last week (you will enjoy it, I am sure!). Today, the war rages on, and I have a few more tricks up my sleeve, some good advice to win the battle.
You can’t work (well) if you are hungry.
That’s right. You are a human being. Say it out loud. Then say with me, “Human beings eat.” Doesn’t that feel better? Perhaps not. No, you may not feel any better at all! Nevertheless, it’s an important concept. When we humans are low on energy, we tend to be sluggish and slow to respond. With me, I can tell I’m near empty when I’m reading a book and cannot make any sense of what I am reading, nor remember what I just finished reading. To be in the right mindset — a mindset of motivation — we have to be well fed (well, maybe not too well fed . . . if a bear were chasing us, it would be nice to be light on our feet). It really is nearly impossible to have that necessary motivation of adhering to an agenda under food- and water-deprived conditions.
It’s important that, as we eat, we recognize it as a source of fuel, and not for personal satisfaction. Many snacks we enjoy every day are made up of refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour. These snacks provide only a short-term high and end with crashing and an increased appetite. Avoid these. Try eating fruits and vegetables — really anything with whole grains, proteins, peanuts and granola. These kinds of snacks are great for long-term energy and will aid you in your quest.
And don’t skip meals!
Low blood sugar is not our friend, and will destroy any hope of concentrating (which sets the stage for procrastination). If you’re in a hurry or are chronically late, keep healthy, on-the-go food items handy for quick consumption.
Dihydrogden oxide: Your friend
That’s right, folks! There’s nothing better for maintaining a positive outlook on your workload than keeping your body hydrated. While studying, drink water constantly. Make sure you have a water bottle with you, or study in a place where a drinking fountain is handy. Often, we misinterpret our bodies’ signals and think that we are hungry. In many cases, we crave hydration. Keeping hydrated will help increase your energy, fight off false cravings and relieve you of the pangs of sleepiness. Plus, having to get up and visit the little girls’ or boys’ room to relieve inner pressure is always a nice change of pace.
Caffeine: A nitrogen-based compound
Make sure to monitor you caffeine intake! While a Coke, Mountain Dew or a cup of coffee can boost your concentration and performance for a short period of time, take care of yourself by avoiding more than three caffeinated beverages per day. Too much caffeine can make you anxious and can result in loss of focus.
There you have it! Follow these steps (and many others) and success will be on your side. Soon, you will become a Jedi Master and dismiss the siren song of the Dark Side. YOU are your only (or best!) hope.