The relentless search for better results–whether score points, grades, or goals achieved–often comes down to a quest for greater productivity. After all, ‘better‘ is usually just another way to say ‘more effective in less time,’ which is what productivity hacks are all about.
One easy productivity hack anybody can (and probably should) implement tomorrow is the idea of ranking and sorting tasks by the commitment they require to do well. Some tasks take very little time or attention, whereas others demand total focus. Acknowledging ahead of time which ones are which can help us attend to the right tasks at the right time.
For example, playing a round of 18 holes of golf requires total commitment, or at least that’s what the players who turn off their phones for four hours at a time say. Playing only 9 holes requires a little less commitment. Hitting the driving range requires even less, while practicing putting in your room or office demands so little attention that you can do that while juggling more complex tasks.
Of course, mastering golf involves many more tasks than those listed, yet most of them demand lower levels of commitment. This concept applies to any academic, athletic, or artistic pursuit. Test preparation depends on many different activities, all of which are most effective when pursued with the requisite levels of focus:
Reviewing previous lessons
Meeting with a study group
Taking practice test sections
Working with a tutor
Attending a class
Taking a full-length practice test
When a student working towards her best ACT score attends a proctored practice test, she’ll get the most experiential value out of the test by bringing total commitment. If she’s unable to focus that intensely for the duration of the exam, she might be better off deferring the test and working on a task that requires less commitment instead.
However, the list of valid and pressing reasons the typical high school student may have for being unable to bring total commitment to a practice test or any other activity may be too long to enumerate. Stress over school, sports, family, or social life can’t change the fact that achieving excellence on tests, in school, or in any other venue will require certain periods of total commitment. Use this strategy to make the most of your moments of complete focus!