TIP #1 Set the Precedent
- Let your family know that you are studying for an extremely important exam that is vital to your career.
- You are on a strict study schedule and the exam already has a date.
- Explain that keeping up your momentum and discipline is vital to your success.
- Let them know you are there to spend time with them but will need to steal away for X amount of time. If you are using the Pomodoro method, then you could easily say just an hour, equaling two very focused Pomodoro study sessions.
TIP #2 Decide what You are Going to Study Beforehand
- Oftentimes when I’ve attempted to study at a family gathering, I usually just pop open a book….think about what I’m going to do…….and then end up not doing it.
- Think about what you will be able to do. You may not be able to hide away in a quiet space with your laptop to watch a few INE videos. You may just have to sit in a secluded corner with your phone going over flashcards.
- Plan out what you are going to study that day and make sure it is doable given the nature of your get together.
TIP #3 Bring Your Tools
- At the least, make sure you have your phone, with your phone charger. You know you can at least review notes or cycle through some flashcards.
- And if you bring a book or a laptop bag…bring it inside with you. The times I have planned to study at a gathering but I left my stuff in the car….I never studied. Remove the barriers.
TIP #4 Set a Reminder to Study
- I can’t tell you how many times I planned to study at a family gathering but simply forgot!! You’ll get caught up in all the fun and sometimes the chaos and before you know it the day is gone.
- I’ll set a Todoist task to study a time I think things will be a little slow…like right after lunch or after a planned activity.
TIP #5 Set a Make it a Quick Session
- Once I get in study mode….sometimes I find myself stuck in that mode. A couple hours could fly by!!!!
- I usually limit myself to a hour-hour and a half. It’s much easier to justify that short amount of time…especially to your wife. It’s also enough time to feel good about studying that day. Yeah, you won’t master subnetting or Spanning Tree in that amount of time….but you will have digged deeper into a topic or committed some difficult concepts to memory.
I want to close with this. It’s a family get together….so don’t feel too pressured to study. You should feel okay with taking a break to spend time with family. I encourage you to take that time!!
But for me, family gatherings usually take up the entire day….and on holiday weekends like Memorial day…everyday is booked solid! I can’t afford to spend an entire weekend without studying. Following these steps allow me to keep up my study momentum while also ensuring I’m spending quality time with my family.