We know first hand that when time comes for us to concentrate on specific tasks and actually sit down and Do the Work, after few minutes our minds often begin to wander off and we begin to procrastinate.
The feeling of wanting to do something else instead of concentrating on the task at hand is even more pronounced when we are working on something we either have trouble understanding or when we do not really connect with the work at hand.
Although procrastination is a normal behavior, we need to be able to identify our tendency to wander off as soon as possible and instead refocus our thoughts to the more important tasks in front of us.
The feeling of escaping the inevitable tasks at hand for a temporary fix of unimportant distraction is sometimes helpful because it enables us to take some time off from the work, think about something else and potentially discover new answers to the problems and issues we’re facing.
However, prolonged procrastination, especially when studying for the CFA exams, can become overwhelming and dangerous. The inability to control our minds and focus our attention will most likely negatively impact our capacity to understand and memorize the various concepts and theories covered in the CFA curriculum.
When studying, most candidates usually have access to either their laptops or their smartphones, and escaping their study times to navigate online and interact with their friends becomes extremely hard to resist when the study get tough and challenging.
If you find yourself wondering online when you should instead be studying and if you find it hard to force yourself to study and not procrastinate, then you will really appreciate some of the tools and apps mentioned below.
Here are three application that you can use to better track your study progress and force yourself to focus on the study materials for the exam:
This is probably the most honest and stringent application out there. You might not appreciate its power in the beginning, but rest assure that this application will whip your study procrastination away in no time.
How it works?
You install this application on your Mac (checkout Freedom app for Windows) and the application blocks out all incoming Mail and internet websites for a specified amount of time. Once you set your clock, the app will not let your by pass it and access anything online and there’s nothing you can do about it. Crying does not help. You have to wait for the time to run out to use internet again.
Your friends will appreciate you more once you pass the CFA exam. Until then, they should not be there to distract you away from your studies. If you find your self often wondering off to Twitter, Facebook and many other social sites when instead you should be studying and doing the practice exams, this app is definitely for you.
How it works?
Once installed, you chose the amount of time that you want to work and Anti-Social will prevent you from accessing any social networking sites from your computer during the set time limit. The only way to reset the timer or stop the program before the time runs out is to restart your computer. However, since most of your desire to access the various social sites comes from quick impulses of procrastination, knowing that you need to restart the computer to access Facebook will most likely make you realize that you’re better than that and you’ll get back to studying for the exam.
This is an interesting application that actually works in reverse to the above mentioned tools. Instead of preventing yourself to access the internet and the social networking site, you specify the amount of time that you want to “allow yourself” on those platforms per day. This way, you can still indulge in your pracractination impulses, but know that your time is limited. Once that time runs out, you’re done!
How it works?
This application is actually an extension to the Chrome web browser. Once you download the extension, you determine the amount of time that you want to be allowed to access specific website / social networks and the extension will do the rest.
Of course, not all of the financial warriors are masters at procrastination, many of us are also over achievers and instead work to hard to pursue the CFA designation and other goals in their lives. No worries, there an app for you as well.
If you find yourself working too hard on a project and you notice that your focus and your productivity begin to suffer, Time out app will gently remind you to take a break at set intervals and recharge your batteries. Contrary to the other three application mentioned above, Time Out does not actually prevent you from accessing the internet or any social network. Instead, it acts as a simple reminder that you need to take a break from your work in order to stay energized and productive on your project.
We hope these tools will be helpful to you during your studying hours. Whether your preparing for your CFA exam or working on a different project in order to achieve success over the long run, its important to master your focus and your attention and become more productive and successful.
If you found this article helpful, we invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
If you have not done so already, we invite you to check out our latest eBook Study Guide specifically tailored for the December 2013 CFA Level 1 exam. With over 400 pages of fresh content, this Guide is the ideal companion to your CFA Study Toolbox.