What Is It Like Living In The Dorms?

May 28, 2009

Dorm life is a unique experience.  Some dig it and others can’t wait to get out.  Here’s why.

The Rooms

Dorm rooms are generally smaller than your typical room in a house.  Obviously the more roommates you have, the bigger your room will be.

In general the reaction to singles is “damn is this room small” (My uncle called mine a closet), the reaction to doubles is “Oh, that’s alright” and the reaction to triples and quads is “damn is that big!”

Usually hallways have more than one type of room than the others.  Obviously, people tend to hang out in the larger rooms.

General Atmosphere

1.  Friendly.  Hallmates usually interact with one another a lot.

2.  Open.  It is tougher to have privacy if you live in the dorms than in other types of housing because of the culture and the realities of sharing a room with other people.

3.  Active.  Usually the halls are pretty noisy as other residents go out, return from going out or just hang out.

Social Life In The Dorms

Your hall mates are far and away the easiest people to meet and become friends with.  During the first couple weeks of school, they will be eager to make friends.

So long as you can provide some sort of fun (ie have cool stuff in your room, know where the cool parties are, etc.) then they will be more than happy to hang out with you, generally.

Even if you botch up the first couple of weeks, you will probably still end up becoming at least friendly with them. This is because you will inevitably run into them in the hallway, and start up some kind of conversation.

That said, hallways oftentimes split up into cliques.  In particular, the Greeks tend to mingle amongst themselves.

Unlike, say, an apartment complex, it is perfectly normal to just randomly walk into your hallmate’s rooms and hang out.  This is very common, since most residents keep their doors open.

You can tell how social a hallway is by the number of doors open on a given night.  During the first couple weeks, most residents keep their doors open.  If the hallway doesn’t gel, then that changes after a while.

It is also common for people to just hang out in the hallway.

Of course even in the most social hallways, there is always a few residents who will not participate at all.  Usually they are shy, have an independent social life (Usually upperclassmen are like this) or just don’t like other people.

Upperclassmen in the Dorms

While most upperclassmen tend to live off-campus, quite a few do stay in the dorms.  From my experience, they tend to be less social, probably because they already have friends from freshman year and aren’t scrambling for them like Freshman.

On top of that, some upperclassmen do not like the idea of hanging out with Freshmen.

That said, most are pretty open to socializing, so if you are a freshman do not hesitate in trying to make friends with them.  Just realize that they might not be as easy as a freshman.

Sex in the Dorms

Hookups are very common amongst hallmates.  That said, they are usually not a good idea.

The simple reason is that you will run into whoever you hook up with a lot, and if you are not 100% cool with him/her, it will be painfully awkward.

Additionally, the entire social dynamic of the hall can be thrown off by this.

Granted, this only happens if one of you feels wierd about the other person.  There are plenty of times when hallmates hook up and it is all fine and dandy afterwards.

Understand, though, that you are taking a pretty needless risk in doing it.

I say just hook up with his/her friends.

So that basically covers the important stuff, methinks.  If I think of more things that I think you should know about dorm life, I will publish a second part.


Should I Room Single Or With A Roommate Freshman Year?

May 27, 2009

This is an interesting question that has a simple answer: it depends on the experience that you want.

Here are the different experiences you will get with each.  Pick the one that you want.

Living in a single

1.  You will have your own room.  You do not have to worry about synchronizing bed times, being sexhiled, bringing guys/girls back to your place, or sharing resources

2.  You will have a place that you can go for some guaranteed alone time.  This is great when you need to “get away”

3.  You can close your door and have privacy

4.  Usually hallways with single rooms aren’t as loud as others (This is just a general trend)

5.  A potential downside is that you have to be very proactive about building up your social life.  You do not have a roommate bringing new people around

6.  There is also a greater tendency of people living in singles to isolate themselves in their rooms (Jokingly called dorm trolls)

7.  Singles also tend to be very small

Summary:  I have lived in a single for both years of college and have thoroughly enjoyed them.  It was nice being able to do my own thing and to have a place where I could be alone.   The key is to be proactive so that you do not fall into the dorm troll trap

Living with roomates

1.  Most roommates become friends during the year.  Your roommates will typically brings friends around as well, giving you another way to meet people

2.  Doubles, tripples and quads tend to have their doors more often than singles, which makes it harder to be isolated

3.  Most roommates get along splendidly, but there is a chance that you will have problems.  On the surface this seems bad, but on the positive side it will teach you valuable conflict management and general people skills

4.  These rooms tend to be much larger than singles

5.  Usually these rooms are where your neighbors will hang out (Singles are too small)

6.  If you get a roomate who comes from a different background than you, you will gain some pretty cool perspective

7.  You will undoubtedly get a lot of really cool stories

8.  You will learn how to communicate VERY well.  99% of roommate problems are due to a failure to communicate.

Summary:  Most of my friends who lived with roommates liked the experience.  There were moments, but in general it was pretty cool.  If you think you might need a kick in the ass to get social, then DEFINITELY live with a roommate, as you will get that kick.

My College Experience

May 26, 2009

Alright, it is time to get a little bit personal.

I go to the University of Michigan.  Getting into UofM was my greatest achievement, since everything I did in high school was geared towards accomplishing that.

Unfortunately, I was a one-trick pony.  During high school I barely socialized because I thought it was a waste of time and, instead, buried myself into history books.  I developed this sort of wierd “I am a history genius” ego that I used to justify not having a balanced life and as a way to feel superior to others.

I actually wrote a history book.  Granted, it was a shitty book, but an accomplishment none the less.

A crucial turning point for me came in 12th grade when I had my first serious crush on a girl.  I remember obsessing over her all year and fantasizing about all these amazing things we were going to do together.

Of course, I barely even talked to her all year.

When I was accepted into Michigan, I finally gave myself permission to change.  I began lifting weights, began developing a personality and began learning about time management and productivity techniques.

During my first semester, I stumbled around.  Like anyone making radical changes to themselves, I was very incongruent with my new identity.  I sucked with women, sucked at making friends and did pretty lame in class.

Though at least I could look people in the eye when I talked to them.

One trait I did possess that served me well was that of persistence.  I knew where I wanted to go and was determined to stay on the path that I knew would get me there.  Slowly but surely, all the areas of my life began to improve.  Soon enough I was having success with girls and easily making friends.

Most importantly, my confidence in myself was getting rock solid.  I finally began feeling in control of my own life.

Unfortunately, my grades continued to be pretty average.  That changed during my sophomore year when I did research into how to start and run a business.  I found that many of those principles were applicable to getting good grades, and this was confirmed in experience.

I cut the amount of time I spent on schoolwork by 80% while dramatically improving my grades.

Additionally, I figured out ways to make even the most boring classes worthwhile.

Today I am by no means perfect; however, from where I was coming from, I am an example of someone who has transformed.  This blog is an expression of the new me, and I hope that another 2 years from now, I am an even better person (And hopefully the blog is even better).

Right now I am working to get into the School of Education.  I hope to be a fantastic high school teacher that makes an impact on my student’s lives.  I also hope to change the way teacher’s teach so that high school is not a giant waste of time for the majority of students (Which I think it is now).  Eventually, I hope to create my own school.

College itself is amazing.  I love the college way of life.  Even if I won the lottery today, I would still be doing exactly what I am doing now.

I hope this blog can help all of you have as great of a college experience as I have.

For Girls: Inside the Mind of a Guy

May 24, 2009

As a heterosexual guy, I cannot really give all that good of advice on “how to be an attractive girl” other than very vague and unhelpful things like “look pretty” and “be nice.”  That said, one thing of value I can offer you is a sort of window into the mind of a guy.

Now, now, there is more that goes on inside a guy’s mind than sex.  We do on occasion think about girl on girl makeouts ;-).

Kidding aside, us guys, like you girls, are pretty complex.  Our lives are filled with contradicting messages about how to act around girls, and a lot of generally weird ideas have resulted.

For instance, a lot of films feature awkward guys who, after showering a girl with praise and gifts, end up stealing her from the bad boy and driving off with her into the sunset.  As a result, guys think that if they can be super nice to you, they can make you their girlfriend.

This is usually mixed with highly romanticized views of girls, such as the belief that girls do not like sex, girls must be showered with expensive dates, all girls want the same types of relationships, girls must control the relationship, the guy is there to please the girl, etc.

On the other end of the spectrum, a lot of guys hold the view that only “bad boys” can attract girls.  They get this belief because, well, the evidence seems to be all around them.  It is usually the jocks in high school who have the attractive girlfriends, and in the real world it is the rockstars, aggressive womanizers and grown up “bros” who seem to get laid.

This is why guys will pretend to act really arrogant around you, insult you, judge you, call you a whore, and act like an overall douchebag.

In the middle are guys who get that what girls like is the masculinity of the bad boy coupled with the respect of the nice guy.  Nevertheless, these guys still probably bum you out a lot.  For instance, you might have had thoughts like these before…

– “Why didn’t he come talk to me?”
– “Why is he talking about that?”
– “When is he going to make his move?  Does he not see my signals?”
– “Why did he start acting weird?”
– “Wow, he’s going way too fast”

Regardless of how pretty you look or how nice you seem, not all guys who want to approach you and start a conversation will.  There are a million potential reasons for this, from the guy already having a girlfriend to the guy being legitimately busy.  Oftentimes, however, the reason is that he is afraid of being rejected by you.

This might seem pretty lame to you, but consider this: the feeling guys get when they have a fear of rejection is the same feeling you get when you are about to have serious physical pain.  Some scientists believe that this is because being rejected from a group literally meant death during the time humans were evolving.

Science aside, feeling that fear of rejection sucks, and it is really tough for even otherwise confident guys to get a handle on it.  Keep that in mind when you see a guy who clearly thinks your cute but is reluctant to come over and talk to you.

Because most of the information coming at guys about girls is pretty lame, most guys really do not know how to act around girls- and that includes how to talk to them.  That’s why conversations with guys can be pretty awkward and forced much of the time.

Moreover, most advice guys hear revolves around “being funny” or “being impressive” around girls.  This explains why guys will try and crack a joke every other sentence or weave in stories of elaborate trips to Italy out of nowhere.

They’re doing the best they can, it’s just that they have awful information to work with.

Ya, it’s true that you girls like us to be funny and interesting, but at the same time you obviously aren’t attracted to clowns or try-hards.

Additionally, inexperienced guys generally do not know what it means to make a move.  In movies, oftentimes their best source, kisses are dramatic and oftentimes initiated by the girl.  Moreover, there is usually a cutaway from the kiss directly to sex.  The stuff in between is not shown.

So if a guy isn’t picking up on your signals, it does not always mean that he doesn’t want you.

When a guy suddenly starts acting “weird,” it is usually because he suddenly got nervous.  Ore often than not, he realizes that he might have a chance with you and doesn’t want to screw it up.  To “not screw it up” he gets inside his head and out of what is going on between the two of you.

Additionally, he may just tighten up when he thinks about what might be happening between you two.  Guys love to fantasize, but when the fantasy turns into reality, it can sometimes be a little scary.

On the other hand, when guys “go to fast,” it is usually because they are either trying to mimic the bad boy <i>or</i> because they did not correctly interpret your signals.  Some guys are told by their friends to have a “always be closing” mindset (Like you’re a door or something), which might be why they are all gung ho.

If the guy is clearly more aggressive than he was the last time you saw them, it may very well be because they got home, thought about what happened between you two, and concluded that they had missed an opportunity to escalate with you.  They are trying to correct their mistake this time.

I will leave it to you to figure out what to do with this information.  The one thing I hope you have gotten out of it is this: being a guy isn’t any easier than being a girl, at least when it comes to dating and relationships.  Keep that in mind when the guy does something that confuses the hell out of you.

The Differences Between High School And College

May 22, 2009

The single biggest difference between high school and college is that college is much, MUCH more open ended than high school.

College is open-ended like Grand Theft Auto.  It also has the sex, drugs and occassional brawl.

College is open-ended like Grand Theft Auto. It also has the sex, drugs and occassional brawl.

While most colleges have a set of classes that you must take, the majority of classes you take are up to you.

Additionally, your days are not nearly as structured as they were in high school.  There are oftentimes long breaks in between classes where you can do whatever you want.  You are not stuck in one building for seven hours for five straight days.

Because your hand is not held throughout your college years, fewer people actually care about your success.  Unlike high school, the administration could care less about your grades so long as you keep sending them a paycheck.  Classes are usually so large and their tasks so many that most professors will not proactively help you out.

In order to get people to help you out, you must go to them in college.  This might irritate some of you, but it is the cold, hard truth.

In general, college classes are not more difficult than high school classes.  While they might seem harder at first, the truth is that they simply require a different skillset.

College students who are not getting the grades were unable to adapt and work on that skillset.

Socially, status and popularity are less important.  You can build a social circle with as many cool people as you want regardless of what you do.

While it is still possible to become popular in the “social scene,” not having that popularity is no barrier to making friends.

Things that were kept underground in high school like alcohol and drugs are out in the open in college (so long as the cops aren’t around, of course).  If you are into those things, you will have no problem getting them in college.

A final point is that college students are more mature than high school students, so sex is pretty normal amongst couples.  It is not uncommon for condoms and lube to be passed out to promote organizations and events.

Obviously, this wasn’t the case in most high schools.

What Does It Mean To Be Successful In College?

May 21, 2009

“Your college years are the best years of your life.”

You hear this all the time.  College is portrayed as a sort of heavenly place where young people gather to work hard, party hard and have all kinds of decadent fun.  Is this reality?

Many people do not have this experience when they are in college.  A lot of college students find themselves losing their minds trying to pull the grades or wander through a limbo of booze and drama, only to emerge as unprepared for the world as they were four years earlier.

It’s unfortunate, really.  The jury is still out on whether or not college is the “best” years of your life, however there is no reason why they should not be awesome years during which you had all the success you desired and then some.  Instead of feeling like you are struggling, you should be plowing through like the Incredible Hulk… on steroids…

A lot of college students struggle with the basics.  Ask a crowd of college students what “success in college” actually means, and you will get a flurry of answers.

“Getting a 4.0”

“Getting laid a lot”

“Learning stuff”

“Becoming a better thinker”

“Becoming wiser”

“Partying it up”

“Become a social butterfly”


“Getting a good job”

“It’s subjective”

That last answer is part true.  Indeed, the specifics are subjective.  That said, there are three broad things that you must do to be able to look back on your college years and say, “wow, I was really successful.”

1. You must get the grades.  Plain and simple.  Fundamentally, you are forking over a lot of money in order to get a nice piece of paper that, you hope, will open up some doors for you later on.

2. You must grow as a person. By the time you exit college, you should be different in many respects than you were when you first entered.

3. You must have fun. If you don’t have fun, you are serving a jail sentence, not attending college (Or living, for that matter).

Notice how broad those three are.  What each of those things means to you will be different than what they mean to you friends, special someone, mother, father, cousins, aunts, me, and pop culture idols.

The other thing to notice is that they reinforce one another.  Letting one or two of them go by the wayside will hurt you in the one or two you are focusing on.

Getting the Grades

Are you getting the grades you need to get in the areas that you need to get them?

When you ask the typical college student, “how are your grades?” they usually respond with “uhh…they’re OK.”  What the hell does that even mean?  They are either what you need, or they are not.

The ambitious premed student will obviously have a different standard for “getting the grades” than someone who just wants a specific degree to get a specific type of job within 4 years.  To one, a 3.8 is unacceptably low while the other would be ecstatic with a 3.3.

It is absolutely true that you can get a 4.0 in college.  Some of the people I interviewed for my upcoming book pulled it off in spite of some pretty insane challenges.  If that is your goal, then by all means go for it.  You will find some very useful stuff on this blog to help you get there.

If you do not want a 4.0, that’s perfectly legit as well.

That said, everyone should have a target GPA that aligns with their goals.

“But Andy,” you might protest, “I don’t know exactly what I want to do after college!  I just want to give myself a lot of flexibility.”

Fine.  Figure out what you need to do to give yourself that flexibility.  A numerical GPA should come out of that.

Your target GPA can change over time.  However, this should only happen if your goals/priorities have really changed, or if you were a little too zealous with your projection.  While proper use of the techniques and strategies in this book will allow you to get whatever realistic goal you want, they cannot defeat the forces of arithmetic.

In other words, if you a sophomore with a 3.8, you cannot get a 4.0.  Sorry, I’m not God.

In the basics article, I give you some techniques that everyone, from the least ambitious to the very ambitious can apply IMMEDIATELY to drastically generate better work.

In “Dealing With Boring Classes,” you get some techniques for getting the most out of lecture so you learn stuff the first time it is presented.

Applying the techniques in those two articles alone should be enough for most college students to get the grades they want

For college students who have heavy courseloads, there are some advanced posts describing different things you can do to keep your sanity.

Growing as a Person

Doesn’t that sound cheesy.

Yes, it is a little airy fairy.  However, there is no better way to put it.

When you come into college, you are a person.  Your essence stays the same throughout, however the way you act can most definitely change.  What I am talking about are things like…

– Maturity
– Emotional Health
– Physical Health
– Mental Health
– Self-discipline
– Focus
– Social Skills
– Relationship Skills
– Self-confidence
– Opinions and values
– Authenticity
-Ability to empathize

This is by no means a complete list, however it should give you an idea of what I am talking about.

When you grow as a person, you improve in these areas.

In fact, I will take it one step further.

You should improve in ALL of these areas during your college years.

Whoa there!

Note how I did not say “you must develop the self-discipline of a monk,” “you must become a social butterfly” or “you must be able to go do a triathalon.”  However, there is no reason NOT to make at least SLIGHT improvements in all of those areas by the time you are done with college.

For goodness sakes, we are talking YEARS here.

If you observe your elders who are middle aged or older, most of them are decaying in these areas.  When you ask them why they are letting themselves get overweight, you will usually hear “because I’m getting older” as a response.

While I do not think this is a good enough excuse, it does have some meat on it.  After the age of thirty, on average, we naturally begin to decline.  For example, we lose about a half-pound of muscle every year without intervening (By, you know, actually using your muscles).

During our college years, we are at the height of our natural development.  Our bodies have higher metabolisms than they ever will, our muscles are growing faster than they ever will, and our overall energy output is higher than it ever will be.

In other words, not growing is unnatural!  Older folks don’t have this privilege.

This personal growth does not require reading a bunch of self-help material or spending hours a day at the gym.  It will naturally happen so long as you are being proactive with your college experience, something you are doing by studying and applying the stuff on this website.

Having Fun

No, the definition is no necessarily “getting hammered,” “going to house parties” or “playing World of Warcraft” (not to say that you are wrong for having fun when you do those things)

It is important to do things that you enjoy during your college years, and for the rest of life as well.  Unfortunately, too many college students dismiss this as “wasting time” or “not my thing.”


As I talk about in other sections, it is impossible to be working at a level of peak performance unless you do things that rejuvenate yourself.  If the name doesn’t tip you off, peak performance is when you are producing your best stuff.  Obviously, to get the grades, this is the level where you want to be.

So yes, even the most hardcore of you need to have fun.

What that means to you is different than what it means to me.

If you do not know how to have fun (Something that more people than you might think struggle with), make a commitment right now to find something.  That means getting out of your room and trying new things.  I will be writing an article with some suggestions.

If you want to be more social, but lack the social skills, there are articles on how to improve your social skills, how to have fun at parties and how to develop a “cooler” personality.

If you want a boyfriend or girlfriend, but have no experience, there will be plenty of posts for you.

Some Advanced Time Management Skills

May 20, 2009

These are some suggestions for college students with the craziest schedules.  Treat these like a buffet table: take what looks good and ignore the rest.

The Morning Ritual

A fantastic habit to get into is to do the same thing everyday for the first hour or so after you wake up.

Most people in college wake up, roll out of bed after hitting the snooze button a few times, do the essentials, and then go about their day.

The problem with this is that whatever emotional, mental and physical state you were in the night before, you will be in when you get up the next morning.  You lack control over your state when you go to class in the morning.

If you implement a morning ritual, however, you have total control over your state when you get started in the morning.

Here is an example of what I do EVERY single morning.

1.  Wake up, play some chillout music for 15 minutes while I lay in my bed envisioning what I want to do both big picture and small picture.

2.  Drink a half a liter of water

3.  Go to the bathroom

4.  Drink a protein shake while browsing the news

5.  Go to the gym and lift for 20 minutes

6.  Return to my room and eat a delicious meal

7.  Get dressed, brush my teeth, etc.

8.  5 minutes of sitting on my bed relaxing

9.  15 minutes of reading

This “ritual” takes me about an hour and a half (yours does not have to be so long or so detailed). Notice how I have things that automatically get me into a calm emotional state, a strong physical state and a focused and present mental state.

In short, I am at my peak every single morning, prepared to dominate the world.

By being at my peak, I can be productive immediately.

Create your own ritual (or copy mine, hehe).  Any good ritual should have something…

– that energizes you

– that you really enjoy doing

– that reminds you of WHAT you are doing and WHY you are doing it

Some things to consider doing are affirmations, meditation, running, trampoline jumping, surfing, a morning blowjob, visualization, playing your favorite music, writing poetry, reading something inspiring and going to the gym.

Take control over how you feel when you go about your day.  This small investment will give you an enormous return.

Figure out your highest leverage thing, and make that the first thing you do every day

Alright, so you’ve done your ritual.  You are feeling like Superman.  What now?

Take advantage of how awesome you feel and go do something that will give you the best long term results: your highest leverage activity.

For example, say you are a premed student.  You need to do well on the MCAT in order to get into medical school.  Therefore, preparing for your MCAT is probably your highest leverage activity, since doing well on that one thing will give you an enormous return in the future.

So, immediately after finishing your morning ritual, spend some time studying for your MCAT.  Even if it is only a small amount of time before class, spend your time on this.  Not only are you putting your best possible effort into the most important thing, you are getting into the “get shit done” state that will make the rest of your day really productive.

You are building positive momentum.

If you instead spend 10 minutes watching SportsCenter, you are getting into a “sit on your ass and waste time” state.  This is negative momentum.

In physics, the first law of motion states that “an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force while an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.”  The same applies to you.

Be in motion from the get-go.  Spend some time on the most important thing in your life before working on anything else.

The Best Way to Block Out Your Time

As I talk about in the Study Skills Every College Student Needs article, it is best to work for a chunk of time, then to take some time where you totally disengage from work.

If you have hours of work ahead of you, you need to take this principle to the max.  I learned how from Eben Pagan.

The 50/60/30 rule works like this.

Do 50 minutes of focused work

Take a 10 minute break

Do 60 minutes more of focused work

Take a 30 minute break

There is a 2:30 hour chunk right there.  Stack them if you need more time.

This is far and away the most efficient way to block out your time.  It maximizes the Ultradian Cycle to give you maximum focus for the longest period of time.  The breaks are just long enough to rejuvenate you so that when you do work, you can work at peak efficiency.

Remember, when you take a break, try and do something that is either emotional or physical.

Manipulate your working environment

I used to do work wherever.  Sometimes I would work in the library, sometimes at a coffee shop, sometimes on my bed, etc.  This is fine if you do not have a super demanding workload.

However, if you workload is really demanding, you need to consciously work in an environment that has no distractions AND inspires you to create masterpieces.

If I sent you to work in a windowless room with soundproofed white walls, you would not work all that well.  While there are indeed no distractions, the environment is, well, uninspiring.

If I sent you to the middle of the rainforest to write a poem, you might be really inspired to produce a masterpiece, but would be pretty distracted by the constant rain and killer bugs flying around.

You can either find places around campus that provide this for you, or you can create them yourself.

In fact, you can take this really far.  One guy I interviewed for this book works 8 hours a day in his room.  Around his desk he has plants, a funky light setup (He claims it inspires his soul), a fish tank and candles.  His desk is one of those raised ones that allows him to stand while he works (A lot of people like to stand while they work).  Moreover, he’s got some funky New Age music playing (Again, his soul) and, to top it off, he uses some kind of spray to make his room smell like the woods.


I am obviously not telling you to have the exact setup that this guy has, only to notice how he went about creating an environment that inspires him.  What inspires you?  Pictures?  Music?  Aromas?  Chewing gum?

Think about it.

Plan out your work

*Gasp*  “You want me to regiment my life!!!”

For most college students, this will not be necessary; however, if you have an intense workload, you need to do this.

If you have an idea of what you will be doing during your blocks of work time, it is much easier to focus because you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Moreover, the annoying voice in your head won’t be running through your to-do list since you will have already done all of that beforehand.

What do I mean by “plan out your work?”

As an example, let’s say today I need to write a 5 page paper for Psychology, read 40 pages for Sociology, and get a room for the next Squirrel Club meeting.  Here’s what a “plan” will be.

I will need three 50/60/30’s.  During my first 50/60/30, I will outline my paper and write exactly 3 pages.  During my second 50/60/30, I will read 40 pages for Sociology.  For my last 50/60/30, I will finish my paper in the first 50 minute chunk.  In the 60 minute chunk, I will make the calls to get a room and then look over my paper.

It doesn’t need to be much more complex than that.

Clean the grill

This is another concept I first learned from Eben.  When the restaurant closes, chefs do not just leave.  First, they clean off their grill so that when they come in the next morning, they can get right to cooking.  If they leave the grill dirty, then they would have to waste some time the next morning cleaning it before they can get to work.

Cleaning up yesterday’s mess kills whatever momentum you have going.

You need to do something similar to this when you are getting work done.  When you are finishing a block of work, take a couple of seconds to clean everything up.  For instance, if you are typing up a paper, close Microsoft Word.  If you are on the web, close the web browser.  If you are working at a desk, clear the desk.  That way when you go to use it again, you can get right to work.

This might sound trivial, but it can make a difference.  Don’t get too hung up on it unless your workload is really heavy.

Become an early riser.

If you are really, really busy, then you need to become an early riser.  Humans are biologically programmed to be the most active during the day, so if you want to be most productive, you need to get out of bed early in the morning.

This is a habit required only for those with crazy workloads.  If even after applying all the other habits you still find yourself overwhelmed (Unlikely for 95% of you), then you need to do this.

Of course, if you want to become an early riser anyway, by all means go ahead.

This is pretty easy to do.  For 30 days straight, get up at the exact same time every morning.  Do not deviate by more than 30 minutes.  If you under sleep one night, you will be more tired the next night, which will make it easier to get to bed early.

After a week or so, you will be able to get up without an alarm.  After a month, it will feel weird when you do not get up at that time.

Again, this is not required unless you truly are overloaded with work.