Hillcroft LRC

Nose to the Grindstone

Posted on: May 19, 2017

tulipsBW-800pxSuch phrases that are supposed to encourage hard work sometimes have the opposite effect. For example, being told to ‘put your nose to the grindstone’ could put off anyone for whom self-discipline is elusive, from ever studying again! In the New Scientist this week (Issue 3126, pp. 27-30) is a feature article called ‘Daydream believer’. It looks at what we can do to increase our focus at a long task such as revision, looking particularly at letting the mind wander around a topic.

Several studies suggest that letting yourself daydream intentionally about a topic which you are learning is a more effective strategy than forcing yourself to concentrate over a lengthy period.

So when you’re studying, don’t put your nose to the grindstone – tend to the thought garden. Consider the makeup of the flowers (the interesting parts), appreciate the insects and worms (the causes and unseen elements), imagine the sunshine and rain that will fall in the future (the bigger context and processes). Build up an intentional daydream about your topic of study. Mull things over not only when you’re at a desk or in the library, but when you’re in the shower, walking up from the station or making a cup of tea.

There are tried and tested memory techniques that are based on visualisation of the topic matters for instance in rooms of a “house”.

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