Studying/motivation tips

Chev ChelliosChev Chellios Member Posts: 341 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hi guys,

Just wanted to throw this out there....basically I want to get a few more certs done but am finding it difficult around a busy job (I know some of you are lucky to have quiet periods to use for study but not getting many at present) and busy home life with my wife working evenings and me looking after our son. Is anyone in the same boat? How do you find time or is it just a case of saying screw it here's 30 minutes or an hour everyday and sticking to it religiously to read/lab etc? I have good intentions to do stuff late in the evenings but find something else usually happens or I just un wind a bit when I get some time. I am desperate to get organised and nail the 2008 MCSA cert track but lost alot of motivation after failing the 70-640 last year and a temporary study break turned into a long break.

Cheers all,



  • Grafixx01Grafixx01 Member Posts: 106 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Oh oh oh, me too! Dude, I work 50+ hrs a week, come home to a house that I am the only one who cleans, makes dinner, cleans up after everyone else, take care of my 2yr old daughter, the dog, vehicle, and manage all finances of the house. Wife works 4 days a week. I've tried to explain that if she wants out of our current geographical location, that she needs to do more so that I can be afforded the time to study for certifications. As well as those certifications acting as part of my CPEs for CISSP and other certifications that require CPEs. She always says, "OK", but nothing comes of it. So I'm left to studying about 30-60 minutes a day, usually late at night after everything is done, to include putting down my 2yr old for bed since I am the only one she will allow to put her to bed since we have a routine that nobody else will do with her.

    The only thing I can do is put eBooks on my iPad and read them that way. That has helped a lot! The iPad I have is ONLY WiFi and work doesn't allow WiFi so I take it there and if I go to the bathroom, I'll read a bit there. I do the same thing at home (but I do have WiFi there) which sometimes leads to a problem of playing a game or two on the iPad. However, I usually take the iPad with me everywhere that I can so I can read if my daughter is busy doing something, like playing on the playground with kids her own age. I even converted the TrainSignal videos I have to be iPad compliant (format wise) and watch them on there with headphones when I can.
  • Chev ChelliosChev Chellios Member Posts: 341 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Glad it isn't just me dude! The iPad/tablet idea is good. I put a few books on my kindle (though some don't look great on there) so try and read when I get a few moments spare and lab when I can, it's hard to structure anything though. My 2 year old son is exactly the same as you daughter at night bless him. Maybe his bed time story should be some technical books then I can get some more studying in :) Good luck with it all anyhow and if you want to bounce any ideas around give me a shout!
  • swellbowswellbow Member Posts: 26 ■□□□□□□□□□
    It sounds like your issue is more one of discipline/time management than motivation. If you get home from work all strung out and don't have a set time/place to study, then you're way more likely to procrastinate, no matter how devoted you are to getting that cert.

    Buy the exam seat, set a date, and budget your time accordingly. If I'm writing an exam in, say, 2 months, and I need X hours of total study time for an exam, I'll set aside a given number of hours every day. Make a schedule, stick to it. Set aside one day a week as a reward day. If you study all week, use the study slot on the reward day to play video games, hang out with the family etc. If not, use the time slot to study.

    You also need a distraction-free study setting. I like to go to the library. I bring a thermos of coffee, my laptop (using a VM devoted entirely to my studies), a set of headphones to block out ambient noise, and turn off my Wi-Fi until my work is done. If you're working on something like a Cisco cert where you need a lab, try to set up in the garage/basement/closet/any clean, free space you can find.

    I know everyone has given this sort of advice a million times before, but we all seem to have trouble sticking to it from time to time. I don't think you'd even be at this point if you weren't at least a little resourceful.. you'll figure it out.
  • Grafixx01Grafixx01 Member Posts: 106 ■■■□□□□□□□

    The one time that I know I did have the time to study, without interruptions is when I was sent to a class and had to stay in a hotel, away from EVERYTHING. Albeit, I did still find myself getting bored and playing on the hotel WiFi. That or going to the library is / was the ONLY time I had a zero-irruption for studying.

    I think a big part of my issue is not time management / discipline like swellbow suggests, I have had this issue all my life with school, college, and all certs. I have like ADHD / ADD so for me to sit and read or watch IT videos gets boring... FAST! So I usually tend to be reading two books at once on my iPad. I do this by using the Kindle app and using iBooks. I try to have both books relevant to the same subject but sometimes it doesn't go that way, actually, most times it doesn't. Like for instance right now, I'm doing CWNA and CEH. When I get bored with one, I go over to the other.

    My wife hate it. She even told me she doesn't know how I do it because I can sit there and read a book for like five or ten minutes, then put it down and come back to it. I've read books on like WWII (the only non-IT or TEOTWAWKI) books that I can read but I've started, read about 50-100 pages, put it down and come back MONTHS later and knew exactly what I had read and what was going on like I never put it down. She HATES that with a passion cause she can't do it. She has to read the book in its entirety.

    So in my case, I know it's not a discipline thing, especially since I have "too much of the U.S. Military discipline left" in me, as I am told, its more of an ADHD / ADD thing.

    Maybe that's your issue?
  • jrspetchjrspetch Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    The tablet is what I use largely enroute to / from work, often with offline materials ( PDFs and videos ) during the 1.5hr commute using the train. Whilst at work ( I "learn" in the morning till lunch break and use the afternoon purely for work ), I use short breaks ( Tomato timer technique: Pomodoro Technique - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ).

    Weekends are used to solve lab problems laced with pretty of hands-on practice.

    I used this after having initially failed my CCNA last year and since then have been able to manage time much better ( not to mention scored well in the CCNA and Security tracks ). I believe it is a rather individual thing in finding the right methodology. All the best!
  • BokehBokeh Member Posts: 1,636 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Try the 50-10-50 method. Works for a lot of people

    Build Study Stamina with the 50/10 Rule | Premed HQ
  • Chev ChelliosChev Chellios Member Posts: 341 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the studying tips guys, it's good to see how others do it, especially the focussing and dedicating a certain amount of time to it most days- I am inspired and shall put it into practice! Grafixx01 that is exactly how I am dude and my wife says the same to me, I can skim read books on WW2 etc and retain everything yet I read some of the dull Microsoft books and don't seem to concentrate or retain it anywhere near as well. Maybe I need to study a couple of certs alongside each other to keep motivated as finding the 70-640 material pretty dull- did it at uni fine so should work now too icon_smile.gif Got the Minasi books on server 2008 R2 and finding them a better read so alongside some dedicated labbing things should go ok as I don't have much faith in the supposed MS official exam books.

    I am moving house soon and the new place has alot more space so will definately set up everything in a dedicated part of the house or garage- think that will help me focus and concentrate better as trying to learn things with a million things to distract you isn't the best environment for studying. Thanks again everyone!
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