29 - Surf is Up Process Versus Product

دوره: Coursera – Learning How to Learn / درس 29

Coursera – Learning How to Learn

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29 - Surf is Up Process Versus Product

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One of the best ways of being effective in

your learning

is to use mental tools and tricks to

inspire and motivate yourself.

First, when it comes to learning in

general, you should realize that it’s

perfectly normal to start with a few

negative feelings about beginning a

learning session.

Even when it’s a subject you ordinary


it’s how you handle those feelings that


Researchers have found that

nonprocrastinators put their

negative thinking aside saying things to

themselves like.

Quit wasting time and just get on with it,

once you get going, you’ll feel better

about it.

If you find yourself avoiding certain

tasks because they make you

feel uncomfortable, you should know


another helpful way to re-frame things.

And that’s to learn to focus on process

not product.

Process means, the flow of time and the

habits and actions associated with that

flow of time.

As in, I’m going to spend 20 minutes


Product is an outcome, for example, a

homework assignment that you need to


To prevent procrastination you want to

avoid concentrating on product.

Instead, your attention should be on

building processes.

Processes relate to simple habits, habits

that coincidentally allow you

to do the unpleasant tasks that need to be


For example, lets say you don’t like doing

homework in a particular class.

So you put off working on the homework.

It’s only five questions you think.

How hard could that be?

Deep down, you realize that answering


five questions could be a very lengthy


It’s easier to live in a fantasy world

where the five questions, or

the ten page report or whatever, can be

done at the last minute.

Your challenge is to avoid focusing on

the product, the answers to the questions.

The product is what triggers the pain that

causes you to procrastinate.

Instead, you need to focus on the process

or processes.

The small chunks of time you need over

days or

even weeks to answer the questions or

prepare for tests.

Who cares whether you finish the homework


grasp the key concepts in any one session.

The whole point instead, is that you


put forth your best effort for a short


The process.

Notice how in this picture physicist and

surfer Garret Lacy is focused on the


Not on the accomplishment of having surfed

that wave.

For you, one of the easiest ways to focus

on process is to focus on doing a

Pomodoro, a 25 minute timed work

session, not on completing a task.

The essential idea here is that the zombie

habitual part

of your brain likes processes because it

can march mindlessly along.

It’s far easier to enlist the friendly

zombie habit to

help with a process, then to help with a


By focusing on process rather than

product, you allow yourself to

back away from judging yourself, am I

getting closer to finishing?

And instead you allow yourself to relax

into the flow of the work.

The key is when a distraction arises, which

it inevitably will,

you want to train yourself to just let it flow


Of course, setting yourself up so that


are minimal is also a very good idea.

Many students find that either a quiet

space or noise canceling headphones

if, if you can afford them, can be helpful

when they’re really trying to concentrate.

I’m Barbara Oakley.

Thanks for learning about learning.


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