How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Studying

I’ve often said that the CPA exam will test your ability to not procrastinate. The exam requires long and consistent study hours and it is generally difficult to cram for due to the large volume of CPA material.

Here are my five tips for stopping that nasty procrastination habit:

  1. Break up your tasks into micro tasks. If you take a look at your FAR exam material and it consists of one thousand pages of text, 800 practice questions and thirty hours of video you will avoid this mountain of material at all costs. Instead, break up the study material into small sections. You might only focus on half a chapter of text. By creating bite sized study portions you ensure that you are not avoiding your CPA study time.
  2. Turn off the Internet. The Internet is a wonderful thing but it is totally unnecessary for most CPA studying. Your desk should consist of your study materials, a pen and a piece of paper. Everyone is addicted to the Internet. Why give yourself the chance to be distracted with Facebook or Twitter? Simply turn off the wifi or better yet change the password to something that you can’t remember. Put the password on another level of your house making the Internet inaccessible.
  3. Find a study buddy. Studies have shown that people do not like to let down a study buddy. You might be more encouraged to actually study when someone is watching you. There are a number of CPA forums where people are looking for a study group in your city.
  4. Use an established study timeline. If you speak with people who have passed the CPA exam you will find that most of them used a timeline. They planned out their study schedule down to each chapter. They knew weeks in advance that they would be using CPA practice questions in the second last week of studying.
  5. Understand that there are times of the day where you operate at peak performance. Every body is an individual and you have to know when your brain is operating and peak efficiency. For most people it is when they wake up until lunch time. Preferably you want to study during these hours. Similarly, most people find that they are lethargic after lunch between 2-4 p.m Schedule meetings, do your admin work, surf the Net, work out and plan not to study during non-optimal brain power times.

These are the five habits to eliminate procrastination when studying for the CPA exam.