How to Kill Procrastination and Make Time for Your GMAT Prep

Are you having trouble studying for the GMAT?

Do you simply find yourself meaning to do it but never getting it done?

It is easy to find the time for GMAT preparation. In fact, it is so easy that people tend to make excuses about how they don’t have time to study.

Sure—we’re all busy, and it is easy to let life get in the way. Years of working as a GMAT tutor in London and Paris has shown me every imaginable excuse. Is yours be the next one? It doesn’t have to be.

However, the people who get their study done have figured out a way, somehow, to get into the mode of studying despite the fact that it definitely takes a chunk out of the day.

There are several reasons for this, but one of the most important things to do is to analyze your motivations for doing the test in the first place.

Ask yourself why you want to take the exam. Go ahead, I’m waiting.

15 SECONDS

Think about where resistance comes in—usually this is some sort of generalized anxiety, such as “What if I don’t get accepted at Harvard?”

This is a valid concern. Of course if you don’t take the GMAT in the first place, you certainly won’t get accepted!
So let’s look at a little analogy.

Nevertheless, when you wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom, do you consider how many steps it will take to get there?

If you consciously think of the 40 or 60 steps you would have to make to get there and back, you might as well just stay in bed, right?

I didn’t think so.

Make that drive to get into business school like having to pee so bad you wake up in the middle of the night. Let’s take that first step and develop some momentum.

Just as lifting a boulder starts with getting it loose even by a small degree, we have to start small.
It’s all psychological! To begin studying, you must become a “studier.”

One of my favorite business authors, Ramit Sethi, suggests developing the habit of flossing not by forcing yourself to do it each day.

Rather, he suggests flossing one tooth per day until you internalize the fact that you are “a flosser.”

Then it becomes easier and easier to build up the habit of studying.

Of course moving time down into units that are digestible works perfectly with the concept of “chunking” data. Break it down into a small enough task that you can do it today. Can you?

What task is small enough that you can complete it today? Is it learning the multiplication table for 2? Is it learning one grammar rule?

Even if something only takes five or ten minutes to do, it is better than nothing. In fact, you have read this blog post, which is five minutes of your time.

Do something for another five minutes and you will have spent ten fully focused minutes. Likely you have learned or practiced something that you didn’t know yesterday.

If you can start with 10-20 minutes per day, great! Increase your study time by a small amount every other day or so, reaching the optimal 1.5-2.5 hours per day at a comfortable rate.

Not all at once! Let GMAT study be comfortable, and the rewards will come.

Looking for other ways to optimize your time?

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p.s. What will you do today?

p.p.s. How have you made time for other projects that are important to you?

About the author

Rowan Hand Head Coach Rowan Hand has been a GMAT tutor and content developer for more than 10 years. Rowan has coached hundreds of clients in private and group classes. Former clients have gone on to Harvard, LBS, INSEAD, Wharton, and other excellent business schools.