My commitment to excellence in scholarship


I’d like to publicly commit to my Scholarship practices for January 2008. Drumroll, anyone? I should note that because school doesn’t start until January 7, I will do something slightly different until then. I will be reviewing each of last term’s classes once per day and producing a blog article about each. I will move to the following practices on Monday the 7th.

Practice/habit #1: Daily study

  • I described this practice a bit already in my post about this category of habits. It has been my experience that the extent to which I work with a subject frequently defines my success in comprehending the material therein. However, I’ve rarely been diligent enough to work with each subject every day. I think this is a logical test of the method. I may find that it’s overkill, I may find that it actually interferes with my comprehension. But, I won’t know until I try. For anyone that thinks this doesn’t seem like a difficult practice, it definitely represents a shift in strategy for me.
  • I will study each of my major subjects daily for at least half an hour per day. This includes: Advanced Cosmology and Symbolism (Heiner Fruehauf), Business Seminar (David Berkshire), Clinic Shift (David Berkshire), Formulas (Arnaud Versluys), Pharmacology of Natural Substances (Paul Kalnins – ND and anthroposophical medical genius), Points and Points lab (Dr. Xiaoli Chen) and Internal Medicine (Dr. Rihui Long). That’s three and a half hours total per day.
  • To make this maximally manageable, I will be utilizing “down time” to the best of my ability. This includes flashcards on the bus, when walking, when standing in line and being very conscious about my use of time in general. Because I’ve recently tightened up my time management system, I should be able to make it happen.
  • During exam weeks, I may shift my strategy slightly. I will reduce non-testing study time to only 15 minutes a day, increasing the testing subjects to necessary levels. This feature will only come into play if I decide to extend this habit out past January, as our first exams are unlikely to come in January. I hope.
  • I will not study on Sundays. I may read Chinese medicine related materials for pleasure on Sundays. I will not study on any special family days (birthdays, weddings, other celebrations or very difficult times).
  • I will not study for a class on the day that I have that class, though I will take 10-15 minutes at the end of the day to review my notes.
  • I will report as frequently as makes sense. I will try daily updates at first, but may decide to do batch posts every week or twice a week.

Practice/Habit #2: No distractions

  • This is a little simpler, as I’ve already moved strongly in this direction over the last year. I find that I study best when I’m distracted least. I know some folks seem to thrive in busy, crazy atmospheres – I’m just not one of them. I have had great study sessions in coffee shops, but those times are balanced by the number of times that I’ve ended up just watching folks walk by. I’m a Fire Dragon, what do you want from me?
  • I will always seek out solitude when studying – when at school, the back of the library with headphones on. When at home, the meditation room upstairs where I already have a beautiful study space created. Additionally, at home, I will make sure to let everyone know not to disturb me and for how long. I find that if my family knows when they CAN disturb me, they tend not to disturb me until then.
  • If I do not need my computer to study, I will not have it near me. If I do need my computer to study, but not the Internet, I will disconnect the Internet. If I need the Internet to study, I will not check email, blog statistics, Google Reader or anything else. Whatever I am working on, I will work only on that without any other programs open. I have already disabled all “automatic notifiers.”
  • If I decide to listen to music while studying, I will listen to only music without words.
  • I will turn off my cell phone during all study times.
  • If I must be disturbed while studying, I will deal with the disturbance in as little time as possible – marking my place or writing down a quick note to remind myself where I am in the study process. Then I will return directly to that task without even thinking about it.
  • These distraction reduction measures will be used regardless of if I’m studying for half an hour or five hours.
  • The only exceptions to this rule will be (a) when studying with others – a rare occurrence, (b) in long study breaks, I will break every 45-50 minutes for about 10 for some physical movement.

As an additional push, though extending beyond the month of January – I will attempt to get honors in three courses this term. No small feat given the courses I’m up against.

I want to point out that this is just two habits, one more difficult than the other. For those of you who don’t geek out on personal productivity literature or for whom this is going to be your first concerted habit change – one changed habit per period is usually preferred. This may be especially the case for this project, given that most of us will probably want to maintain some of our habits throughout the twelve months.

To keep updated with the latest about the Year of Sagely Living, including my own experiences in establishing and maintaining these crucial habits, be sure to subscribe to this blog via RSS feed or via email.


About Eric Grey

Hi - I'm the founder of this site and the primary master of all functions here. When I'm not writing, you can find me reaching out to the Chinese Medicine community across the web and in my own backyard. I currently teach Chinese herbs at my alma mater, the National College of Natural Medicine. Additionally, I'm the founder of Watershed Wellness, a thriving local clinic in Southeast Portland in Oregon. No matter where I'm working, you'll find my focus on the Classical approach to Chinese medicine laced throughout everything I do.

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