You can get pretty far by:
- Paying attention
- Staying healthy
- Being persistent
Most good general advice just emphasizes these points by repetition. Do not worry about other strategies till you establish these foundations.
Great, so now we have some core goals, but how do you go about establishing and maintaining such foundations? These habits seem to help many students:
- Get as much sleep as you can 📕
- Sleep is when your brain solves hard problems for you.
- Help yourself out by going to bed at the same time every day.
- Establish and maintain a regular routine 📕
- We have limited brain power and emotional energy each day.
- A regular routine lowers the cost of maintenance tasks, thus freeing up brain power and emotional energy for working on hard problems.
- Make progress every weekday 📕
- The most pernicious trap: procrastinate today and promise yourself you will do even more to catch up tomorrow or over the weekend.
- Just getting started is often the biggest barrier to daily progress.
- Do something on your main project at the start of every day. It will be easier and more pleasant than you expect (or, at the very least, you will have less crap left to grind through).
- Prepare for tomorrow
- Before powering down for the day, write down the most important task you will accomplish tomorrow morning.
- This task should be something you expect can be done in about 30 minutes (so it may actually take an hour).
- Stunts like pulling all-nighters are almost always a bad big-picture tradeoff.
- Preparing for tomorrow means stopping work today with enough time to power down, plan tomorrow, and get good sleep.