The 20/10 Cycle: How I Hacked My Motivation to Study 12 Hours a Day

I’ll be the first to admit that it is difficult for me to concentrate, to achieve flow. I’ll be the first to tell someone “I can’t focus because I have the brain and charisma of a goldfish.”

Yet at one point I was studying for the bar 12 hours a day and getting stuff done, from getting up to going back to sleep. Part of it was an honest admission that I need to work around the fact that I can’t concentrate for long.

I dub it the 20/10 cycle. I used the 20/10 cycle to crank the productivity dial to a level worthy of my middle name (Danger, unofficially) and churn out those condensed outlines, cooked essays, and even time for entertainment.

You can also tweak it to suit your needs. Maybe you can even make time to “work out” or “have brunch” or “watch the game” or “travel” or “sign up for Barbri” or whatever weird activities you people do.

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5 Things I Did Differently the Second Time to Pass the Bar as a Repeater

The thing about reality is that your brain doesn’t notice it until it’s wrapped tightly around your brain like a sheet of aluminum foil, crinkling and making a polygonal mess.

0 minutes remaining. I slapped in my applicant ID, my entry ticket to three seconds of pristine agony. Then two, three more times. I made sure I was reading correctly. For once, I wasn’t delusional.

I could feel the heavy air of TRUTH closing in around me. Light fading quickly. But I wanted to believe. No, the silvery foil pushed its way around the noodles of my brain, turning into TV static. It was wrapped around the potato, and my brain realized it then.

In some other universe, I passed. But in this one, I failed. I failed. I failed.

2013 was the worst year of my life. My brain convinced me to break up with my friend of ten years and girlfriend of three. My dad screamed at our family on Christmas morning and night. I failed the July bar and haven’t since posted a status on Facebook out of supreme shame. 16 months and counting since becoming Facebook celibate. Facelibate.

I lied down on my bed. Then I got up.

The experiment was a failure. It was time to change the variables. This was how I would prove I was not insane. Then 2014 became the best year of my life.

Having experienced both outcomes of the California Bar Exam, I’ve distilled the following insights that were instrumental to passing the bar. These are things I did the second time but not the first time. Do you like clickbait? You won’t believe #4!

Any fool can learn from experience. I prefer to learn from other people’s experiences.

Make this the last time you have to walk the line between heaven and hell with these 5 things I did differently the second time to pass the bar exam.

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