Age quod agis — do what you are doing

academics study skills

While teaching during and after the pandemic, I noticed my students and I started developing dangerous behaviors: 

  • If they were completing a research assignment, my students opened up other tabs. 
  • If I was commuting on the bus, my headphones were in and my head was down. 
  • If we were relaxing during a break, we were also trying to check in on upcoming deadlines. 

 Sound familiar? 

The Latin phrase “Age quod agis” translates roughly to “Do what you are doing.” Put simply, focus on one task at a time and engage in it 100%. 

That means: 

  • Research when you are researching. 
  • Commute when you are commuting. 
  • Relax when you are relaxing. 

 

Doing what we are doing–doing it fully–allows us to spark joy and gratitude during previously mundane or frustrating tasks. Of course, it also allows us to be more productive and learn more as students. 

But HOW do you do what you are doing, especially when school feels daunting? Here are a few tips that have worked for me and my students: 

(1) Set short, small goals 

Set a goal to work for even just 5 minutes. Big project coming up? Pick one related research article to read or a 5-minute video. That’s it. If you finish and feel up for another short, small goal, then go for it!  

(2) Utilize timers 

 Encourage the use a clock or a free time tracking solution (like Toggl.com) to set those goals and stick to them. Are you engaged 100%? Bring an awareness to distractions by reflecting honestly when the timer goes off. How many times did your mind drift? Or, are you ready to work for longer? Awesome work! 

(3) Avoid shame at all costs 

Did you zone out during that research article? Did you pick up their phone before the timer was done? Amazing! Reward yourself for being aware of those behaviors. It’s natural to feel or express shame but when we shame ourselves or others, all we do is crush motivation and impede progress. 

(4) Celebrate successes, especially the small ones 

This is absolutely the most important tip to follow. When that 5-minute video ends or timer goes off, clap for yourself, jump up and down, tell a friend or family member all about it. Teach yourself that when you do what you are doing, there is so much to celebrate. 

Angela graduated from Georgetown University with a BSBA in finance and economics in 2015 and is currently pursuing an MD at NYU Grossman Long Island School of Medicine with plans to practice pediatrics.

Comments

topicTopics
academics study skills MCAT medical school admissions SAT college admissions expository writing English MD/PhD admissions strategy writing LSAT GMAT GRE physics chemistry biology math graduate admissions academic advice ACT interview prep law school admissions test anxiety language learning career advice premed MBA admissions personal statements homework help AP exams creative writing MD study schedules test prep computer science Common Application summer activities history mathematics philosophy organic chemistry secondary applications economics supplements research 1L PSAT admissions coaching grammar law psychology statistics & probability legal studies ESL dental admissions CARS SSAT covid-19 logic games reading comprehension engineering USMLE calculus mentorship PhD admissions Spanish parents Latin biochemistry case coaching verbal reasoning DAT English literature STEM excel medical school political science skills AMCAS French Linguistics MBA coursework Tutoring Approaches academic integrity chinese genetics letters of recommendation mechanical engineering Anki DO Social Advocacy admissions advice algebra art history artificial intelligence astrophysics business careers cell biology classics dental school diversity statement gap year geometry kinematics linear algebra mental health presentations quantitative reasoning study abroad tech industry technical interviews time management work and activities 2L DMD IB exams ISEE MD/PhD programs Sentence Correction adjusting to college algorithms amino acids analysis essay athletics business skills cold emails data science finance first generation student functions graphing information sessions international students internships logic networking poetry resume revising science social sciences software engineering trigonometry writer's block 3L AAMC Academic Interest EMT FlexMed Fourier Series Greek Health Professional Shortage Area Italian Lagrange multipliers London MD vs PhD MMI Montessori National Health Service Corps Pythagorean Theorem Python Shakespeare Step 2 TMDSAS Taylor Series Truss Analysis Zoom acids and bases active learning architecture argumentative writing art art and design schools art portfolios bacteriology bibliographies biomedicine brain teaser campus visits cantonese capacitors capital markets central limit theorem centrifugal force chemical engineering chess chromatography class participation climate change clinical experience community service constitutional law consulting cover letters curriculum dementia demonstrated interest dimensional analysis distance learning econometrics electric engineering electricity and magnetism escape velocity evolution executive function fellowships freewriting genomics harmonics health policy history of medicine history of science hybrid vehicles hydrophobic effect ideal gas law immunology induction infinite institutional actions integrated reasoning intermolecular forces intern investing investment banking lab reports linear maps mandarin chinese matrices mba medical physics meiosis microeconomics mitosis mnemonics music music theory nervous system neurology neuroscience object-oriented programming office hours