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This is why you should study less, not more, every day

April 27, 2022 , by Dr Julian Northbrook

First off, a quick heads up:

MEFA enrolment will open again tomorrow.


That’s not what I want to talk about today.

One of the big questions I get a lot is:

Why is it better to limit your study time to a short, focused block of time rather than studying, say, five or six hours a day?

There are a couple of reasons.

But the main one is that it’s simply not productive. See, there’s this thing called “Parkinson’s Law” which states that work always expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. So if you give yourself five hours, that’s how long it will take. If you give yourself one hour, you’ll still get it done in the same time, and probably at a higher level since you won’t be procrastinating and faffing around.

A good example of this is a friend of mine here in Dublin who is learning English at one of the ESL schools here. She needs to go every day to maintain her visa, so that’s fine. But the reality is she spends five hours a day there and does basically… nothing. Now, in this case, it’s also because the methods used are simply crap. But it’s also because a very large percentage of the time is spent actually spent just filling time for no real reason.

We both agree that she’d be better off skipping school and doing a focused hour of self-study every day, then using the rest of the time to actually do shit in life.

That’s not an option for her because again, visa.

But you get the point.

Another reason is that for most people, trying to do several hours a day simply isn’t sustainable.

Life gets busy.

And what always happens is you do it for two or three days, then end up busy and tired and skip a day.

Then because you’ve skipped one day, you skip the next.

Before you know it?

You’re just doing your study time one day a week, and that’s basically useless.


You get the idea.

Less is more, as they say, when it comes to English study time.

Now, if you don’t know what to do in your study time or how to structure your routine (because it’s not quite as simple as just “do one hour of study a day” – there’s much more to it) joining the next MEFA group will probably be a good idea.

Again, I’ll open enrolment again tomorrow.

In the meantime, if you haven’t read my book Master English FAST, that’ll get you started right away:


Dr Julian Northbrook

P.S. Yes, I know these “daily” emails are pretty irregular at the moment.

This won’t be a permanent thing.

I’ll be going back to daily emails, just, yanno, right now I have other priorities.

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