The X-Effect

Bringing back the project based theme of the blog this week with a new experiment. It’s called the X-effect. I stumbled across this subreddit a few weeks ago, and have been meaning to apply this to my study technique in some form. The gist of it is that you have a grid with 7×7 squares, each representing one of 49 consecutive days. If you see the template provided by this redditor, the header simply says “New habit”. I’ve chosen “write for five minutes” as my habit, as I currently have 6 essays due by the end of March, on top of all my other coursework.

I think lowering the bar to only five minutes per session will be a key factor in getting started each day. If attaining a cross in your grid is a monumental task, like “write at least a thousand words” per day, you’ll end up dreading the task. For me this is all about the habit building.

Some tips for lowering the bar for starting your own project:

  1. Create a pleasant study area. I usually make a cup of tea, light some candles and put on one of the ambient soundboards mentioned in my last blogpost.IMG_0070
  2. Try to recreate the same study environment each study session. Regardless of the type of work you will be doing, having a dedicated study area triggers something in your mind. Try to eliminate all distractions.
  3. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT! Just try! So what if you don’t know the answer to the equation you are trying to solve, or if you’re stuck trying to decipher what one of the ancient Greek philosophers meant by x y and z. Way too many of my friends have analysis paralysis these days, and it’s one of the reasons why I’m challenging myself to do this. If I have to write every day, some of the things I write are bound to suck. That is what second drafts are for, and you cannot have a second draft until you’ve written the first.

What I like about this is the versatility of it. While I’m using it as a study tool, one of my closest friends is using it for fitness purposes. And from what I have gathered, reading what other redditors have written, it can be used for anything from quitting smoking to flossing every night.


I’ll try to write an update post each week! At least I’ll post an image of my X-effect grid. That way, I’ll have even more of an incentive to write each day.

(Curious about the time table hanging on my fridge? Here’s a link to the blogpost explaning the Autopilot schedule in the background)

  • Benedicte
The X-Effect