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Make This Your Last Time | Bar Exam Preparation
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I’ve been where you are. In a way, I’m still there.

Your hair feels gross, the fridge is empty, and you’ve been scraping together whatever free time you can. Words in front of you are jumbling together into a blurry mess, passing by like a dream and also slipping away like one.

In short, you feel like a steaming pile of anxiety because there’s so much to do with so little time to study for the bar exam and you’re feeling the pressure from the impending doomsday. The worst combination.

But it’s not just time. Time isn’t your scapegoat. “Life is short” is propaganda by people who wasted their time.

“Yeah, maybe when I have more time. I’m going to feel motivated someday. Everything happens for a reason.” Oh, okay.

You need ENERGY. You need CLARITY so you can do productive work. Even if you had the “motivation,” it doesn’t mean jack unless you do something with it.

I’m the LEAST energetic person you’ll ever meet. If I can find ways to juggle things, then so can you, a person who has generally been successful in life. We all have 24 hours a day.


 

Here are 6 ways to reclaim your time & energy while studying for the bar exam (even if you’re working full time):

 

No time?

RULE 1. Make time. There’s actually enough time. We just choose to squander it.

It’s not your fault. You need to feel like you have enough time to beat this thing, but your sleeves are constantly getting tugged by things that cry for your attention.

In terms of studying, that’s things like watching lectures, memorizing everything, making flashcards. Busy work. Things you’ll forget. Paths of least resistance.

Could you halve the time you spend on your prep-course regimen? Yes! Scroll down this article for more details.


RULE 2. Be conscious about entertainment.

Your job here is to prepare adequately for the bar exam. You don’t need to spend every day watching your favorite show. You have time for an hour-long Netflix break but not for bar prep?

Human attention is the scarcest resource in the world. Protect it.

What, you “need balance”? 

I’m not saying not to do any fun activities at all! Remember: Bar prep comes first, not last. Julius Caesar burned his own boats to instill total commitment in his soldiers.


RULE 3. Limit or delegate obligations.

Do you have to take care of family, kids, dogs, etc.? Set aside a fixed amount of time to address your other obligations (like you might with a job).

Then focus on the bar. Studying for the bar is also your obligation. Perhaps it’s your top priority.

Or get someone else to help. Make it up to them later.

Or hire someone. Or buy some useful study tools. You can buy back your time. No money? No friends? I don’t know. You’re probably screwed. See RULE 1.
 
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Okay, so you found or made some time. That’s cool but only half the story. We’re bottlenecked not just by time, but also your level of energy. (This is especially true if you’re working at the same time.)


No energy?

RULE 4. Sleep is the #1 cure-all. It’s also the #1 predictor of your energy and focus for tomorrow.

More details in this article. I also devote an entire lesson on optimizing sleep in my course Mental Engines because sleep is part of the work.

 

RULE 5. Get CLEAR on what you need to do.

Productivity (even excitement) comes from clarity. If you know exactly what the next step is, you’ll find yourself looking forward to it. As you take each step, you’ll find yourself that much more focused.


RULE 6. Discipline. Just do it.

Sometimes you just gotta deal with it. The more you do it, the more you get used to it.

DON'T GLOSS OVER: The more you do it, the more you get used to it.

WHEN YOU'RE TOO TIRED FOR DIVERSIONS IS WHEN YOU ACTUALLY FEEL THE MOST FOCUS AND MOMENTUM TO WORK. 

My head hurts after my employer gets its share of my soul for the day, but I still have things to do. So do you.

“How can I make myself study today?” Study today. Pain now or regret later, you choose.

It’s not impossible. You have control over yourself. Count backward from 5, and start. Focus and motivation—the energy to continue—will follow. I talked about this to death already.

We all have those days when we can’t get anything done. Don’t beat yourself over it. If you can do one small thing that moves you forward, then that’s enough. But never look the other way and say, "Oh well."

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These are NOT permanent sacrifices. Short-term discomfort for the lifetime privilege of calling yourself an attorney. The calculus is clear!

Your time and energy are best spent doing what you believe—and what I believe—is the best course of action right now: making this the last time you take the bar.

If not now, when?


 

ACTION STEPS


Pick ONE of the above. Commit to it.

Just nodding along and saying “yeah, I really should…” is different from actually doing and making a change.

Or if you REALLY want to make a change...

If you want to learn more about becoming more productive, focused, and optimistic in your bar preparation, check out Mental Engines, my actionable course on managing your overwhelm, stress, and unproductivity while studying for the bar exam.

You CAN incorporate balance into your studies—for example, a structured and measured cycle of alternating between work and something you enjoy to let you keep moving ahead and avoid burnout. That's just one way to avoid stress that I teach inside Mental Engines.

What else do you get?
  • 8 modules of lessons (full details here) — you can pick and choose what you need since you're busy
  • 3+ hours of audio
  • Checklists and worksheets
  • Short email series over 30 days to keep you on track (this alone is worth the admission price)
  • 30-day refund policy (so far one person has taken me up on this because of a tight budget, who ended up re-enrolling... and passing the bar on her 5th try)
Click to learn more about Mental Engines

Brian

PS. Looking for something else? More study tools below. Shoot me an email if you need help deciding what to get.

 
Recommended Tools
Click here to see catalog
Magicsheets (condensed outlines)
Not retaining any information from your bar course? Not enough time? Stop getting overwhelmed. Focus on practice and memorization with these condensed rule outlines organized in logical groups and indentations.

Approsheets (essay approach checklists and flowcharts)
Got blank-page syndrome? Go from blank page to finished essay/outline. Identify all the relevant issues with these attack sheets so you don't leave any points on the table.
 
Passer’s Playbook 2.0 (self-study toolkit)
Step-by-step blueprint, study schedules, cheat sheets, guides, and other tools designed to help you orient yourself and propel you toward improvement. Passing is inevitable if you continue to improve.

Mental Engines (mental management course)
Organize your emotions and deal with the mental barriers of bar preparation, to go from overwhelmed to focused, unmotivated to productive, and anxious to calm.
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Brian Hahn
Make This Your Last Time
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