The Biggest Time Waster in Essay Writing Every Student Should Know About

If you’re like me, you want your essays done as quickly as possible. But if you are in the habit of doing what I call Excessive “Research,” then it may take you hours before you’ve even written your first page, because you’re so busy looking up stuff on the Internet.

Have you ever done this? You need to turn in a 3-to-5-page paper on a certain topic, and here you are again, staring at the blank word processor document. So, it occurs to you that you could go on the Internet and “research” the topic. I put the word “research” within quotation marks because I know that whenever I used to do this, I would end up simply copying stuff.

Yes, I’ve done my share of being a ‘bad boy’ as an undergrad. Now, you wouldn’t simply copy and paste stuff from the Internet – I know you wouldn’t. That’s why you’re here, trying to learn how to do this right.

But if you decide to go online for some ideas, and that is the first thing you do before you’ve even written your thesis, then you might end up browsing the net for an hour, perhaps even longer, and may end up with nothing but other people’s thoughts that are hardly relevant to what you’re trying to say.

So, here is something you should do before you decide to use the Internet for help:

Write a Complete Thesis Statement

This piece of advice above is also a link that you can follow for easy step-by-step instructions on how to write a thesis statement. But why should you do this first? Wouldn’t it be helpful to consult Mr. Internet for thesis ideas?

Answer: No, not really. Why not?

A Quick Lesson in Brain Function

Let’s talk about the human brain for a second in order to illustrate this point. You see, the human brain always seeks something to focus on. In fact, it’s constantly focusing and refocusing in order for you to have a productive day.

For example, if you know you have to get to your English class at 9am, would you agree that there is a pretty good chance of you actually arriving there? Your answer is probably, “Yes – that makes sense, Phil. What’s your point?”

Now let’s say that you get out of your house and have no definite goal. You have no class to go to, and you have no plans whatsoever. What are the chances that you’ll arrive at some good destination then? You will probably just keep wandering back and forth, until you decide on a place to go. Makes sense?

How This Applies to Your Essay Writing

The same happens with your brain when you walk out there on the Internet, trying to end up somewhere good. I’ve done this before – that’s how I know. I would just spend hours, trying to find good material for my new essay, but all I ever got was just some fluff I couldn’t include in my paper without my professor accusing me of plagiarism.

But when you have a definite point you’re trying to get across (meaning, your thesis), your brain will seek out the good and relevant material and present it to you almost automatically as you’re browsing. This is the power of focus. And this is the power of the thesis statement.

So, if you follow this advice and never use the Internet before you’ve written a complete thesis statement, you’ll save yourself a lot of work, time, and unnecessary frustration.

Tutor Phil

Tutor Phil

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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