I came across the below clip today and was dumbfounded. Come on, "How many hours a day do you workout?" This is a stupid question. Do you really think the answer to this question means anything? It's not about how much. More isn't better. Sure it takes a lot of time to get good at something, but for some reason we think that just because we've put in the time should be rewarded. Thankfully, Jason Khalipa (starting at 1:10) had an intelligent answer to such a stupid question.
It's not about quantity. The 10,000 hour rule from the book Outliers seems to imply this is what it takes to be really good. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people in the weight room talking to friends, walking around between sets, posing in front of the mirrors, etc. At the end of the day they've spent two hours in the weight room but really have only done 3 exercises (usually curls, pull ups, and more curls). It's about quality of these hours.
The same can be said for studying. Sitting at a desk for "hours" with a computer on, book open, and papers spread out doesn't constitute studying. Nor does highlighting entire passages in a book constitute reading.
Listen again to Mat Fraser's answer. This was his first trip to the games and he placed second. He has a full time job. You gotta know that when he steps in the gym its about getting it done.
Camille Leblanc-Bazinet is in school studying for her PhD. in chemical engineering and still manages to be crowned, "Fittest Woman on Earth." You can bet she not wasting time in the gym or at school.
Also, if you listen to Annie Thorisdottir, she talks about how each session has a theme or purpose. She talks about active recovery days and complete rest days. She's not hitting it 100% all the time. She has a purpose and a plan.
Deliberate practice is what The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle uses to describe quality sessions. These are purposeful, deliberate, repeatable, and difficult practice sessions that will make you better faster. I can't think of a better book to read in the remaining few weeks before coming back to school.
Stop counting the hours and instead make the hours count.