USING STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT WHILE STUDYING
Students constantly panic about hurdles in studies such as time management, low concentration, procrastination, and getting distracted from studying. I am a student of management studies and I have scored an All India Rank 20 in my Company Secretary Foundation Level Exam which is a professional exam. Although I have a long way to go myself, I have been studying strategic management and student psychology for two years now and have come up with some tips and pointers for time management and productivity that can help not just students but anyone who wants to focus their attention on work or daily tasks. Having practiced some of these myself, I can vouch for their effectiveness, giving me the desired results for my exams.
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HACK 1: Manage 5 minutes of your day: Wake up and take out 5 minutes to jot down all the tasks you want to finish in the day. Then, prioritize your tasks by just numbering them in the margin from 1-10,1 being the most important one. This hack sounds very easy but is very helpful and gives you a plan for your day. All you need are 5 minutes to get you all set. E.g.: If you are planning for an exam, just write down subjects and respective chapters you need to study today and mark them from the hardest to the easiest.
HACK 2: Work progress journal: Maintain a work progress journal in addition to your 5-minute prioritized plan mentioned above. This can be worked upon in the night when you can just track your progress daily, or even weekly. This journal will be a great helper, ensuring you do not just rely upon the daily targets, but also have the weekly (or a long term) goal in mind.
HACK 3: No cell-phone day: This, as the name suggests, is the day you will take off from all the social media distractions and completely dedicated to studying (or simply boost productivity!). This single-day helps a lot more than one can imagine, making it a must-try. Ideally, one should make a habit out of this and schedule this day once every week.
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HACK 4: Study in isolation: Though group studies work for some people, studying in isolation can be more effective. I personally study in isolation, away from friends, parents, relatives, and even my phone. In these times of online lectures, one may not be able to avoid gadgets, but the least one can do is turn off notifications to enhance concentration.
HACK 5: Make an event out of the worst task: I discovered this hack much later in life, but it did wonders once I implied it. We all have that one subject that we simply dread. Every student dislikes a subject either because it is hard or because it is not as interesting as the others. This hack suggests that you should make an event out of the worst task which means that put yourself in a situation where you just cannot easily drop the idea of studying that subject you dislike or get bored with. E.g.: Choose a place like a library far from your home to study that subject/ topic so you just have no choice but to study and complete it. This gives automatic momentum to your study of that subject, eliminating excuses and ensuring that the subject gets the deserved attention.
HACK 6: General pointers
1. SET ACHIEVABLE GOALS
2. TAKING BREAKS IS A MUST
3. ONLY KEEP THE MOST THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS ON YOUR TABLE (MINIMIZE CLUTTER)
4. BREAK DOWN BIG TASKS INTO MINI TASKS
5. FIND OUT THE BEST TIME OF THE DAY WHEN YOU ARE ABLE TO CONCENTRATE THE MOST (Most people suggest that mornings are the best time to study but there are some exceptions)
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Useful study strategies:
1. SWOT Analysis of yourself:
(S- STRENGTHS W-WEAKNESS O-OPPORTUNITY T-THREATS)
Analyze all four of these by taking a rough paper and dividing it into these 4 parts. In a student’s case, these might be subjects that are one’s strengths or weaknesses. Doing so will give one a clear picture as to what you are already good at and what you need to improve.
2. NNN to-do list
(NNN- NOW NEXT NOT JUST YET)
Take a page and write down the tasks according to these 3 N’s. You need to just tick off the new items one by one and then the next ones and then think about the not just yet ones. This is one of the proven methods for organizing your tasks properly and prioritizing.
3. Fantastic 4 method:
Divide your page into 4 parts namely, URGENT, IMPORTANT, NOT URGENT, and UNIMPORTANT. Based on these 4 criteria, write down your tasks of the day and schedule the timetable.
Apart from these hacks and pointers, make sure you maintain a good diet, sleep routine, and also keep hydrating. Personally, I had the habit of not getting enough sleep during exam time, but I have learned to schedule better and get 6-7 hours of sleep the night before exams. I hope these tips were helpful and I hope everyone implements at least a few things from these tips. You can use any of the 3 study strategies you are comfortable with and still see significant results!
All The BEST!
(Reference- Newport, Cal. How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.)