A plan to get the most out of the year
Class of 2022, your time has come to graft and shine. Think of this year as the culmination of 12 years of dedication and effort. If you are feeling a bit daunted, this just means that it’s something important. Reframe it as the opportunity to seize the year: plan ahead, so you never look back.
1. Vision: Let your values be the fuel that drives you toward your goals
We effectively use our time when we have inspired goals that are most aligned to our highest values. If you aren’t quite sure what they are use this tool to figure yours out.
Write down your goals
Create a Vision Board
Place them where you see them daily. An example being, “Obtain an 80 percent average in Mathematics by year end”. What’s important is that the goals energize and excite. Your “Why” is fuel for your actions. Make goals that are:
- Aligned to your values,
- Time Bound.
Create a vision board to allow you to be able to see your vision clearly and take time to seed the feeling of what it will be like to achieve your goal. Look at this board and seed often.
2. Structure: Plan your life, live your plan
- Create an action plan.
- Start with the end in mind.
- Work backward from there.
- Deconstruct into smaller actions.
I recommend the weekly scheduling template taken from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to identify priorities. Listen to Tim Ferriss’s podcast on the art and science of learning anything faster. There are many time management apps too!
Include time for study, breaks, leisure, fun etc. with the knowledge that if your main goals are focussed on academics a large part of your time will be devoted to studying and exam preparation.
3. Find your flow: Master your mental & emotional state
Anxiety and stress can be stifling and crippling if we allow it to get the better of us. Integrate a mindfulness practice into your daily routine. Apps like Insight Timer are a great start as they have plenty of guided meditations that help to reduce distress and anxiety as well aid with better sleep.
Begin the day with a morning ritual that really energizes you
Perform activities and rituals that get you into “the zone, a.k.a “Flow state”
4. Wellness: You will never outwork a bad diet and lethargy
- Dedicate at least 45 minutes daily to being physically active.
- Integrate a mindfulness practice such as tai chi or yoga that cultivates focus.
- Consume organic fruit and vegetables and avoid highly processed foods.
- Ditch sugar, if nothing else.
Healthy eating and exercise energize the body and strengthen the mind, resulting in greater and faster learning and memory retention.
5. Focus: Eliminate distractions. Avoid multitasking
Once down to a task, remove distractions. Find solitude. Turn off technology. Work for at least 45 minutes at a time. Use the RescueTime app if needed to cut out digital distractions.
- There is power in focus.
6. Tribe: You are the average of 5 people you spend most time with
Do not expect to be in the club of high performers if you spend most of your time surrounding yourself with mediocrity. You truly are the average of the 5 people that you spend most time with.
Choose your company wisely. Hang out with high performers
Stay away from the ‘Chicken Littles’ who on the day of exams are panic stricken because they haven’t adequately prepared.
7. Practice under exam conditions
Prepare yourself for exams and tests by finding all previous exam and test material and going through it under exam conditions.
This will give insight into how you manage your time and emotions and will allow you to then adjust or eliminate any patterns that do not serve you.
The best way to perform better in exams is to do many more exams under exam conditions.
Don’t practise until you get it right. Practise until you can’t get it wrong.
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