Time management is the most crucial part of UPPSC preparation. Making wise use of it will enable you to manage your studies and counter any stress or pressure that you might encounter during the course of this preparation. It comprises of the following steps:
- Make an Honest assessment of available time
- Set up Realistic but little ambitious targets
- Divide large tasks into small yet achievable daily goals.
- Make smart use of technology
- Manage your stress and anxiety level.
- Avoid Distractions.
- Make an Honest assessment of available time: Depending upon when you have started your preparation. Decide how many months you have at your disposal and also how many hours you can dedicate in a day. If you are a beginner and not working giving 6-7 hours of focused time is essential. On the other hand if you are a beginner and working try and give at least 5 hours daily.
Ideal preparation period is 11-12 months. So plan accordingly. If you have lesser number of months available. It is suggested that daily hours that you devote is stretched to 8 hrs of study.
- Set up Realistic but little ambitious targets: Try and set up Monthly-Weekly- Daily targets. The targets you set have to reflect your own personal understanding and priorities. It is essential that these targets are realistic so that they are achievable while it is also important that they are ambitious so that they give you a push to utilize your time to the best extent.
Make a list and gather your sources. Try to keep them limited i.e instead of randomly picking up books and material. Be clear of books you wish to refer and Current Affairs material website or notes you wish to follow.
EXAMPLE: Your target can look like the following.
- Indian Modern History (NCERT) by 15th September.
- Indian Economy (NCERT) between 15-20th September
- Polity ( NCERT+ Laxmikanth) between 20-30th September
- 7:30 AM: Get Up, Tea/ Coffee
- 9:00 – 10:30 AM: Bath and Breakfast
- 10:30 AM – 12:30PM: STUDY
- 5:30- 6:15 PM: Walking/Exercises/ Music/ Sports
- 8:30- 9:30 PM: Dinner+ News
The above given schedule is an example and may vary from person to person. But it is essential to give time to all aspects of preparation. Time meant for relaxation should not be overspent on internet surfing or chatting on whatsapp. But instead do things that really soothe you and relax your mind.
- Divide large tasks into small yet achievable daily goals: Journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. You may have lot of subjects to cover but it starts with one single step taken in this moment. Example: You have planned to finish your optional in next 3 months. Chalk out a plan that gives number of chapters to be completed in a week and number of pages you can complete in a day.
This will enable you to monitor your progress and make amendments whenever necessary. One of the foremost things to remember is to keep your schedule flexible. If during any unexpected event you are unable to follow your schedule, give yourself the space to do so. But always come back to the schedule. Also, when a schedule is not working for you rework on it.
- Make smart use of technology: Internet and smart phones can make your life easier if you do not allow yourself to be carried away by it. If you do not have the time to make newspaper or current affairs notes. Make use of apps like Evernote to organize your notes and copy paste pictures and screenshots from any websites.
- Manage your Stress and Anxiety levels: UPPSC preparation may come with undue stress and pressure for some. Thus it is important to adequately manage it through proper nutrition, adequate physical exercises or any other activity along with meditation. Approaching a trusted adult or a friend in case of need is the best thing you can do. It is always important to remember during the course of the preparation that irrespective of the result there is ample scope for everybody to do well in life. Have faith in your abilities and give your best and leave the rest.
Do not try to compensate your stress with more books. More material can confuse you in the long run and reduce efficiency. Maintain the simplicity of your preparation.
Avoid Distractions: Importance of meaningful breaks has already been discussed. But it is important to distinguish them from distractions which eat away your productive time. Breaks are taken at you own will when required, while distractions may come in the form of social media notifications or a family gathering. Thus use your own discretion and pick and chose as per your own will.