Most of the students come to us, with an objective – either they want to really excel at academics, or they want to marginally improve their grades and just stay ‘afloat’. These two sets of students are not markedly different in their intelligence levels in the traditional sense of
the word. However, the first set, which wants to really excel, have a distinguishing feature – their disciplined approach. They have a plan for everything that they do. They are neither impulsive nor adhoc in their approach. They follow a strict comprehensive plan to go about their studies, their free time and even sports or hobbies they pursue. With a sound daily plan, even the second set of students can really excel at academics and achieve success in their lives.
Making a Comprehensive Plan
I would use a term for this comprehensive plan – ‘Daily Study
Plan’ (DSP) which has all the components of academics, break
time, free play and extra-curriculars. It doesn’t make sense to draw a plan if it’s not integrated with the rest of the daily activities, hence one all-inclusive DSP which enables a student to stay focused without missing out any part of life.
Break down your waking time, say 16 hours, into modules of different duration like going to college/school for 8 hours, time for 3-4 meals a day for 2 hours, play time for 2 hours and so on. Throw in time to catch up with elders in your family or even giving a call to your grandparents living far away. Keep some time for your personal health and fitness e.g. yoga and meditation in the morning. Put a plan that captures all the
elements of your life – academic, personal, social, etc.
Students should follow the DSP to the T. One way to not deviate from the DSP is by building flexibility into it for activities which are not on a daily basis e.g. social gatherings or running an errand for the family. Even when they have to go for functions, events and parties, you can plan in advance to ensure attendance without affecting the rest of their DSP. You can complete your assignments or reading a chapter well in
advance so that you don’t have to turn up at school or college and give excuses to the Faculty for not completing the assigned work.
Khan Academy, which publishes excellent learning content online, has come up with a Study Plan for students of multiple grades, in the lockdown scenario in countries in the wake of Covid19.
Making the DSP work
It’s important to stay motivated and follow the DSP. It could be helpful to pin it to your board which other members in your family can see. Share it with your friends too. Once your friends and family know about
your DSP, they can nudge you and keep you on course to follow your
DSP. You can study in windows of 30 minutes and take a short break
before resuming your studies. This helps in staying focused and not
make it feel like a burden. Juggling a ball or practicing a few pointers
at the basketball backboard can be a good short break.
Some students also keep some incentives for themselves to follow the DSP e.g rewarding themselves with a nice movie once in a fortnight or making your favorite sandwich, once you have completed the activities
i n your DSP. Also, once you make your DSP, you should keep reviewing it from time to check if it’s working for you and
make changes if necessary. Thus, a DSP can not only keep you motivated to achieve your long-term goals but also help you in achieving short term improvements, improve your grades that too with joy and satisfaction.
Please find below a sample of a DSP that I am sharing with all of you. It will vary from one student to another and needs to be customized as per the individual needs and objectives. Hope you find this useful. Do share your comments and feedback.
Soumen Chatterjee, B.Tech (IIT), MBA (XLRI), Director at Kompass