Our main goal as students is to be successful in our academic studies. How do we do this? Do we just sit and daydream about being successful in our studies? Do we occasionally pursue our studies on an emotional whim…whenever we feel like studying? Absolutely not! At the crux of achieving our goals and gaining academic success, we must strategize and implement a realistic plan.
How do we strategize? Simple:
1) We set a plan!
Decide what needs to be done to help you achieve your module/unit goal(s). Decide what resources you will need to help you meet the course requirements. Decide on a time and place that is best for you to study and review your course work. Create measurable milestones for completing the goals. Seek an accountability partner who will remind you of your commitment to studying or achieving your module/unit goal(s). Write out or print your schedule and place it in a location that you constantly will visit or see.
My experience: I created a plan whereby I study in the mornings (3 – 5 a.m.) because that is when I am most productive and I review in the evenings; I also have an accountability partner who reminds me through texts and phone calls of my appointment with my course work. I have created a workstation that has all the resources I need so when I do settle down to study, I do not have to move or become distracted because everything I need is at hand. My schedule is neatly located on my walls, refrigerator, and in my smartphone and on my work desk – it is impossible to forget the plan I have devised for myself.
2) We work the plan!
“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important….You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” Mahatma Gandhi
Many of us are chronic planners….we have schedules, we have our plans in visible places and our to do lists are neatly outlined but we do not take action and execute our decided strategy. Part of strategizing involves putting the plan to work. For some, it takes effort, for others it is an easy goal —- whatever boat you are in, it is essential that you work the plan you have set for yourself to achieve your academic goals. Daily, step by step, bring your plans to life with your actions.
3) Assess the plan!
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” ― Winston Churchill
If you move forward with the mindset that your plan is perfect, you will not only meet disappointment but you will remain stuck in an unnecessary rut. Take time to assess your plan and the results. You may realize that your plan may have missed a few elements or contain some unnecessary ones. Don’t fret and do not allow frustration or defeat to consume you – simply make adjustments to your plan. Adjust your plan if you must but never give up on your goal. Don’t be afraid to do things differently; it’s really about trial and error when it comes to adapting to a rhythm and schedule that works best for you ….so plan, work, test, assess and adjust if you must.
My experience: When I first began studying again, I tried studying in the evenings into the early hours of the morning; daily I woke up tired and miserable, my body suffered tremendously and I was unable to function healthily on my job. I had to pause…. assess my time of studying and make a few changes to one that worked with my inner body clock. When I assessed my plan and made the necessary changes, my body and mind thanked me; now I am happier in the day and more productive during my study sessions. Don’t be afraid to make a few changes to your schedule to gain optimum results while studying.
Perhaps the most successful individuals are not only inspired dreamers but flexible strategists as well – they have a plan, work the plan, test the plan, assess the plan, adjust the plan and work the plan some more.
Have you strategized a plan for pursuing your studies or are you just chaotically and spontaneously pursuing your studies based on emotional whims? Share with me your plan. Share with me what worked for you and what did not work? Share with me your thoughts on strategizing. I would love to hear from you!