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How to create a study plan (and stick to it!)

Posted on 29/06/2016 by
Don't let time get away on you. Follow our tips for creating a study plan and re-take control over your schedule.

Don’t let time get away on you. Follow our tips for creating a study plan and re-take control over your schedule.

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

“In order to succeed, we must first believe we can.”

“The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.”

We’ve all read the motivational quotes – we know that in order to reach our goals, we need to work hard and put in effort.

Yet although these quotes might inspire us to get off the couch and get to work, they don’t tell us how to achieve our goals.

It’s fantastic to feel motivated – but it’s not enough. The secret to success is actually this: creating a plan, and sticking to it.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

The best way to create good study habits is to stick to a study plan. Here’s how to create one.

Step 1: Start with a blank study timetable

First, decide how you will keep track of your time. Choose a calendar format, such as:

  • A diary or journal
  • A wall calendar
  • A digital calendar (e.g. Google Calendar)

Or, to get started right away, download our free study timetable (Microsoft Word).

Step 2: Block out prior commitments

On your study timetable, block out all of your prior commitments, such as:

  • Work
  • Travelling to/from work
  • Caring for family/dependants
  • Church, sports, hobbies
  • Eating, cooking
  • Housework and chores
  • Relaxing and socialising

Step 3: Block out study time

Once you have entered all of these commitments in your study timetable, count how many ‘spare’ hours you have leftover each week.

Remember, if your course is 20 weeks you must complete 20-25 hours of study each week. If your course is 40 weeks, you must complete 10-15 hours of study each week.

Block out time for study in your spare time. Try to dedicate at least one full day to your studies per week if possible.

If you don’t have enough time to study, consider dropping one of your prior commitments to make room, such as socialising. You will probably find that each week looks a little different – the key is to be flexible and juggle things around to make study fit.

Tip: Plan for disruptions! Don’t fill every available minute with study – you need to keep some free time every day to deal with all those unexpected situations that pop up.

Step 4: Stick to it!

The plan only works if you stick to it! Treat your study plan as your daily schedule/guide and follow it as best you can. Here are some tips for staying on track:

  • Print your study plan and put it somewhere you will see it every day, for example on the fridge or above your desk. If your calendar is digital, set reminders on your phone and refer to it throughout the day.
  • Be prepared to change your plan. Sometimes unexpected things come up and you will need to reshuffle your commitments. For example, if the kids are late to bed one night and you can’t study, try to fit those ‘missed study hours’ in later in the week. Some weeks will go better than others.
  • Reward yourself for following your plan – not every day, but maybe once a fortnight. This could be with some chocolate, a movie – pick something that will motivate you to keep going. Note: a week off studying is not a supportive reward!

Habits don’t form overnight, but after a few weeks of sticking to your plan, it’ll begin to feel like second nature: have faith in yourself and keep going.

And don’t forget to ask your tutors if you need any help along the way. Contact us via Moodle, or pick up the phone and give us a call. We’re always here to help. Good luck!

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