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Now that the festivities and celebrations for a brand new year have died down a little, it’s time to really focus on your goals and try to make the best out of another trip around the sun. For those of you who aim to pursue further higher education, there’s no time like the present to get started.

Studying is an important part of one’s path towards career success. If you would like to see yourself in 10 years as a well-established individual working for a reputed company, a professional diploma course coupled together with a degree will surely get you there. But with many courses and assignments to study for, it can sometimes be difficult to efficiently manage your time. This is precisely what this blog aims to help you with.

A solid study schedule is just what you need to help you prioritise your studies while also giving you room to juggle other responsibilities such as family, friends and entertainment. Not only does it keep you focused, but it also helps you maintain a healthy life-study balance. You don’t end up having to cram before deadlines, or have to set aside your social life.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Establish short-term and long-term study goals:

The task of creating and managing your schedule will be much easier when you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. For short-term goals, such as creating a power point presentation in 10 days or completing an assignment due in a week, break up your tasks on a daily basis.

Long-term goals might include preparing for an exam 6 months ahead or completing your diploma programme by mid-June. For these, break down your goals by week and month to make them more manageable. It’s important to know how much time you have to achieve each of these goals and pen down the end dates in a way that’s easily visible.

2. Sub-categorise work for each subject or module:

By listing down all of your subjects or modules in the course you are studying for per semester, it will help you get a better idea of how much work you have to do. Depending on the amount of work required for each subject, and the deadlines assigned for each, you will find that you need to devote more time on some subjects and less on others.

3. Prioritise your list:

After completing the above steps, you need to ensure that you prioritise the list. Straying away from it even for a few days can be chaotic and you will find yourself procrastinating and unable to meet deadlines. Divide your available time throughout the week into study blocks and assign subjects to blocks accordingly. A little tip here is to plan your study schedule in such a way that you study at the same time every day, so it becomes routine and you will develop a positive study habit. Your study sessions are not recommended to be more than 45 minutes per block.

4. Reserve time for non-academic activities:

You also need to make sure that you have set aside specific time slots for family, friends and other personal commitments. By creating a healthy balance between personal and academic life, you develop a peaceful mindset that would otherwise cause you stress and bring about de-motivation.

5. Maintain good sleeping habits:

Studies have shown that it’s ideal to get at least 6 hours of sleep each day to bring out your maximum potential to focus on your daily goals. Professionals like LeBron James – the world’s top NBA player is known to get 12 hours of sleep each night!

6. Make use of technology:

You can easily sync the calendar on your smartphone to coincide with your study plan, so it is easily accessible wherever you go. Use colour codes to differentiate important tasks from the others. There are also plenty of free apps available for smart devices to remind you to take a break from looking at the computer screen too long, go for a small walk or drink a glass of water.

To study effectively is to be in control of what you need to do and a study plan is the perfect way to get about it. Writing a plan may seem like a waste of time, but if you are someone who is prone to get nervous and leave things till the very last minute, it is well worth dedicating a few hours to create one. No more forgetting to do your homework and no more frantically trying to scribble down answers for a take-home assignment, hours before its due. Good luck and get studying!