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Finding Ways to Fit Your Study Goals into Day-to-Day Life

October 13th, 2016 by Shane Maloney Comments Off on Finding Ways to Fit Your Study Goals into Day-to-Day Life

Hi Lifetickers,

Today we have a guest post for you courtesy of David Recine of Magoosh. Focused on study goals and how we can incorporate them into life, it offers some practical tips and sound advice to ensure ongoing success. Enjoy! 

Setting study goals can be challenging, especially if you aren’t a full-time student.

To find time for your study goals in day-to-day life, you have to strike a careful balance. If you devote too little time to your studies, you’ll lose sight of your goals as other responsibilities crop up. But if you set overambitious study goals, you can easily miss those goals and get discouraged.

If you are setting your own study goals in your spare time, think of these goals as a garden in the courtyard of your life. Plants in a garden need the right amount of water and sunlight– not too much and not too little. Similarly, your study goals need the exact right amount of your time and energy.

First and foremost, you should set a realistic study schedule. Your study schedule should be realistic in two ways. You’ll need to have time for both your studies and the other parts of your day-to-day life. And you’ll need to set aside enough time so that your learning can progress.

To ensure you have sufficient time for both life and study, most people should set aside no more than three hours per weekday, on average. And as you take stock in your life, you may find that you have less than three hours per day. This can be especially true if you have both a full time job and a family.

So three hours per day is the maximum you should probably devote to your study goals. If you are exceptionally busy, you may also need to think of the minimum amount of time you can put in. Your minimum daily time for study depends on what your goals are. If your goal is to master a second language, many experts recommend a minimum of one hour of study per day; this applies to other skill-building study goals as well. If your goal is to pass a standardized test, how much time you put in per day depends a lot on when you need to take the test. If you have a month of study time before an exam, 2-4 hours per weekday and 5-6 hours over the weekend is a realistic minimum; you can see an example of this schedule in a typical 1 month GRE prep plan.

Once you’ve chosen a study schedule that seems realistic, make sure you can also be flexible. Life happens. You will have days when unexpected things come up and you need to cancel or shorten a study session. For language learning and other skill-studies, try to give yourself one or two hours per day. That way if you have a day where you can’t do your minimum one hour of study, you can make up for lost time the next day. For rigorous, multidisciplinary academic studies such as test prep or self-paced online courses, be prepared to stretch your study plan out for a longer period. That one-month,  2-4 hour a day GRE study schedule I linked to could become a two-month, 1-2 hour a day plan. Self-paced courses through schools such as Udemy or Western Governors University can be similarly stretched if need be.

The pace of your life will ebb and flow. You’ll be more busy with your day-to-day life at times, less busy at others. The time you put in for your study goals will need to ebb and flow with the rest of your life. The trick is to make sure that flow of study never comes to a complete stop… until you reach your goal.

About David Recine
David is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007 and has worked with students from every continent.

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There’s more than achievement at stake

May 30th, 2016 by Shane Maloney Comments Off on There’s more than achievement at stake

Hi Lifetickers,

Often our goal setting is a challenge that sees us longing for the final achievement. This can create enormous tension, stress and perhaps even a little anxiety about when we will get there if at all. Whilst a fundamental aspect of achievement is the journey itself, it is worthwhile to consider this more deeply so it doesn’t become a throwaway line or a cliche.

What is it about ourselves that we learn along the way? Do we even stop to think about that regardless of (and quite distinct from) the goal itself? Here are some things you might want to contemplate for more than the time it takes to read them:

  1. Discipline. One of life’s great virtues. The mere act of pursuing a goal requires discipline. It could be in our behaviour, our spending, our focus and of course our determination.
  2. Delayed gratification. So much if what we consume (be it food, entertainment or possessions) comes so easily now. Everything is a click away or a parcel delivery away. We’ve become so dependent on everything being “now” it actually is refreshing to have to wait for something. It makes you appreciate it all that much more.
  3. Patience. Following on from the first two points is patience. I recall a saying “I prayed for patience and God made me wait”. There is simply no better way to develop patience than to have to wait and persevere. It is like most things in life – it comes with experience.
  4. Understanding. When you have to work long and hard for something, you suddenly start to appreciate others that are in the same boat. What better way to connect with those around us than to appreciate, understand and empathise with them on their journeys.
  5. Character – Perhaps this might just be the sum of all the others, but it is worth calling out. When you think back to the challenges you had in your life, it is difficult to deny that they are in fact the very things that have shaped who you are right now. And yet, we try to steer clear of these challenges. The very things that enrich us are the things that are the toughest.

By all accounts, this is a short list. You could add many more items to it. But the theme remains the same. You will benefit from striving. And it doesn’t mean achieving a goal in order to realise that gain. We only have to embrace the opportunity and step forward. Give yourself an opportunity to experience more than you thought was on offer.

This leaves us with a simple question. What part of your character will you discover today?

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