Thursday, Mar. 30, 2017

Learn the best Scheduling System

FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AND BALANCED LIFE

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May 7, 2016

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Learn the best Scheduling System

How do top students find time to study, participate in extracurricular activities and hold positions in school and colleges clubs and teams even though they have the same 24 hours like everybody else? On the other hand, why do so many students complain that they don’t have enough time to study or participate in activities they enjoy?

Simply because students who excel, schedule study and other important activities from the start of the academic year, they don’t waste time. An activity is considered time waste if it is not directed towards your goal or priorities. Excessive sleeping, gossiping, emails, social media and watching TV are the most common time wasters.

Secondly, top students usually have clear goals or priorities in writing. The important thing is that if they can do it so can you.

Amongst the many scheduling systems available, I recommend the fourth generation system developed by Dr Stephen Covey, author of 7 habits of highly effective people, educator and a top management guru. Dr Covey’s system recognises that the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. His system focusses on accomplishing results and enhancing relationships rather than merely prioritising activities.

Dr Covey recommends scheduling in 3 easy steps: 1. Plan the year
2. Plan the week
3. Review daily the following day’s plans

Before you start arrange for the following:
– A Desktop/laptop/smart phone loaded with Google or MS Outlook calendar app.
– Internet connection
– School/College Diary
– Information about examination dates, holidays, functions, etc.
– Download and print two copies of the 2016 – 2017 planner template
– Download and print Vidya School yearly plan provided as an example.
– Colour Pencils / eraser.

PLAN THE YEAR

Why? Because a yearly plan provides an overview of all events and activities important to you during the year. It acts like a compass, points out the direction in which you must move, and highlights your priorities for the whole academic year.

The best time to plan the academic year is obviously, at the start of the year i.e. April. But in case you have missed out on this, plan for the balance part of the academic year. Fill in the important macro details known to you at this time in the yearly planning 2016 -17 template provided. For guidance also download and print the Vidya School 2016 – 17 plan. Micro details not required at this stage.

You will observe that common activities are colour coded to easily identify them and to make the plan appealing to the eye. (See Vidya School)

1. Examination dates ( YELLOW )
2. Class test dates ( YELLOW )
3. School / College holidays / long vacations ( RED ).
4. School / College functions( GREEN )
5. Saturdays / Sundays( RED )
6. Birthdays (yours, family members and close friends)
7. Other important events, sports, drama, music, etc. ( ) you are interested in.
Take a printout of your 2016 -17 yearly plan on A2 or A3 size paper and pin it on your home wall or place it under your study table glass top. The idea is for you to see the yearly schedule conveniently. Every few months you may review the year’s plan and make changes, if necessary.

This whole exercise will take less than an hour.

Next, fill in the same information in Google calendar or MS outlook calendar. Why?

Because Google and MS provide daily, weekly, monthly views and many more features you will need for weekly and daily planning. By prefilling important events of the year, you ensure you do not lose track of them. If you do not have access to a computer then fill in the details in your school diary by hand.

PLAN THE WEEK

Now that your yearly plan is ready the next step is to plan the week. Why a week and not a month, fortnight or for a day?

Because, most people and institutions think in terms of a week. A week is a single, complete unit of time within which we all operate. A week has certain days for focused work, others for relaxation and fun, and still others for spiritual practice etc. A daily plan is too immediate and a month is too long; during which time many unforeseen demands to your time will arise.

However, before you start scheduling the week you need to know what your priorities or goals are. Goals decide what is important to you. Each one of us is unique having different goals. You can’t proceed without this most important step.

Student’s typical priorities or goals have four dimensions.

1. Study and Career goals
2. Health and Sports goals
3. Family and Social goals
4. Spiritual goals

EXAMPLE OF STUDY GOALS (CAN INCLUDE MENTAL DEVELOPMENT GOALS)

1. In class 9, I shall score
– 95 % average in PC and Biology
– 100 % in Maths So that I can join medical stream in 11th class.
2. I will read 1 story book and 2 magazines – TIME and National Geographic every month To achieve this I will:
– Compile and practice all possible Q types
– Do homework and prepare and revise from mind maps daily.
– Develop long term memory, revise as per strategy.
– Start one month before the exams and solve past 4 years exam papers to test myself vis a vis above goals.
– Borrow books and magazines from school library / read online.

EXAMPLE OF HEALTH, SPORTS AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT GOALS

+ shall + Maintain my weight at 40 kg as recommended for my age and height. + Build stamina to run 5 km in 20 mins. + Develop body flexibility to perform somersaults. To achieve this I shall + Have junk food only twice a month. + Take coaching twice a month and run half hour 3 times a week. + Do yoga for 45 minutes 3 times a week.

Similarly, develop your social and spiritual goals. You may review your goals time to time but these priorities are not likely to change much during the academic year.

Now with your priorities or goals in front of you, open the calendar on your computer in the weekly view or, have your school diary handy and start scheduling the next week Monday to Sunday. As an example I have planned the week April 11 to 17 on google calendar, screen shots of which are as follows:

Please observe that there are many unscheduled slots of time. These will take care of urgencies (e.g. medical check-up) and unforeseen demands (e.g. community service or class project) on your time.

As you discipline yourself to faithfully follow this plan, you will no longer feel time pressure. Your self-confidence will soar and overall performance improve.

REVIEW DAILY NEXT DAY’S PLAN

Before sleeping every night review the plan for the next day. Make adjustments as required. Remember you are not a slave to the schedule. If something urgent comes up, like sickness, surprise class test, new project, drama rehearsal or family celebrations don’t hesitate to reschedule to next day or next week. Be flexible. But be careful not to do it too often. Stick to your plan as far as possible.

IN CONCLUSION

Remember time is the only resource available equally to everyone. Planning ensures you do important things first and that your activities are goal directed. With planning you can pursue all your interests and feel good about yourself.

IMPORTANT LINKS

• Vidya Mar 2106 – 17 Yearly Plan – Example https://drive.google.com/file/ d/0B5wSIuMni2G5TVVLcnM2ak55bnc/ view?usp=sharing
• March 2016 – Mar 2017 Yearly Planner Template https://drive.google.com/file/ d/0B5wSIuMni2G5OHNETjlBU0dFajg/ view?usp=sharing
• Dr Steven Covey https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Stephen_Covey
• Apsara Foundation www apsarafoundation.org
• New Age Learning and Reading Skills https://www.schandpublishing.com/ books/school-books/books-librarieseducational- institutions/new-age-learningreading- skills/new-age-learning-readingskills/ 9788121942713/#.VsbToo9OKDs

Ajay Aggarwal – Writer, Master Trainer and Business leader After a very successful career as a business leader, Ajay co-founded Apsara Foundation in 2011. He is since devoted to teaching ‘New Age Learning and Reading Skills’ like Speed Reading, Mind Mapping, Developing Long Term Memory, Managing Teaching and Study Time etc.

To teach these skills, Apsara Foundation conducts regular workshops for school and college teachers and students. They hand hold the institutes and participants till these learning skills are internalized. Apsara has to-date trained 1000 teachers and 10,000 students of prestigious educational institutes like DPS, Goenka, Vidya, Marinda House, Akshay Prathisthan, Amar Jyoti, DMP, Ananda Academy, MMTC Govt. School, etc.

Encouraged by the exceptional improvement in academic results of students who learnt to apply these skills, Ajay authored the popular ‘New Age Learning and Reading Skills’ published by the S Chand Group. Visit www.apsarafoundation.org for more information. To contact Ajay Aggarwal email ajay@apsarafoundation.org

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The Progressive Teacher