“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary”, goes a famous saying. Success does not greet those who spend most of their time sitting idle. To gain something in life we have to work, and work we must. Most of us, if not all, have grown up hearing that the success we want comes only from hard work. For ages, hard work has been eulogised and recommended for the coveted success in life. Whether it’s home or school or college or workplace, we are constantly told that there is no alternative to hard work. So, if we have to succeed, we have to be a hard-working person. Right? Think twice as this is not always the case in reality.
If you have noticed, the ever growing number of toppers in UPSC Civil Services and other competitive examinations, whose secrets of success the CSR brings to you issue after issue, speak about “studying smart” rather than studying hard. “Working smarter and not harder” has become one of the most popular success mantras these days. An entire science has been developed around how to work smarter than harder by life-science coaches and gurus in these of our modern times. “Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day. They just use it up. The real hero is home because she(/he) figured out a faster way,” says Mr. Jason Fried, co-author of “Rework”, the book about new ways to conceptualise working and creating.
So, how does one work or study smarter? “Smart” is quite a comprehensive term encompassing a range of meanings and usages. People are smart, machines are smart, and so are weapons! In Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of ‘smart’ as adjective comprises not less than seven meanings from intelligent, bright, witty and clever to neat (in appearance), brisk (spirited) and sharp. For old-fashioned people, it has always been difficult to comprehend what does it actually mean to be smart. What to say about many of my young friends who have just been initiated into the tough preparation of competitive examinations. Therefore, one needs to thoroughly understand how he or she can work and study smarter to get ahead in the race.
First of all, you must be clear that studying smart does not mean that you do not have to work hard. Studying smart is not a substitute for studying hard. In fact, studying smart is just a constituent that brings quality to the hard work you put in for your preparation. As Mr. Shane Snow, a New York-based entrepreneur, explorer and technology journalist, rightly said, “Working smart is harder than working hard. It’s just less visible, and we care too much about what others see.” Studying smart is only a means to make your hard work more efficient and effective. Studying smarter means finding ways to use your energy and time more efficiently. You need to study smart because you have to accomplish much more in less and less time.
Here, I am listing seven simple ways that can help you study smarter. First, prioritise your tasks. Give priority to
those topics that are a must and those you find rather difficult to grasp. Once you get command over these difficult
topics, you will feel more confident and thereby make your overall objective easier. Second, keep your to-do list short.
Try to focus on three to five, number can vary person to person, important and challenging tasks each day. Third,
use creative tools to enhance your efficiency. For instance, try and draw a sketch of what you have understood from
a difficult topic. You can improve them to use while writing your papers. Fourth, schedule tasks to match your energy.
If you can complete tasks in any order, consider trying to align the energy they require with the energy you have. Fifth, group similar tasks when possible. If you have several topics that depend on one another, doing them in succession
can help you being more focussed and productive. Sixth, set short deadlines. Setting deadlines for your study can help you focus and consider planning to complete tasks in shorter periods. This can increase your efficiency while working on your tasks, which can allow you to complete them in lesser time than you otherwise would have required. Lastly, measure your results, not your time. Keep an ongoing list of everything you accomplish during a day. This can help you feel motivated and accomplished.
There can be myriad ways of making you study smarter. And you are the best person to devise smarter innovative ways that can help you to be more efficient and effective. Smartness, after all, has a very individualistic quality about it. Smarter you are in your own innovative ways, better are the chances of your success.
With these words, wishing you all the best in all of your endeavours.