EPISODE 2 – MASTER YOUR TIME MANAGEMENT, SCHEDULING AND GOALS SETTING SKILLS
Without a proper study schedule you will most likely fail on your upcoming CFA ® exam. Time management and scheduling are crucial in your quest for CFA ® domination.
Your upcoming exam should not be viewed as a walk in a park. Its more like climbing the Mont Everest. Its takes adequate time management, requires a lot of energy and most importantly requires you to approach your exam from a structured and smart way.
CFA June 2014 results are out!
- CFA Pass Rate for June 2014 Level 1: 42% vs. 38% for June 2013
- CFA Pass Rate for June 2014 Level 2: 46% vs. 43% for June 2013
Economist Article discussed in this Episode: An acronym with capital published on July 19th, 2014.
Here are the topics covered in the Episode #2:
- Adjust your Schedule, don’t simply scrap it. Even if you forgot to study something planned for today, it does not mean you should just scrap your entire schedule.
- Use the simplest tools like a regular paper calendar to make your schedule. Don’t rush into new techie and catchy apps to schedule your studies. You will only procrastinate with new flashy technology instead of studying.
- Schedule all of your time, even time when you do nothing. You need to create some time for yourself, your friends and your family. You need to block chunks of time ahead to make sure that you have enough time for everything, not just your studies or work.
- Group all related activities together so that you can maximize your efficiency and focus on related tasks instead of jumping from calls to emails to meetings, etc.
- Do not have your Smartphone nor your Laptop around you when studying for the CFA ® exam. Create a barrier between you and your most common distractions. They create unnecessary distractions and will make you procrastinate instead of studying.
- Avoid multi-tasking. Instead of studying few topics at the same time, concentrate only on one CFA ® study topic at a time.
- Study for 90 minutes and then take a 15 minutes break (for example go for buy a coffee or go for a quick walk around the block). This will help you stay focused, be more energized and retain the material better.
- Schedule your studies according to your internal cycle. If you are a morning person or more of an evening person, make sure to study when you feel the most awake and most energized.
- Do the most important thing the first thing in the morning. Don’t postpone that uncomfortable phone call or conversation. Get it done and move on so that the rest of the day can be spent more productively and more enjoyable.
- Make you study “to-dos” the night before. This will help you know exactly what to do when you wake up and help you waste less time thinking about what you need to study.
- Try to plan your whole week ahead of time for example on Sunday. This will automatically help you see everything you need to do that week and reduce your stress since you will know that you will cover everything that needs to be done that week. If you are successful with a weekly schedule, try to plan your whole month in advance.
- Schedule for interruptions. No matter how organized your schedule is, you will definitely be interrupted by something (calls, co-workers, friends, noises, etc). In a way you need to create some space between your tasks otherwise you will not finish everything.
- Meetings are a huge waste of time. Try to avoid them as much as possible or keep them very short and straight to the point.
Bonus: Your Goals must be: SMART
- S – Specific. Goals need to be as clear as possible ( Ex: I need to read and do all of the end of chapter exercises for Study Session 3 today)
- M – Measurable. You need to be able to measure and quantify a goal to know if you attained it or not. (Ex: I need to do 50 practice questions today).
- A – Assignable. Each goal needs to have a specific person assigned to it so that you can know who is responsible for attaining that goal. (Ex: Sam is responsible to cover Study Session 15 by Sunday)
- R – Realistic. Your goals must be reachable otherwise they are unrealistic and you will not attain them (Ex: I want to do 3 practice exam today. This is highly unrealistic).
- T – Time: You goals need to have a start and a finish date in order for you to know if you attained it or not. (Ex: I need to do 3 practice exams in the next 5 days).
Here is a breakdown of SMART goals. You can find more information on SMART goals on this Wikipedia page.
We hope you found this Episode valuable. Most of all we hope you will be able to apply these techniques to help you become better at time management and scheduling in order for you to stop loosing precious study time for your upcoming CFA ® exam.
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Miguel & Mykola