“You can never do big things if you are distracted by small things.” – Anonymous
Clearing the UPSC exam is indeed a big thing. The IAS exam is perhaps the toughest one in India and cracking it requires you to made of a different mold. As you would know, the UPSC syllabus is so diverse and voluminous that you need at least 10 months to prepare for it. Yes, ten months of rigorous study where you must show sincere dedication to the IAS preparation and immerse yourself in it. It is but natural to get distracted while you are engaged in this preparation. If you want to reach your desired destination, you must be able to fend off all unwanted distractions and concentrate solely on the task at hand. Distractions can derail you from your path and mess up your IAS preparation, and thus keep you from achieving what you set out to achieve. This article gives you five golden practical tips to ward off distractions and achieve UPSC success.
“SAY ‘NO’ TO YOUR DISTRACTION SO YOU CAN SAY ‘YES’ TO YOUR DESTINY”
Golden Tip #1
Create and follow a routine:
“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.” – W.H. Auden
Human beings are creatures of habit. It is really hard to break a habit and move away from routine. If we can inculcate good habits and a disciplined routine, it would be hard not to follow it. Therefore, create a healthy and disciplined routine that is conducive to your IAS study. When distractions crop up, you would find it physically hard to divert yourself.
Golden Tip #2
Think of your purpose:
“Distractions destroy action. If it’s not moving you towards your purpose, leave it alone.” – Jermaine Riley
Your purpose and final goal should alone keep you focused on your IAS preparation. Visualise your future as an IAS/IPS officer where you get power and prestige, not to mention the chance of a lifetime to proactively do something to change people’s lives. This lofty vision should keep you off your smartphones, social networking sites and chatty friends.
Keep aside a particular time for your ‘distractions’ like checking emails, calling family or friends, watching light television, etc.
Golden Tip #3
Learn to say ‘NO’:
“Practice saying ‘No’. It’s the only way to reduce distractions from the work at hand.”
This is a handy tip especially when you are studying. When studying something so large and varying as the IAS syllabus, you are bound to get confused. You might start thinking about the General Studies portions when you are going through your optional portions. You might be tempted to read your textbook in the midst of reading the daily newspaper. Avoid all this and say, ‘No’ to yourself when you are tempted to do so. Complete what you are currently doing and only then move on to the next scheduled task. You can use this tip also to ward off unnecessary interruptions like the phone or an intrusive neighbor.
Golden Tip #4
Clean your mess:
“When there is no distraction, there is clarity.” – Lorii Myers
Always maintain a clean workspace. Remove clutter from your table. Have only those things that you need like books and relevant stationery. Unnecessary objects can distract you from your work. Physical clutter can lead to mental clutter as well. Avoid both.
Golden Tip #5
Break it down:
“Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for miseries and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” – Blaise Pascal
Another common source of distraction is your fear about the enormity of the situation. You can feel depressed just looking at the quantity of portions you have to cover. You can also stress out thinking about how much your other aspirant-friends have finished. Stress and anxiety can come from all directions when you are engaged in your IAS preparation. These can be the biggest distraction. Normally, you tend to do two things when faced with such a prospect:
- You think about the future and get lost in a reverie where you imagine yourself to be an IAS officer. (Visualisation is good but it should be done with a purpose, not as a consolation to your dispirited self).
- You wallow in your sadness and refuse to snap out of it.
You should avoid both these situations. Read how.
When you feel stressed out or plain desolate, just break down what you have to do into small parts. When you take things bit by bit, they become less difficult to accomplish and you can also speed up your work. Instead of contemplating on the vastness of the history syllabus for instance, take it chapter by chapter, or topic by topic. A small step is easier to take than crossing a whole mountain. So, take the steps one by one and, before you know it, you would find yourself on the other side of the mountain!
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” – Winston Churchill
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