'Organization isn't about perfection. It's about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time & mondey, & improving your overall quality of life.'
- Christina Scalise
Do you ever feel like the ARE is too big of a project for you to tackle? Do you want to understand the steps you need to take and have them written down somewhere?
After my own journey with the ARE, I realized that one of the key ingredients to my success was the fact that I planned out my time days, weeks, and months in advance. I had taken the initiative to map out each day's immediate tasks, the overall checklist for the week, and my larger timeline for each of the seven exams.
In retrospect, I really wish I had a comprehensive calendar that let me track all of these things in a simple, coherent manner. I tried everything from writing down daily lists to sketching out bubble diagrams. The reality is any of those methods could have worked, but none of them worked as well as my calendar.
While I was taking my exams, I developed a calendar system that seemed to work really well for me and my study habits. After the second or third exam, it became my exclusive way of tracking, not only my time, but identifying ARE roadblocks in the form of family events, holidays, and work-related deadlines.
Because I think it will be able to help so many of you out there, I've retooled the calendar to be even more user friendly, added two additional worksheets, and packaged it together here for your free use in your own studies just for signing up for our newsletter. Checkout below for a rundown of what you'll get - Sign Up at the Bottom.
Worksheet #1 - Annual Calendar
This is the first worksheet in the three-part system. To use it effectively, start with the current month you're in when you begin using these sheets. Next, take a look at however many exams you have left (regardless of whether that's one or seven), and approximate over the next twelve months what you think are the best times to take each section. Don't worry, this isn't meant to be a permanent breakdown, rather it's to get you thinking longer-term about the exams you have left to take so that you can create parities in your study habits and identify major roadblocks. For instance, you probably shouldn't plan that Structural Systems exam during the same month as your three week vacation to Hawaii. This worksheet will provide you with the initial information you need to plan your goals.
For maximum efficiency, revisit this every other month. Plan out your next twelve months again and discard the previous version. You don't want your old calendar floating around and confusing you. You also don't need to worry about what you were going to do, just what you've done. Now you can move to the next level of specificity, the monthly calendar.
Worksheet #2 - Monthly Calendar
The second worksheet identifies all of the activities you have going on over the course of the next month. First, start on whatever day of the week it is right now and place it at the top of the calendar. Then, add days (even if you go into the next month) until you've run out of calendar blocks. This calendar doesn't need to be all about November or February or whichever month your in - it's about YOUR next several weeks. The only component that is definite are the seven days of the week. The benefit to this structure is you can see what's out from your schedule in the next few weeks, regardless of what month you're in. Remember, it's about you, not the calendar. This is a tool to help your study habits and nothing more. Adjust as necessary and re-evaluate about a week before it ends.
Worksheet #3 - Weekly Notes
This is the document you're going to refer to and use most often. It should be with you every time you sit down to study. You can list the resources you intend to read before you study and check them off as you go. Being able to cross things off of a list was very helpful to my motivation and I suggest you give it a try. There are also columns for your weekly goals, topics you need to review further, and new resources you come across.
If you use this worksheet as intended, you'll find that you're actively patching holes in your study habits over time. Less information will slip through the cracks and you'll be able to identify the areas you're weak in faster.
I hope that these worksheets will help you in your own ARE Journey. So, what are you waiting for? Give them a try!
I'd like to continue updating these documents in the future. Any feedback you could give me would be invaluable. What's missing? What's good? Would you like more documents like this? Let me know it the comments below!