“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
– Winston Churchill.
From the age of 9 until the age of 12, I walked and “trained” dogs (well, to the extent that a 9-year old can train them) after I decided I wanted to save up money to buy myself some video games and a new gaming PC (how else could you play GTA San Andreas on 480p 30fps huh?).
As usual, right after school, in the middle of the day, I rode my bike to walk my favorite dog “Bufon,” who was the cutest pitbull you’ll ever meet.
I remember walking him for the usual 45 minutes, tired and sweaty, asking myself “why am I doing this for 15 shekels?” (3$)
Then I remembered that it’s not just 15 shekels, but it’s also 15 shekels day after day, which will eventually let me reach my goal.
In hindsight, it’s apparent that I managed my time and goals even as a 9-year-old kid, without even knowing it.
At the age of 13, I decided to learn how to build websites and make money online, especially to make my parents proud.
Back then, our budget was really tight and I couldn’t dare to ask my parents for an allowance, so I set myself a new goal: to earn my own pocket money.
I invested most of my time researching, watching youtube videos, and reading guides about building websites.
I bought a domain and created my first website (in Hebrew) about supplements, healthy food choices, and lifestyle. I wrote 2 2000 word articles every day for 2 years.
I’ll be honest, the website was pretty good, but I couldn’t earn any money from it.
I felt like I disappointed my parents and myself.
After this extraordinary failure (which isn’t a failure at all, and I will explain why in just a second), I approached my father crying, telling him about my projects and goals. He couldn’t be more supportive when he said, “you might not understand it yet, but all these skills you are developing will eventually come all together,, and you will use all of them once you are an adult.”
He was absolutely right. Over the years, after repeatedly failing in many projects, I reached a point where I finally know what I’m going to do with my life: helping people, and I am using all of the skills I learned thanks to my “failures.”
Here are some important lessons I learned over the years.
- When you manage your time after setting a goal, remember that persistence is the most important rule to follow, even when your goal is far away. Making 2 small steps every day for 10 years will get you quite far.
- Nothing you do, you do in vain. Even when I thought I was wasting my time, I didn’t know that I was actually educating myself and acquiring useful tools that I would eventually use at different points in life.
So.. how do I manage my time?
Well, that is pretty simple. To manage my time, I, first of all, make a list of subjects, books, and flashcards I need to finish by the end of the semester. I never “cram” before exams, I study a lot from day 1, so I can keep my social life and see people even before the exams – which is crucial for keeping your sanity (especially during medical school).
Most of you read this after watching me studying for 15 hours every day. During these 15 hours, I manage to study efficiently for at least 13 hours, working out for 1.5 hours, eating and preparing my food for the next day, and sometimes even getting some groceries.
The day before, I set myself my daily goals to accomplish the day after. For example – my physiology book contains 650 pages, and I have 2 months to study them. My friend made flashcards from the “sbobine” (transcriptions of the lessons) – which are saving me quite a lot of precious time (having friends has many benefits, especially when you study the same subject), so I will be able to also revise what the professors are saying (which is very important if you want to get high scores in your exams)
So I have daily, weekly, monthly, and bi-monthly goals to achieve.
After waking up and immediately studying, I know I am not as efficient and sharp as to study anything new. For the first 3 sessions, I prefer to revise the material from the day before, going through all of my flashcards and checking what I remember or forget.
I flag the Flash Cards I forget,, and I read the chapter from the book that encompasses this specific study material again.
This way, I know exactly what I should do for the rest of the day.
After 3-4 sessions, I will continue studying from the same point I stopped the day before.
I will do it for the next sessions until my long break (workout and eat), and then I will come back and continue studying from my book.
During the last 2-3 sessions, my productivity is lower. I will use the last sessions to work on my side project – a good way to refresh your mind and do something else before studying the next day.
To prevent burnout, having this break helps me tremendously. If I would keep studying until the last session and wake up the next day to study again, it means I will literally study nonstop – no thanks.
The weekly, monthly, and bimonthly
I set myself weekly goals for pages and a number of flashcards to read and revise. During the week, if I see I am behind in one or the other, I will “shift my equilibrium constant” torwards what I am behind at.
In other words – if my weekly goal is 2500 Anki cards, but I did only 300 a day for a couple of days, I will dedicate more time to the flashcards other than my book, and vice versa.
I don׳t use or do anything spectacular when I am studying. My techniques are very straightforward and work great for me. I hope you will pick some techniques and ideas from this course to improve the way you study!