Career & Money

Why Everyone Needs A Study Plan and How to Set Up Yours​

Because “que será, será” doesn’t always work out for the best

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

When asked this question, people often find themselves scrambling, coming up with an answer right on the spot. Do they mention finding a job they like? Does this vision include independent living or starting on investments? Is there a vision, even? There most likely is one, of course, but perhaps not a clear one. And this uncertainty about what to say and where to start is what separates those who take life one day at a time, one goal then another, from those with a laser-precise focus on their personal growth.

This is not to say that it’s wrong to take things slow or that goal setting isn’t enough. The idea is that the good you have can be made better: distractions swept to the side, a chance to dig deep, to pinpoint what’s important to your purpose and scrap all else that isn’t. More importantly, this is an opportunity to hold yourself accountable for your goals.

Where are you going next and how are you getting there? Are there timestamps on the stops you intend to make en route to your final destination? The last one is a crucial question.

It’s an eyes-on-the-prize game that ties these questions together. Here, we wrap them into a neat, easy-to-understand overview that won’t make the next few months (and years) look like a mysterious void, or worse, like the exact same routine you’ve already been shackled to for your previous educational years.

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The study plan goes beyond daily to-do lists and calendar events that achieve the short-term. For one, five years is a timespan long enough to reflect effective but realistic change within yourself and, on the outside, considerable growth in your school and personal life. 

#1: Be clear about what you're willing to sacrifice and what you aren't.

These things are the non-negotiables in your study life, the extra-curriculars you aren't willing to give up and the amount of time you're willing to put into something. Prioritize all the different factors in your life and follow them. 

Are your series more important than that piece of homework you have to submit? Is your class more important than a family reunion? 

#2: Brainstorm to find your Ikigai.

Ikigai, which means a reason for being in Japanese, is a concept tied to a fully-realized purpose and ultimately, the true definition of happiness. What do you get up in the morning for? To unpack this loaded question, hold a little one-man workshop and start jotting down the things that fall under the four major circles in the Ikigai diagram below.

What do you love doing? What does the world need? What can you do that you can be paid for? What do you do well? These intersecting circles ultimately tell you what you have figured out and what the missing puzzle pieces in your life are. Take this deep-dive kind of exercise to get to know yourself, so you can know what worthwhile things you need to focus on or add to your cup in the years to come.

And when you find it, ask yourself: Are your study plans helping lead you in the direction of your Ikigai? If the answer is yes, getting what you need to get done might be a little easier to start on.


Photo Toronto Star, via

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#3: Identify your tasks and then list your goals for each one.

We all have so much going on. You might have a paper to do, a worksheet to complete or some reading to get done. 

Listing down tasks first allows you to see which ones you need to complete first and, hopefully, give you an estimate of how much time it will take to complete them. Get everything in writing.


via Pinterest

#4: Chop up the tasks into smaller markers of completion that you can put timestamps on.

If a task seems a little overwhelming, break it down. Mark a chapter or two of comprehension (not simply reading) for the afternoon, indicate how far you want to get on that paper. Is today for proofreading or simply writing your points down? 

This will allow you to take things one step at a time and will hopefully help keep your head on the goal.

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Because getting your tasks done might take a little more than simple will power. So have you started on your study plan yet?

Art Alex Lara

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