The life of a UPSC aspirant is challenging and demanding. Add to that the pressure from family, job, life, college, etc. it can get pretty overwhelming. In the part conversation with aspirants and even our mentorship students, these issues have been highlighted. But you must understand that every single aspirant even toppers feel or used to feel stressed and overwhelmed by expectations, responsibilities, lack of time, etc.
At times this feeling is for a short burst of time but when you can’t shake that perpetual state of overwhelm, it can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, guilt, failure, inefficiency in preparation, wastage of attempts, and a host of associated physical and emotional symptoms that can seriously affect your well-being.
You need to deal with this feeling. But before that understanding the root cause behind your stress is important.
Table of content:
Why do you feel overwhelmed in UPSC preparation?
- Work-UPSC Preparation: Working aspirants at times have too much to do, they are engaged in stressful, demanding jobs. End up routinely working evenings and weekends leaving no or very less time for preparation. Results in mismanaged or poor UPSC preparation.
- Life-UPSC Preparation: Aspirants have a life, family, and friends and there might be life changes such as moving house, starting a new job, relationships/marriage, or taking care of family/baby. It has a direct impact on UPSC prep.
- Traumatic experience. Such as bereavement, relationship breakup, illness, etc.
- No prior experience in UPSC preparation or no one to guide leads to a perpetual feeling of getting lost in the vast syllabus and complex preparation cycle.
- Perfectionism. If everything always has to be perfect, you’re giving yourself a greater burden. Sometimes just getting through the day is a win. You don’t have to do it all perfectly too – you’re only human!
- Pushing yourself too hard all in the wrong direction where results are not visible, and you don’t seem to be moving forward in your UPSC preparation.
We must understand that there are reasons that we can’t control but pinpointing the exact source of overwhelm is necessary which might not be possible on your own.
Below is the 7-step strategy to gain control of your UPSC Preparation.
1. Pinpoint the primary source of overwhelm.
It will tell you what you can control and what you can’t.
This is the first step. Ask yourself important questions like: “What one or two things, if taken off my plate would alleviate 80% of the stress that I feel right now?” It will at least give a sense of awareness as to what is causing you stress. Then only we can move towards solving the issue. At times finding the root cause on your own is difficult. You can reach out to senior UPSC mentors from CivilsDaily and have an open heart 1-1 FREE discussion.
2. Get Organised and assess your UPSC preparation
Let us get our hands dirty. Start by writing down everything on your mind about your UPSC preparation status, mock tests and marks you have scored, tasks, and things you have to do including non-UPSC prep stuff. Next, check everything under your control and capture any to-dos, appointments, etc. on one hand and your status of UPSC preparation, on the other.
For a fair assessment of your UPSC Preparation, you can schedule a call with CivilsDaily’s mentors.
To avoid procrastination and wasting time you need to connect with your purpose. Make the link between your tasks and your bigger mission.
What’s your purpose in life? Who do you want to be?
Clarifying this will destroy the urge to procrastinate
You know your purpose, now identify the targets to get you there.
3. Set targets
Our mentorship students have their more than a year-long preparation broken down into small, measurable, and manageable chunks through Weekly and Monthly targets. You need to do the same. Break down those goals into smaller manageable targets or tasks. When a task is too big, you won’t know how to start. Break out the smallest next step.
Eg. You are yet to cover Laxmikant for Polity. Don’t aim for the full book. Set a target for just two chapters for the next three days.
Recheck your list, do all the to-dos you captured align with your goals and mission?
4. Prioritize ruthlessly: your tasks according to their importance and urgency
Not all the tasks you have listed and targeted will be UPSC preparation related. Even the targets under UPSC preparation might look equally important and urgent.
“Should I start with Ethics or Optional? Should I make notes now or write answers from current affairs?” Almost all of them look important.
Well, don’t get confused. If you are planning for UPSC 2023 this priority list will be different compared to the one planning for UPSC 2024.
For non-UPSC tasks basic rule is Time-sensitive items first. Next, rank for impact and value.
5. Plan out: make a timetable and a strategy
Talking about UPSC specifically your strategy should be unique to you. No two aspirants have the same set of problems, challenges, or learning styles. Your strategy or timetable will work for you as some past rankers’ timetables or strategies worked for them.
Moreover, this is something that requires expertise and skill. Don’t feel shy to ask for help in this. If you don’t have anyone to help you in this, let us get it done for you.
Spending time with your family and friends nourishes you. Keeping fit ensures you can enjoy life. Don’t neglect it.
Execution is far better and more effective when it is under the supervision of a mentor. Under an accountability system.
The hardest part of tackling overwhelm is to make time to organize yourself. So make it easy for yourself, follow the steps above, and create clarity for yourself. Connect your actions with your purpose and go execute.
Your execution will be far more effective and on track, if there is some supervising figure, a mentor, teacher keeping a check on the targets achieved, tasks completed, etc.
7. Analyze and evaluate your progress. Make necessary course corrections on a regular basis.
Situational awareness is a must when you want to achieve something big. It is very easy to get lost in execution. At regular intervals, you need to evaluate your progress. For UPSC aspirants it might take the form of prelims mocks tests, mains tests, essay writing, or maybe discussions.
Marks scored will give you an indication on your preparation level. Because self-evaluation is mostly ineffective it is advised to get someone experienced to help you. A mentor or UPSC ranker can easily evaluate your UPSC prep status, highlight the mistakes and suggest remedies.
Let Go Of The Past
Stressing and feeling guilty about past UPSC attempts or wasted preparation time is of no use. What matters is how well you can learn from the past, analyze and make changes in the present to make the future better.
How does Samanvaya Mentorship work? Introducing 3 layers of mentorship: Get IAS or UPSC ranker as your mentor
1. 1st step starts with this Samanvaya call: Once you fill in the form, we get on a 30-40 minute call with you to understand your prep level, working/ study constraints, and current strategies and create a step-by-step plan for the next week, next month and so on.
2. You are directed and given access to relevant resources and invite-only platform, Habitat where you can ask your daily doubts, discuss your test-prep questions and have real-time, live sessions on news and op-eds, and find your optional groups.
3. The third and the most personalized tier is the 1 on 1 mentor allotment who stays with you through the course of your UPSC preparation – always-on chat and on scheduled calls to help you assess, evaluate, and chart the next milestone of your IAS 2023-23 journey.
We will also connect you to a UPSC ranker or IAS, who will mentor you in this journey.
Layer 1: You will be assigned a dedicated in-house mentor who will keep track of our progress from start till your final interview.
Layer 2: Sajal Singh sir and the team will be constantly with you through various programs like Samachar Manthan, Prelims, Essay, etc.
Layer 3: A UPSC IAS ranker (one who has cleared this exam) will be supervising your progress as your super mentor.
Who are you?
- Working Junta? If you are preparing for IAS 2023-24 and working simultaneously, we can help you design a timetable that fits right in your hectic schedule.
- First-time prep? If you are in the last year of college or thinking of dropping a year and preparing for IAS 2023-24 full-time, we can help you pick the right books and craft a practical & personal strategy.
- UPSC Veteran?
You just have to take 5 minutes out and fill this form: Samanvaya For IAS 2023
Once done, we will call you within 24 hours or so.