Let’s think backwards. The idea is to start with the ultimate goal (in your case to qualify as an ACCA) and then figure out the steps you need to take to get there. We could tackle this challenge from many angles, but I would like to focus on two – better nutrition and less screen time.
Technology and sugar are two things I feel our culture pours into our kids almost without limits. This applies to us as well. The brain uses more energy than any other organ in the human body and glucose (sugar) is its primary source of fuel. But what happens when the brain is exposed to an excessive amount of sugars? Too much sugar impairs both our cognitive skills and our self-control. For many people having a little sugar stimulates a craving for more. Sugar has drug-like effects in the reward centre of the brain.
Wholegrain foods (carbohydrates) will stave off hunger. Examples include porridge and wholemeal bread. Combine a starchy carbohydrate (oatmeal) with a protein (eggs) and that will help keep blood sugar levels balanced, which is essential for mood and concentration for your studies.
In any area of life we need to protect our mental wellbeing. Again, we could tackle this from many different angles, but I want to focus on one: technology, or more specifically, less of it.
I recently read a book called ‘24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week’, by Tiffany Shlain. In the book she explores how turning off our screens one day a week can work wonders for your brain, body, and soul.
We start off with the best intentions with our revision programme. We attempt to build structure around our studies, but somewhere along the line we lose focus – and one of the biggest reasons is the smartphone.
It’s a given that we should not have our smartphones close by if we are in a study session. We will not go into that, but if we do make time to disconnect one day of the week, is this a radical act of protection against the always-on, always-available world?
Just do it
I am privileged enough to coach students in my free time – via LinkedIn direct message and then email (it’s my way of giving back). The first question I am nearly always asked is, how did you find time to study?
Here is the secret, this is a BIG one. The secret is simple: just study. They see I am an early riser via my LinkedIn posts; again they ask the question, how do you manage to get up consistently early each day? Simple: I just get up. Just get up, start that revision. The situation will never be perfect. People tend to overthink and philosophise about every single scenario – they do that to avoid the inevitable. (You can connect with me via LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/pantelisfouli – but please mention in the personal message that you are an ACCA student.)
My favourite quote is from one of the most decorated Navy Seals alive. It is: “Discipline equals freedom”. You need to set the rules for your life in order to make it possible to keep disciplined, day in day out. To stay committed to your studies, your classes, whether online or in class. This will eventually give you the freedom to do what you have always wanted – and that it to be a ACCA qualified.
• Pantelis C. Fouli is ACCA qualified and an ACCA Advocate and Student Mentor