Official : Post Daily Routine & Self Assessment (Mains 2020) - ForumIAS

Official : Post Daily Routine & Self Assessment (Mains 2020)

Neyawn,peacefulwarriorand94 otherslike this


Still in post-prelims inertia, unable to start anything. Had set a schedule since 13th but unable to keep up with sheer volume of work to be done. Don’t know how you guys are managing. Posting my first schedule today:

world history notes- 3 hrs

post independence consolidation- 3hrs

awfg- 1 hr

lets hope things pan out well today. Hoping to get much needed momentum going.

my question to you guys is how you’re keeping yourself self motivated and avoiding procrastination during the day. Thanks

That inertia is a horrible cycle... been having bouts since last year but with decreasing frequency and duration. Some things that help me avoid it:

1. Work WITH yourself, not against yourself. Find the balance between forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to, and humouring yourself. Figure out distinct moods you experience and what kind of topic works best with each. You might find a pattern. You can then arrange items from your daily list accordingly. For example, I realised that I can’t get into anything with a lot of depth first thing in the morning. After I have one quick tick on my whiteboard from an easier topic, I am energised to get into something that’ll take a few hours. So I started doing discrete ethics topics first thing in the morning, followed by a good long optional sesh. After lunch to avoid the break extending into the next session, I make the next session short so I’m under pressure. If my plan says “03.00 to 04.00” with a small topic instead of “03.00 to 06.00” with a big one, I’m more likely to sit down to work at 3pm since the heat is on. It’s like a project where you’re both the manager and the only team member. So you have to understand how your mind works and manipulate/direct it into working.

2. See if making shorter slots works for you. And don’t be too ambitious! I usually give myself 10-15 minutes more for a topic than I think I’ll take, so I get a feeling of accomplishment when I have 10 minutes left - I’m writing this on a break like that(“Fake it till you make it”) . The time you lose in these short breaks will be much less than the massive chunk of time you lose if you’re not feeling motivated and energised.

3. Sit down for as long as it takes and write down every little bit of work that has to be done. Every single nook and corner of the overwhelming labyrinth in front of you. Then organise it into parts that make sense to you. Write down dates for the next couple of weeks. Figure out how much and what needs to be done for each. Write that down beside the date. Be honest with how much you can do in one day - this is crucial. Now step back and look at that beauty of a plan. That’s your torchlight. You just have to keep moving forward, one day at a time. Worry only about one day. If you fail to finish 100% of one day, try to adjust it in the next two. If you fail at 3 days, the pressure will show up again. Either your targets were too high or your daily time clocked too low. Honestly identify which. Make the plan again. You’ll find that you are getting closer to realising the plan with every iteration as you get used to it. Sooner or later you’ll be finishing it exactly down to the last minute. It’s a beautiful feeling. Just gotta hang in there until you reach it!

4. Make your reward proportionate to and conditional on the work put in. If I’ve successfully finished my morning session targets I happily watch an episode of Bandish Bandits over lunch. If I haven’t then I finish lunch quickly and try to make up for at least some of the time lost (so I watch quick B99 excerpts :p)

5. Figure out one area in the whole syllabus that always has your back. That you’ll feel like doing even when you don’t want to do anything else. This is your best friend who’ll never let you down. Use it when you can’t do anything else but also don’t want to give up. At the very least you won’t have wasted time.

6. Talk to people when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that the world will still go on even if you finish only 30 pages instead of 50. Usually talking to friends/family - people who seem strangely normal to me because they’re not obsessing over a whiteboard - hits a reset button in my head. Studying becomes much easier once the feeling of being overwhelmed passes. 

7. If the day refuses to pick up no matter what you do, ruthlessly kill it. I just go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it... yet. (A quote khaas from my favourite childhood book). An early start the next day plus the guilt of the previous day usually makes it a much more productive one. 

You’re certainly not alone in feeling this way. All the above worked for me, it may not for you. But you can figure out things like this that do. After all there’s no wrong way to study as long as you end up learning. Good luck and thank you for reading if you lasted this long :)

Naadan_Parinda,ssver2and30 otherslike this

Great to see the enthusiasm :) Just one thing I would want to say - Guys, don't pick any new source in the last moment. Trust me, in past 10 years it has never happened that someone has picked up a final compilation and all questions have come from there.

Focus of Previous Years Papers, Books and Whatever Test Series / Papers you are doing.  In the end we have to revise such that we are turning the pages only. 

While having food, turn the pages of PYQs with the confidence that you know everything. And by 20th also revise your CSAT PY Questions and resolve the questions.

P.S. This is the last moment. 

Naadan_Parinda,peacefulwarriorand29 otherslike this






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Yesterday was good! Could appear only for one sectional test and prepared for the second. Appeared for the 2nd one in the first half today. 

Now only half day left. Will take it easy. 

1. Plan for next 12 days

2. Watch one CA lecture

3. Short Notes on WPT (last 3)

The second half was mostly chill. 

It's a new Dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life. 

WPT: Consolidate last 3

Indian Society: 2 sub-topics

Post Ind: 1 hour

Ethics: EI

Culture: 2 Q-A

No ethics, Society only half. Rest done. 

Target for tomorrow:

1. Short Notes: WPT ( Middle 3)

2. Post Ind and Culture: Daily Tidbits

3. Society: Pov and Pop

Done except Society. WPT is heavy.

For tomorrow!

1. WPT (remaining part)

2. Post-Ind & Culture: small chunks

3. Revision for Sec Test 

No revision. Rest done. Making short notes of Plato, Aristotle etc. is tougher than putting entire toothpaste back in tube. 

Target for tomorrow:

1. Revise WPT notes

2. Society: 3 hours

3. Ethics: EI 

Could complete only half of it. UPSC told me no need to study more, ever. It was my second and agewise last attempt. 

No regrets. Gave my all. Was in full warrior mode with my notes, short notes, audio revisions. There was uncertainty regarding prelims, but I deliberately cultivated the virtue of performing amidst uncertainty. Was almost successful. Life has it's own turns.

The people on this thread have been super inspiring. After the results, everyone in my family was so happy. May be they wanted to cheer me up. Now back to wife and life. 

I love my current job a lot too. Jitne armaan Hain, jarur niklenge. 

All the best to forum people. Give your best. Keep your options open. Have a great life. 

This prep made me revive my good habits of pranayam, meditation, controlling mind chatter. The skills learnt will be extremely useful. Chapter closed. Logging out. 

Sarve sukhinah bhavantu, sarve santu niramaya! May we we all realize the true purpose of our lives. 

Oasis,Auroraand26 otherslike this

A note to self

It's all coming back to me. This constant gnawing feeling that time is running out. Fact is that it is. I've been so anxious the past few weeks that I've been unable to get the best out of my day. Every time, I tell myself that maybe a break would sort it out. I take the break; still, it comes back to me. The only way seems to me to actually chew it up and spit it out.

I have so much left to do. I wish there were a way that one could just make a plan, stick to it, and see the whole thing through. There may be some who do it, and to them, I take my hat off. It's simply not my cup of tea. I've tried and I've failed a great number of times, just over the past month alone. The enormity of it all is mind-boggling and quite simply, overwhelming. I don't think I have been more stressed in my entire life.

If the past few years have taught me anything at all, it is that stress brings out the worst in me. I get nothing done, and I'm so fucking snappy. I've been easy going and a chiller my entire life. This part of my life calls for discipline that I can't seem to find. Even on the days that I find that discipline, I mostly end up finishing too little, comparing with what is left for me to do. Every day, there is renewed energy, but most nights, there's terrible anxiety.

I need to find a way to be calm. The only way that I can seem to do that right now is to allow for the possibility that it might not happen for me. I need to let go of the feeling that I am much closer to my goal. The closer I think I am, the more anxious I get about the result. I need to let it be. I need to remember that this is all not purely within my control. I need to be authentic. The only thing that I can do is to maximise my chances. The first thing I need to do towards that end is to find my lost confidence. I need to stomach the fact that my preparation will be far from perfect. Yet, I must prime myself for giving my best shot on the day. It's a funny little game, this. 

Maximising my chances right now can only be done through shortcuts. It is clear as day to me. Be it in my optional or in GS, that is the only option that is open to me to even make a fight of it. Hence, I must take them. Shortcuts have served me well in my life. I think they are underrated. 250 or 150 words is all I need. Nothing less, nothing more. This is when the tables will turn. Whether I am able to see these 51 days through and keep my head about me will determine whether I am successful. 

I need to keep faith, not in my reading or my preparation, but in myself. This is what gives me my best chance. There is simply no magic pill that works for me. Not hard work. Not smart work. Definitely not the beautiful strategy I penned down on a thread here when I was still naive.

The only time I was successful was when I was calm. So, maybe that is what I must bank on. Whatever it may be, I will face it. The only thing I can do now is to cover the gaping holes that I have in my preparation. My efforts will be towards that end because that is simply the only thing in my control. This is an exam that a person who does not have the same resources and privileges as me should be, and have cleared in the past. I've been making a mountain out of a reasonably large hill. I need to direct my efforts towards climbing that hill, not the mountain I've built up inside my head. 

It's definitely daunting, but my head has been making it a hundred thousand times more daunting than it is. The time is ripe for simplification level Patootie. Break that shit down to manageable pieces. Do no more than that. If they are unmanageable pieces, do the manageable bits. If there are no manageable bits, it is by definition unmanageable.

So, here's the last plan that Imma make. It's the plan that I've always followed. The one where there is no plan. No schedule. No daily targets. Just execution. My exam is on January 8. Not the mock on Sunday. I know the parts where I'm weak, and I know the parts where I'm strong. It's only about putting my best foot forward on the day.

Cut the noise out. The noise inside my head, the noise from the mentor, the noise from the mock test feedback. Sometimes it gets too much that I feel like I can't hear the calming inner voice that is Patootie. I need to cut all of that out. That bubble is what I'm looking for again. It's a fookin utopia where everything is good. No matter what happens on the outside, everything is good inside Patootie's bubble. 

I may not be able to make the exam work, but I'll find my peace again. That, to me, is the most important thing. If I can find that peace again, I feel life will be good. Life has to be good. 

What if I fall? I'll get up, dust myself off and find myself another way.

But what if I fly? That's gonna be a whole new story altogether.

ssver2,Auroraand26 otherslike this

Congratulations to all those who got through the Prelims stage (1st Chakravyuh).

I couldn't clear Prelims this time. But got to say, I'm actually relieved. Even when I was organised and tried to be systematic at each step, at last everything was messed up. 

When Thomas Edison’s factory burned to the ground in 1914, destroying one-of-a-kind prototypes and causing $23 million in damage, Edison’s response was simple:

"Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start fresh again."

So all of us, who didn't clear Prelims this time, let's start afresh.

I have to first change my Optional. This is not an easy decision, but have no choice. This was not working anymore. Felt like a breakup :p

समर शेष है

dalpha,Auroraand22 otherslike this
Also, I love the culture of this forum, where faceless, nameless people can freely share whatever is holding them down, and there is an ever reliable community which has their back. It's beautiful. Much love to you guys. :)
Naadan_Parinda,ssver2and17 otherslike this
Optional paper 1 aur GS1 bigad gaya so I don't know if would clear or not. But I am completely satisfied with my efforts as I could not have done anything more in given time period. Made and tried to implement the best strategy I could have come up with toppers and my own experience. Learning curve was steep be it writing practice or reading. Improved mental health and learnt to observe emotions better. 

One of the main reason for my consistency post pre is this thread. Many times I would put mock in the schedule but by the end of the day I felt completely drained and fed up. But as I  made commitment on the post I would go ahead and give that paper. Not following schedule felt like cheating to myself and people visiting this thread.
There were times when I felt low and people on this thread would push me to up the game.
Thanks@HotBloodPrince ,@Hitman2021 and all other contributors on thread for all the motivation and help.
A special thanks to@Qoqo who kept pushing boundaries day after day. I have never seen such dedicated person in my life. Your schedules helped me to correct mine and actually motivated me to put in the those extra hours. Those little peaks in your life were cherry on top.

Now I don't care much if I am in or not (atleast for now). 
As Gandhi ji say "Satisfaction lies in effort not in attainment. Full effort is full victory."

P.S. Ab quote se end krne ki adat si hogyi h.
ssver2,GaryVeeand16 otherslike this

Was consistently scoring 115+ in FLTs (GS SCORE OPEN, VISION 26, 27, 28, Edukemy open, onlyias open, ABHYAS 1). Complacency crept in. Decided to attempt the Additional FLT of ABHYAAS (vision). And  Boom.Scored a meagre 80.Saw average marks (105). Discussed with friends - everyone got105 +.

May be i didn't focus well (over confident) or i simply didn't know stuff. But this setback was good enough to bring me back from the comforts of my couch. Lesson learnt. 

"He who is content with what has been done is an obstacle in the Path of progress"

Will try not to relax or become complacent anymore as we enter the final 30 days of this prolonged prelims battle ! When the Prelims cutoff prediction thread does become active at around 5.00 PM on 4th of October, I hope to happily type in my score and contribute, rather than sobbing/crying/ boozing. or contemplating giving up.

cheers mates !

peacefulwarrior,MatildasMissHoneyand16 otherslike this

Dear friends

Just wanted to reiterate thatIt's all matter of few more weeks, and few moredense study sessions. Those 'nearing' the finish line can in no time be out of the race, and those who might think are no where in the race, may turn the table upside down, provided if they utilise the fraction of potential they posses, but are unable to utilise mainly because of the fear of the unknown. 

Zyada se zyada kya hoga? Selection nahi hoga. Bus itni si baat?  

None of you writing mains is dumb.
None of you writing mains will 'unsucced' in life.
None of you writing mains will die of hunger, or of joblessness.

Believe me, this exam isdesigned  to test your anxiety, frustration, desperation, mental health, and your character.

And believe me, many of those, who might be not privileged as us, are cracking it every year. The only thing is ki there stories are not floating in the air. How many of selected candidates you know? One? Two? Three? Ten? That's too less to be considered as a sample size. There are hundreds of selection every year, and it is beyond anyone's capability toseethese humble, faceless, toppers, who may not find any place in the glam sham of media frenzied interviews, and those biased topper's talk. Believe me, it is among this lot, the majority of junta lies. And this lot is bahut had tak just like you. 

Writings mains is no menial feat, though it is not the final destination, but you all will appreciate its indeed a confidence booster.Maintain the confidence. Appreciate that ho saqta hai agle saal ye mauka bhi na miley.

I am not an expert. In fact not a prelims expert for that matter. But, do this exercise-write 150 words in the replica of UPSC answer sheet.Saari chinta melt ho jayegi. Yes, it just needs quality 150 words which will fetch you marks. 

With the risk of sounding noob, idealist, first timer, etc (nevertheless) yahi kehnaa hai aap sab se kiho jayega. Sabka exam niklega.

Befaaltu Gyaan ke thok vikreta


@Sadhika @HotBloodPrince @Bread_pizza 

Oasis,thejokerand15 otherslike this
This question is to those who are clocking 9+ hours consistently - how do you manage to sit for long hours? I mean physically, how do you keep going? I max out at about 7-8 hours. Also been experiencing tremendous lower back pain of late due to continuous sitting. It's come to the point where I literally have to lie on the floor for relief. This shouldn't be happening at 23 years of age. 


as soon as u wake up start studying as suggested by newyan sir(ab chahe 10 baje uth rahe ho ya 12 baje) no brush no tea bas splash some water on ur face and start studying

back dukh rhi hai toh ghumte ghumte padlo

neend arrhi hai to 20 mnt ka alarm lagake so jao fir chai banao aur pado

man nhi kar raha toh subject change krlo test dedo

bas yhi ilaj hai iska,keech lo ek mahina hai

mightyraju,Naadan_Parindaand14 otherslike this

So, a little good news: after torturous 2 weeks with the Covid 19 finally I have tested -ve today. 

Haven't touched or thought about studies in a while. But now as the results are also here. Time to start again, albeit slowly. 


1) Population Geography 

2) Society from Vision monthlies

Answer writing will have to wait for other days. 

Also, Ashtami is here so prayers to the mother goddess: 

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु मातृ-रूपेण संस्थिता। 

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥

Oasis,Auroraand14 otherslike this


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bhai how you are doing map work? source/tarika/some samples plzzz

As my optional is geography, it’s a part of our syllabus. Anyway these are some sample map works (note: we only need relative locations, not the exact one):

1. For political map of India, I’ve divided map into grids by drawing major longitude and latitudes. Then the capitals/important places of states relative to these lines.

 Let’s take the PYQ, where it had asked the relative location of Lucknow and Hyderabad. The idea was to know if candidates know that there is sharp turn in peninsular part of India. Similarly, the question of Delhi and Bangalore being on the same longitude. You can also see here that New Delhi is North to all the capitals of Northeast states.

2. Relative location of countries on world map. Overlapping for Countries which have shared boundaries.

3. Map of island countries. Idea is to remember the important one and their relative location with respect to other islands and latitudes/longitudes.

Hope this helps.

peacefulwarrior,Dora-the_Explorerand14 otherslike this


1. Went on an online shopping spree. That time of the year is here. 

2. Made notes on 2 topics of GS1. 

3. Feeling exhausted from last 2-3 days due to fever. So slept for like 14 hrs. Yes, that is possible.

Though never bothered on clocking more hours but this is like really less given the amount of work. 

Brain is like:

hum karte hein prabandh Pankaj Tripathi mirzapur meme

So, the schedule begins to get that flow


1) GS 1.7 to 1.10

2) Geography: topics correlated with 1) - Highlights from Majid Hussain+ Khullar

3) GS4 8.3 to 8.6 + GS2.16 (similar topics)

4) Answer writing: 3 GS+ 2 Geography 

5) Vision August CA: topics from above themes.

6) Yoga- Parents feel my brain will damage if I won't. So yeah why not.

As Trump would say, "Believe me, its gonna be huge(yuge?)" :P

Naadan_Parinda,ssver2and13 otherslike this

Will be sharing my progress here for the upcoming 27 days in the run up to Prelims 2020. 

I have divided the period till Oct 2, 2020 into9 blocks of 3 days each

The plan looks like this till Sep 20, 2020. 

MatildasMissHoney,ssver2and13 otherslike this


Thank you for supportive words.. And hot blood prince.. I guess everyone has one or other problems before exam.. Just own problems looks big to most of us.. Untill we read or share abt each other problems.. Support groups are absent in India.. Like in usa series or movies.. And their concept of shrink.. Here Pagloh ka doctor - ( mental doctor) term is used.. 

Anyway trying to accept whatever happened.. And just wishing ke able to sustain myself untill 16th Jan 2021 financially.. And more importantly mentally due to breaking of trust.. Normally singles ke life mei.. Gf or bf breaks.. But seems My case different.. Others might be there also with similar situation of mine in past.. 

So I will also keep going.. Jada se jada clear nahi hoga.. Koi na.. Coaching class mei padha lenge.. Yah jabh tak woh nahi milega.. Tabh tak joh milega... Kar lenge whether teach personal tuitions to upsc students.. Or school students.. Or even  security guard ke job ( as covid time most things went online) .. As will need to return money of friends.. Once tat will be done.. In 1 - 2 month max.. Then will start something with growth prospectus.. 

But untill 16th Jan.. Will just focus on mains.. 

Many will wonder y then write sad post.. Just writing it out and sharing here.. most of us here with few years upsc experience.. Have lost touch with most of friends.. Ekdum call karke gaatha nahi Gaa sakte unko.. Libraries even if some opened.. Its risky affair to go unless no other option.. So here we share.. Hoping our stories might help each other in knowing ke problems are part of this journey.. Golden past we might hv left by choosing this field.. But past can't be changed.. Future can't be predicted.. Its just present we can make it count 

thejoker,Auroraand13 otherslike this

30th August 2020:-

Had target of revising too many tests early in the morning but could not do so:-


1) Raat mein decide nahi kiya tha ki karna kya hai

2) Morning mein kisi tarah se mann ko maar ke padhna start nahi kiya(in first hour)

3) Kal raat mein thoda late tak padha and it disrupted my morning schedule

The most important thing is balance:-

1) Balance in believing what you believe

2) Balance in not following the crowd or some friends and just start doing some falana dhimkaana things

3) Balance in not taking any suggestions in last hours

Today I commit to myself that I will be in full control of myself for next 30 days. Koi kuch bhi kahe kare mai wahi karunga jo maine decide kiya hai. These are my days.

mightyraju,Naadan_Parindaand13 otherslike this

Red pandas, when they are 'endangered', which is like all the time. :P

MatildasMissHoney,dalphaand13 otherslike this

The last 50 days have been turbulent and draining emotionally, mentally and physically. The work (productive work) of last 7 weeks could be condensed in 1 week. I don't know if I stand any chance. I don't know if being hopeful could alter things now. I don't know if I can put up a worthy effort in next 6 weeks. I don't know if the future could be changed by present. If this preparation is a 100 metres race and people are already near the finishing line, let me tell you I have not even crossed the starting line. Now, I feel should I even run. A moment of existential crisis, this. The head is full of self critical thoughts longing for what could have been. What hurts the most is you know that it is you yourself who never worked to your potential. Do I even try, ever. Do I even start? John Bingham says, "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." Maybe I should stop thinking, now. I will have to see it through. I will have to run to find out. A quest to know if one can really change the dreaded future of not finding roll number in the Mains selected candidates list again, consecutive years. Do I feel hopeful, determined, confident now ? No. Do I know enough to write 9 papers now? No. Now, I will not think I will do whatever I can. I will run and see it through. I will update where I am.

P.S. Apologies for undiluted emotional outburst. Generally, I am better than this.  :) 

para,Auroraand12 otherslike this
Done with speculating cutoff and taking rest. This year's Prelims gave me a shock that it took some time to recover. But I guess it's time to move on and prepare for Mains, irrespective of the result.

I'll also update my daily routine here. I'll try to update the micro-topics that I cover daily. Feel free to ask any question from those topics*. This exercise will ensure that I'm myself clear with the topics.

If possible others can also do the same.

*Conditions apply.
mightyraju,ssver2and12 otherslike this

How energy draining is any stage... Oh my god prelims didn't give any reason to smile but gave a lot of health complications! It's too tough too get going again in the same vigour! 

But here is my schedule! 

Will complete Unit 12 of Ancient India along with maps of Previous year.. 

Itna hi ho jaye toh bhagwan zindabad

Naadan_Parinda,ssver2and12 otherslike this
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