Your PMP Study Plan May Change. Let it.
We have to kick that fear in the face and change things up if we need to.
Don't make your study plan rigid

You know those people that set out to do something, research for days, then find a way and stick to it?

Whether it’s to learn something new, complete a household task, create a new workout plan….or prepare for the PMP, they find the “best” way that others talk about, then they mirror that.  Then they refuse to change it because “it’s worked for others so it has to work for them”.  They drudge through miserably because they think they have to.

I know who they are.  Because I’m usually one of them.  It fucking sucks.

What's my point?

From my own experience, as well as talking to others that have gone through their own PMP journey, I’ve learned that it’s very common that people are afraid of change.  They’re either afraid to challenge the status quo.  Or they’re afraid to change things up in the middle of their journey.  Usually terrified it’ll screw with their study plan and waste time.

Humans can be change adverse by nature.  But sometimes we have to fight against being comfortable to improve.

We have to kick that fear in the face and change things up if we need to.

Look – I’m not saying we should be fickle about our studies.  And I do think it’s important to use lessons learned from others to make your journey less terrible.  The problem arises when these aren’t used as guidelines, but rather used as rigid plans that we fear to adjust for ourselves.

Also, it’s important to understand that some days will be shittier than others.  I’m not advocating that someone should pull the rip-cord on a plan at the first sign of pain/distress/boredom/struggle.  However, if you find yourself struggling for consecutive days, ultimately destroying your motivation, then it’s time to re-think your strategy.  And more importantly, not be afraid to change it.

What do I mean?

Some of you may have already read my article about my own PMP journey.  I talked in more detail about my initial plan, my notes, my resources – the whole lot.  I changed a few things up along the way.  Yay!  Small wins!

However, at some point, after trying to power through losing motivation because I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, I completely re-wrote my study plan.  I didn’t start completely from scratch, but I definitely came close.  The plan I was using was already somewhat unique, but it still wasn’t good enough for me.  I was trying to talk myself into just “sticking with it”.

Eventually, I finally said “Fuck you, fear!”, and scrapped what I was doing.

I narrowed my resources down to just Scott’s book.  I changed my plan to include more small quizzes and checkpoints along the way.  I scrapped Rita’s book almost entirely, planning only to use it as a reference.  Also, this meant going back to the beginning of Scott’s book to review a lot of what I already read and take more quizzes.  This sounds a LOT like starting over.  It almost was.  But I needed to do something to make the journey suck less.

It's not me. It's you.

But enough about me.  The point of this is to help everyone else understand something important.

Don’t be afraid to change your plan.  Seriously.

Your journey is going to take even longer if you try to fight through the lack of motivation and forcing a plan that doesn’t work for you.  It may seem counter-productive to scrap everything and start over, but it’s damn near a guarantee that you’ll stay focused and motivated, and retain more if you’re not miserable.

Like I mentioned above, you should still consider lessons learned from others, but don’t etch that shit in stone.

So, a few closing notes to sum this up:
  • Learn from others, build a plan, but be willing to adjust
  • Know your own study style and what works best for you
    •      If you don’t know your own style, check out this quiz
  • Consider resources that others suggest, but understand what works for others, even if it’s the vast majority, may be awful for you
  • Be willing to change your plan.
    •      However, ensure you’re being honest with yourself.  Is the plan really not working for you, or are you having a shitty day, or looking for excuses to procrastinate?

That’s it for now.  I wanted to keep this article short.  I was writing an update to my other article, and realized what I needed to say was more long winded than a quick update to that article.  So this one was birthed.

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