Usually the IAS aspirants find themselves at a loss when it comes to time management. The time always runs out fast and there is too much to be studied. Apart from the fleeting nature of time, the UPSC syllabus to be prepared in order to crack the IAS exam is so vast that any of the candidates is justifiable to get scared. 

As a result, most of the aspirants get confused while prioritizing what should they study first and what should be prepared later. When the mind is perplexed, reaching at a logical decision does not seem to be a feasible exercise. And an IAS aspirant forms no exception. Thus it does not seem to be easy to chalk out a time management strategy in order to decide which subject and/or topic should be studied for how much of the time. 
Thus thinking for how long to study and fixing on the number of hours often seems to be a Herculean task. Besides when a candidate observes others (whom he rightly deems to be his competitors), putting in more hours of study than he himself does, his anxiety only gets worse. 
What’s more, many who are yet in the final year of graduation cannot assign a greater number of hours to study for IAS than they have already been doing. Moreover a number of the people who have been employed, do not find it an easy task to devote longer spans of time to study for IAS than they have already been doing. So, most of them naturally feel that they are at a disadvantage as compared to their competitors. This disadvantage is, however, imaginary. The real concrete loss takes place when this negative thinking begins to lower their spirit and hence, self confidence.  
What makes it even more difficult to crack the exam for IAS is that people from all backgrounds are allowed to appear in it. Thus the exam gets even more competitive. So apart from cracking the exam, getting a good rank is even more difficult. 

Thus time management in order to study is not only highly essential, but something indispensable. However, the point to be noted is that these are not the number of hours, but the quality of preparation that counts more. And this is what that actually counts! Thus if a candidate studies for an hour with nearly perfect focus on the subject and his concentration is not diverted, he is more likely to gain from his single hour of study rather than somebody who has been reading a book for 3 or 4 hours, but has not been able to focus even on a single paragraph with proper concentration. 

It is the quality of the efforts being made that counts!

As already discussed above, rather than the number of hours being put in to study for being an IAS, it is the entire quality of the efforts being made that counts more. The sincerity to the task at hand would make you understand and retain more in your memory for longer periods of time even in a little time. However, do not get scared by a competitor who devotes 10 hours of study to his preparation every day, but sleeps at his study table or is yawning most of the time. Such an individual has actually being wasting long spans of time everyday. 

Same is the case with the days, weeks and even months being put into study. The entire time is a sheer waste in case you do not study and the mind wanders hither and thither. Thus concentrating fully well on the subject is more important rather than for how long you keep the book open on your table. 

Your psyche counts!

The kind of the efforts made by an individual depends on his psyche. Those who attach greater importance to quality are more likely to make the most of the time they get to study. These are the kind of the aspirants who are more likely to succeed, at times, in the first attempt itself and be an IAS.

However, if it is the quantity that dominates the psyche of a candidate, he is more likely to study for 10 or 12 hours every day. But prolonged preparation without concentration is not going to result into anything. Thus his dreams of joining the Indian Administrative Services might never materialize. 

It is best to change with the changing times!

There is an old adage that says that when you are in Rome, you should live as the Roman do! It obviously implies that it is best to act as per the times we live in. 

So, the times are no longer the same when preparing for IAS was treated as a long term strategy. A much deeper knowledge of the subjects and the interrelated topics was expected of the candidates than what is expected now. No wonder people used to devote longer hours to study in order to crack the exam for IAS than what is actually required nowadays.

And you are not required to go by how the successful predecessors had been preparing for the IAS exam. 

As the times have changed now producing a tectonic difference in the examination pattern(s) in not too distant a past, different kinds of skills are expected and assessed at various levels by UPSC in order to recruit the future civil servants. 

UPSC tests various types of skills: so, the time required to prepare for each of the levels is bound to be different

The various levels of examination at Prelims, Mains and Interview test different kinds of skills as described below:

(1) The Prelims: The Prelims expect the candidate to have astrong holdover the facts. Besides, he must be able to retain the details. So he should have a sharp memory.Thus preparing for the Prelims does require some time to grasp the important facts and memorize them as well. 

(2) Mains: Mains being more complex than the Prelims,tests chiefly for the following:

(a) Knowledge

(b) Skills to write well and hence creativity as well, 

(c) Perseverance, etc. 

Thus a greater time would be required to prepare for the Mains as compared with the Prelims. 

(3) Interview (also referred to as the Personality Test): As the name suggests, the Interview makes an assessment of the candidate’s personality. Thus the entire personality is assessed in order to analyze if the candidate would prove to be a suitable civil servant. 

It must not be forgotten that the Interview is not to be taken lightly for it is the last hurdle that is to be crossed in order to be an IAS officer. 

However there is a tip to clear The Personality Test successfully. You already stand introduced to the interviewers even before you actually enter the interview room. It is so because the candidates are asked to fill the DAF that carries the prominent details about them. And their personalities are assessed accordingly in the interview. 

So the time consumed to prepare for the interview must also include the time that the candidate spends while filling the DAF. The form should be filled carefully. Give the details e.g., hobbies etc., about which you feel confident so that you do not feel uncomfortable when you are questioned about the same in the interview. 

Be Analytical

It counts to have an analytical and scientific attitude. Try to analyze and appreciate various details that you are required to study in order to cover the UPSC syllabus. For example, studying the democracy with a keen interest would naturally help you to appreciate its various pillars. 

Stay Relaxed

Don’t forget to relax once in a while. Take a break of 15 minutes or so as required after studying for 2 hours. Keep in touch with your kith and kin. Do not avoid them all together simply because you are busy preparing for the exam. 

The ways suggested above will help you come out of the daily monotonous routine of studying continuously. Even if you feel keenly interested in whatever you study (and that is only highly positive), you are bound to get tired after a long time of studies. It is only human to feel tired and/or get bored. 

Thus little regular breaks from your study schedules will help you rejuvenate and you will be able to prepare better. 

Fix the target(s)

You would find that if you fix a daily, weekly or monthly target for yourself, you would not only be able to study better, but would also cover the entire syllabus in time. It would leave you with sufficient time to revise. 

But you can fix the study target only if you are well-aware about the nitty-gritty of IAS preparation. You can go to IAS Online Coaching demo videos section to watch free videos on different topics of General Studies, Prelims & Mains. 

So far, so good, but it is best not to forget that everybody has a unique personalities of his own that encompasses various strengths and weaknesses too. So you should think of a time management strategy, fixing upon the number of hours to study various subjects and topics as required, devoting more time to the subjects you do not have a strong hold over or where UPSC syllabus requires you to study in greater detail.