Whatever works for you. I found the easiest and cheapest method was punching the top left corner and using rings I bought at Staples. Professional cerlox binding looks nice but if you want to rearrange or there's an error, good luck fixing it yourself! Some people just use good old staples. There's no right answer.
Don't skip anything. What you focus on is a different story.
I also made mine in a group. It was annoying to do but probably helped a bit or at least it gave me peace of mind. I'd never have paid for an index though. If you read the materials, highlight well, and learn to work the ToC, you'll be fine.
My group worked from an index from friends who had written the bar the year prior.
If you're updating indexes entirely on your own, as you read, that sounds like a huge waste of time. Either work in a group or learn to use the ToC. Don't try and create an index by yourself, that is way too much work for one person.
Do the math yourself. How many pages do you need to read? How many days do you want to read them in? Divide one by the other. Read that many pages a day.
Practice was absolutely essential for me. If you can access free exams great. If you can't, I guess you'll have to buy them?
Yeah, the toddler does help. Though it's sad to see him go through this period where he's learning to walk and talk, but has no access to play groups, libraries, swim classes, or any other place to learn to be social. I know he's little enough that he will just learn when we have the chance, but it still hurts a bit.
Everybody I've talked to has said that the burnout and lack of motivation is worse this year than ever before, so at least the curve should be down for everyone!
The only thing I have found that helps me focus is shame. I use a timer like I would if I was working to show myself how much time I'm wasting on other stuff and guilt myself into working more. Is this healthy? Probably not. But it's getting me through the last two weeks of exams.