Time is not a commodity, make the most out of it
Typically, students that choose to take online education courses do so for the opportunity of a flexible, workable schedule. The flexibility of online education allows students to take classes on their own time, wherever they have access to a computer and a wifi connection: even starbucks will do.
However, the ability to complete assignments at one’s own discretion can create the temptation to procrastinate and not stay on top of their school schedule. Staying organized and practicing good time management requires a student to be disciplined and committed to not only completed their degree, but be efficient at doing so.
With all of the many distractions and obligations an adult student may endure like caring for a family, balancing a full time job, or other activities, it can be a lot more difficult to stay on top of student course work. Fortunately, there are many time management tips for online students that will assist greatly in helping a person stay afloat with their classwork.
One of the easiest ways to get started in developing good time management skills is to create a game plan, or schedule for activities. Online students will typically need a lot more structure, due to the likelihood they have many other obligations to juggle as well. When creating a schedule, here are a few guidelines to make sure it covers everything:
Indicate the priority of each task on the calendar
- Perhaps color code a task to decipher which of the tasks are most important
- Use the online course syllabuses to plan out a study and assignment schedule
- Delegate specific times to each task and make sure to stick to the times you set aside when working through the schedule
- Plan for any extensive time commitments with family, friends, or work
- If going on a long vacation or work seminar, make sure that study time is accounted for (or worked around that)
When making a schedule, a person can use several tools to help them task manage. Creating a manual calendar on paper can be useful for some, but it is not very dynamic and will be harder to stay on top of. There are many internet, computer, and mobile programs students can access to help create an effective project management schedule. Mobile apps are probably the way to go, given the ease with which you can sync different devices with the same schedule.
These programs will often have the ability to send reminders in case a person’s memory fails them one day. In many cases, different programs allow the option to create a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly calendars. This can be useful if a person wants to plan their entire work, family, and online course schedule into a calendar for months in advance.
But, no matter how a person schedules out their tasks, the most important thing is to make sure the plan is all laid out in a arranged format, in order to stay on track through the duration of the online course.
Having a schedule made and set up is the first step for effective time management for online students. The next thing they will have to remember is to practice efficient study habits. Even if a student sets aside 2 hours to study in a day, they have to know how to use the time most effectively. Some great tips to remember when studying are:
- Study at the same time every day
Creating habits will allow a person not only remember schedules easier, but stick to them.
- Study in blocks of time while taking breaks
Studying all at once can be very fatiguing. When a person organizes their study schedule, they should create blocks of time to study, and times for breaks in between. This is helpful for maximum knowledge retention and avoiding tiredness.
- Create a checklist of things to accomplish
Before going to study, make a list of things to go over during the session. Have check boxes included so that a task can be marked off when complete. This helps to stay on task.
- Make good use of any extra time
Walking, waiting, riding the bus, etc. to study – you name it. There’s plenty of wasted time and putting all these stop-and-go activities to use is a great way to reclaim some dead time. Use any extra-uncommitted time to read chapters, reviews, etc. This will help to avoid any conflicts with other commitments.
By using some of these time management tips for online students, people can really become expert time managers. Not only that, but they will probably have more long term success in their online education experience due to creating time for more efficient, effective work and studying.