Mastering time management skills is essential for everyone. They’re especially crucial for students, be it offline or online students. While traditional students are required to follow a schedule their school sets, this isn’t the case with online learning.
The creation of a learning schedule is mostly in the students’ hands. As such, online students can find themselves struggling with managing their time. With that being said, we decided to make a list of some of the most useful time management tips for online students.
Create a Balance
While it’s certainly important to fully commit to school regardless of whether you’re learning online or offline, it’s equally important to create a balance between learning and other obligations. Creating a balance will not only help you prioritize your school, job, and personal life when it’s needed, but it’s also a great way to avoid burning out. A schedule could be your best solution. In that case, you would have time to dedicate your full attention to each aspect of your life.
Plan in Advance
Creating a schedule isn’t a bad idea, after all. A dynamic life combined with the daily technological distractions could get in the way of you having the chance to really focus on your school workload. Actually, having a calendar and filling it with school activities you’re going to do during the week could help you make the most of the time you have and, in certain instances, even spare some time.
Everything that could make or break your study session should be part of the planning. That’s why you should also include the workspace where you will spend hours studying.
We like to believe that we are good at doing multiple things at once. Because many of us do numerous different things at the same time daily. Even you (the person reading this article) might be doing several things at the moment. Besides reading this article, you might be listening to music, checking your email, or anything else. However, science says that multitasking isn’t as good as we are led to believe. Actually, it’s nothing more than a myth. It could actually decrease your productivity.
With this in mind, you should try to avoid this activity, however tempting it might be. Even if you have many tasks that need to be finished within the day, try to arrange them from the most urgent to the least. Another way would be to list the tasks that require the most effort to the one that doesn’t require that much attention.
Ah, procrastination—the eternal enemy of productivity. The boat that sends you to the ‘you can do it later’ island. We’ve all been there, started doing something, but one little crazy idea comes to mind to take a short, deserved break, so we leave what we had in hand. The minutes turn into hours, the hours into days. The next thing we know, a week has gone by, and we didn’t cross one thing out of the list we made a week ago.
This can easily be one of the most common mistakes online students make. But what you’re doing is called self-sabotage because you’re postponing tasks and then leaving yourself a short amount of time to do what you actually needed quite a lot of time to finish. If you let yourself just half an hour to finish an assignment that otherwise would have taken up to 5 hours, then the results won’t be satisfying. It would also be helpful to know on what tasks you should focus your attention more so that you can measure the time you need appropriately.
Establish Your Virtual Office
Choosing a space where you’ll be staying in for hours is essential for your online education success. Where you choose to learn depends on the type of learner that you are. Some prefer a space where other people don’t have access to, some like to study in coffee shops with other people talking in the background. The important thing is that you have an internet connection, the chair you sit in is comfortable, there is enough light, your distractions are blocked out, and the textbooks and notebooks are there with you.
Usually, all assignments have a deadline of their own. But you can always create your own deadline that can help you track your progress. If your project is due the 2nd week of November, you can create mini-deadlines for every step of the deadline. If it’s an essay, you choose a date on which you think you can finish the research, one for the outline, another for the writing part, and another for the editing and proofreading part.
Limit the Distractions
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We know this might sound quite impossible as your learning takes place on a technological device. However, you can do it if you learn to battle your temptation to open search engines and search for anything not related to what you’re learning. It isn’t necessarily true that you need to get out of the grid for hours on end. Start small. Set a timer for half an hour and make sure that those 30 minutes you don’t look at your phone, don’t search anything on Google, and focus only on your assignment. After a session of 20 minutes, you can take five.
Ask Your Peers for Support
Helen Keller once said, ‘alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.’ This is not a surprise at all. We need each other in every aspect of our lives, even in online learning environments. That’s why you shouldn’t feel bad when you don’t know something and can’t find the answer to it. Instead of spending more precious time on it, you could always turn to your fellow classmates and get answers from them.
Online students are considered independent learners, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t collaborate with other students from time to time and help each other out.
Sometimes we tend to be very hard on ourselves by focusing only on the things that need to be done. While in fact, you should never forget to look back from time to time and appreciate what you have accomplished.
How you reward yourself is totally up to you. The important thing is that the activity you choose brings you joy, relaxes you, and fills up your batteries. For some, it could be a night out; whereas, for some, it could be a night in with Netflix. It could also be any activity you thought of doing but were too busy at the time.
Students are always on the lookout for tips and tricks to make the most out of their time. Having good time management skills can significantly increase your productivity and decrease the stress that you, as a student, have. Why don’t you try to put those tips to test and witness for yourself whether they work or don’t? In each case, we would be happy to hear from you. Until then, happy online learning.