Online learning is gaining in popularity all over the globe. It is a great way for students of all ages to broaden their education. Approximately one-third of all students now are taking a minimum of one online course, according to recent studies. With improved collaboration, extra flexibility, and access to new perspectives and programs, it is understandable why so many people are enjoying online classes.
If you have actively decided to take an online course or have been thrown into the fire due to your job or school schedule, there are certain things you can do to maximize your experience. Time management is a huge component of your overall success.
Proper Time Management Is Vital For Students
One of the best things you can do for yourself as an online learner is to master your time management skills. When you effectively manage your time, you can achieve your goals and prioritize rest, socializing and work, without feeling overwhelmed. We all have access to the same 24 hours a day. It is not much time we have; it is what we choose to do with it.
Online students are often holding down a job, juggling commitments including sports and recreation and taking care of family members. When you are isolated from a class, it can be tricky to motivate yourself if there are not places and times you need to adhere to. It is important to conquer effective time management skills to remain focused and on task.
Managing your time effectively helps you ramp up production in all areas of your personal and work life as well as your learning. You will have to find a successful system that works for you if you are serious about finishing your online degree.
Here are 7 essential time management ideas to help you master your courses and stay on top of your online schedule.
1. Always Plan Ahead
It can be easy to fall behind when it comes to finishing your work, thanks to your busy schedule and constant distractions. Learning how to make time to focus and complete your goals is a skill that online learners develop. This means having a designated workspace, consistent time management, not letting yourself randomly surf the internet and being capable of tuning out distractions.
Even though you have a flexible schedule online, it is vital to engage frequently with your studies daily or multiple times a week. Give yourself enough space to complete your online discussions, required readings and the work you need to submit.
Utilize a calendar to help you plan out your due dates for each assignment. Organize it with weekly and daily highlights. Include the assignment duet date, when you will complete your first draft and when the final piece needs to be uploaded. Add all your activities into your calendar including on-campus meetings, networking opportunities and study groups. Include your office hours both in-person and virtual with your advisors and professors.
2. Establish Your Virtual Office
You will need to create an optimal virtual location to complete your assignments. Some people prefer to establish a home office and others hit the library or their favorite cafe. If your location has high-speed internet, excellent lighting, and the ambiance you need to succeed, you should be just fine. You may prefer to use headphones while you are studying or are looking for a silent backdrop.
Some people are inspired by surrounding hustle and bustle and others find it completely distracting. Determine what kind of atmosphere you excel in. If chatting folks are going to drive you bonkers, the library might be your best bet.
If you have roommates that are never home, your own place may do the trick. Keep your phone turned off during study time and close additional browsers. If the lighting isn't optimal, consider adding a lamp.
You will also require your textbooks and study materials and access to the software you need. Create your zone in advance so that when it is time to hit the books, you have everything you need.
3. Avoid Multitasking
Did you know that multitasking diminishes your productivity? People think that they accomplish more however, they are simply engaged in multiple things and not giving one task a hundred percent. It is pertinent to learn how to focus on a single assignment at a time.
Learn how to stick to the task you are working on whether you are emailing a teacher, reading your textbook, studying for an exam, or contributing to an online forum. Situate your task list by the order of importance. Start with the tasks that are critical and require the most effort. By tackling those first you will feel accomplished and be less likely to procrastinate.
Consider relying on a project management tool such as Smartsheet or Trello if you do need help with staying focused. These tools are designed to help you keep your tasks organized. If you would enjoy using a more traditional list, check out digital notebooks such as Evernote, ClickUp, or Todoist.
Look at what tasks you need to complete right now and stay away from tasks way in the future. If it is an assignment that isn't due for weeks, simply add it to your calendar so you can concentrate on it when the deadline is nearer.
4. Eliminate Distractions
If you find yourself constantly surfing the web, it will be hard to complete your tasks. Avoid Facebook, news, Twitter, and other gossip channels. Stay off social media when you are committing to study time.
A website blocker may be your best friend if you find yourself procrastinating frequently. Try downloading Switcheroo, KeepMeOut, or Freedom to cut off access from your online browsing. You will find it much easier to complete your daily tasks if you can't surf on command. These tools allow you to be redirected to your favorite sites including the homepage of your school while blocking out other websites.
5. Maintain Balance
You need to establish some life-work balance to be at your best in all areas. If you have additional obligations such as work, socializing, family, etc. you will need to fit these things in around your coursework.
Getting adequate sleep and eating nutritious foods are also essential. You don't want to get run down or burnt out or sick. You need to have the space and time to focus on your personal life and your growth when the time is needed.
Make a schedule that is predictable so that you can create a wholesome routine. Allow your lifestyle needs to be included so that you can devote your total attention to every aspect of your life at a certain time.
If you are going to yoga to relax and unwind, you don't want to be wishing you were cramming for that next paper. If you are constantly late for work and feeling rushed, you will be stressed out and potentially lose your job. Try to get up early enough to prepare a decent breakfast and have some time to prepare for the day.
6. Excellent Sleep Is Essential
Sleep is vital for your health and well-being. This is when your body heals and your mind cleanses itself. Aim to get up to 8 hours a night of restful sleep. You want to avoid all-nighters; this will leave you feeling drained and is a bad habit to start.
Add sleeping and napping into your calendar when you set up your weekly goals. Consider a sound machine if you live near a busy road or have loud roommates. Soothing white noise can help you zone out in no time.
7. Create A Reward System
It’s important to reward yourself after a job well done to avoid burnout. Otherwise, it will be difficult to concentrate on even the simplest tasks.
You can reward yourself by celebrating your accomplishments and treating yourself to something you truly enjoy, whether that’s watching your favorite show on Netflix or going out to a nice dinner and a movie. If you’ve been working on an assignment for several months in a row, then take a week off when you’re finished.
Help avoid burnout by establishing a reward system for yourself. This will give you things to look forward to and make completing tasks more motivating. You can treat yourself to your favorite coffee or go to a movie.
Maybe you want to hit your favorite restaurant for a night of celebration. Some people plan a week off and go camping or enjoy a road trip if they have been working hard for several months and completed their goals.
It doesn't have to be expensive. Something as nice as an Epsom salt bath and your favorite take-out food can be a luxurious reward. Think about what you like and what you could use...do you need a new haircut? Maybe you are running low on your favorite perfume? Perhaps, you have been wanting to spruce up your bathroom with a new shower curtain or invest in some new houseplants?
Be The Boss Of Your Online Education
It is easy and accessible to advance your education and grow your career with the help of online learning. You need to be a good online boss to yourself to maximize this experience. Ensure you have strong time management skills and stay on top of your goals and responsibilities to enjoy the utmost success.
As important as it is to be a good student, finding an online program that fits your needs is also critical to success. When choosing an online degree program, be sure to do your research and understand how the content and structure of the courses align with your own goals and objectives.
If career advancement is your ultimate goal, for example, a program that values collaboration and networking could be a good fit.
It is vital to be a great student to make this work. You will want to secure an online program that suits your needs. Do your research in advance and ask a lot of questions to determine how the course structure and content will align with your objectives and your goals.
If advancing your career is the main goal, pick a program that values networking and collaboration. When you take control of your learning and choose the best program to help meet your goals, you are setting yourself up for success.