Although time management is vital for all college students, it is even more so for those studying online. Since most online students have full-time jobs and families to care for, time is at a premium. In addition, many online degree programs provide very little structure and personalized support, creating a tremendous need for students to be organized and responsible. If you are studying through an online college or university, use these time management basics to keep yourself on track and to keep your stress at a minimum:
- Keep an organized study area – When you find time to study or do homework, you don’t want to waste even one valuable second of it searching for the materials you need. Designate a space within your home as a study area and keep all of your books, materials, and projects well-organized and easy to access. Make sure you stock notepads, highlighters, printer ink, flash drives, pencils, pens, and other materials at all times. Do not let any other aspect of your life invade your study area.
- Make time – Regardless of how many commitments you have, schedule time to study regularly. If you have small children, this time will ideally be after they have gone to bed. Once you have figured out when it is easiest for you to study, set up a regular schedule and stick to it, no matter what else is vying for your attention.
- Ban distractions – During your scheduled study time, eliminate all distractions. Do not access the Internet for anything other than schoolwork. Do not watch TV. Turn off your cell phone. If there are other activities going on in your home when you are studying, wear a pair of noise-blocking headphones during your scheduled study hours. This will allow you to get more done with fewer distractions so you can get back to the rest of your life.
- Keep a calendar – Buy a planner and a dry-erase wall calendar. Make not of any important due dates or exams on both and keep the planner with you everywhere you go. Arrange your school tasks on a to-do list in order of importance. This will help you to see what needs to be done at a glance and will make sure you give top priority to assignments that are due first.
Studying online allows a great deal of flexibility and freedom…too much freedom for some students. To make sure you are getting the most work done with the least amount of time and effort, make these time management basics part of your daily lifestyle. Soon, you will have the degree you want without feeling like you gave up your whole life to earn it.