One of the biggest challenges online students face is time management. It takes a particular form of self-discipline to be successful as an online learner. Fear not: those skills aren’t out of reach. Here are some tips that can help you get on the right online learning path.
You’ll want to set some goals for both the short and long term. Short term goals might be things like: “I’m going to finish this week’s reading tonight” or “I’m going to make a good start on that end of term project”. Long term goals might be why you’re taking online classes in the first place. Focus on that degree, or the career you’re aiming for.
The best time to get organized is right at the beginning of things, before you’re neck deep in work. Take a look at your syllabus and add your assignments, readings, and testing dates to your calendar. That way you’ll know what’s ahead of you. Even if the term has already started, take a moment to set those events in your schedule.
Single vs Multitasking
Of course, you should work in a way that works best for you. But research has shown that multitasking actually decreases productivity. Focusing on one task at a time tends to work better in the long run. Try organizing them in order of importance and then tackling them one at a time.
Make Your Time and Space
Even though online learning means you can study anywhere, it’s recommended that you set up a designated workspace for your studying. This is especially good to have if you share your living space with family or roommates. And it doesn’t matter if that space is inside or outside the home: just designating the space reinforces your study rituals. Best of all, you can tailor-make it to however you study best.
You’ll also want to set aside some specific time for studying. Even if your schedule every day is different, figure out when you can cut out other responsibilities to focus in, even if it’s only for a half hour at a time.
Get Rid of Distractions
Working on your computer or phone means it’s just as easy to browse Instagram as it is to do your assigned reading. While we can’t pretend homework will always win out over cat videos, it’s good to set up some non-distracted internet time to work. One recommended method is to set a timer for 25 minutes. Work only on schoolwork during that time, then take a five minute break away from it. After you complete four 25 minute sessions, take a longer break. Find a pattern that works for you.
Don’t Forget Treats
Make your reward system mandatory. Remember: you’re working to establish a pattern of self-discipline. That doesn't just mean using the stick to beat good habits into you. It also means reward yourself with the carrot when you get the job done. You decide what makes sense for you: your favorite TV show, a meal out, a walk in the park, whatever it takes.
Have Questions of Your Own? Want to Learn More?
Online learning provides so many benefits to the eager learner there’s no reason not to pursue it. Learn more about GLCC’s online programs or Get in touch with us today to find the right program for you.