Online classes offer tremendous flexibility to complete coursework from anywhere. Since students do not have to commute to a physical location on a regular schedule, access to educational opportunities is expanded. This flexibility is especially advantageous to those that work over 40+ hours and have significant family responsibilities such as taking care of children or aging parents. Time management becomes even more important for students balancing multiple priorities. We know these challenges are real, so we have gathered some of our best time management tips below. Here are five tips that you can use to help you create strong time management skills.
Online learners are often eager to get their school work done quickly and well. These are great qualities but can sometimes lead online students to set a pace that is unsustainable. It is easy to expect yourself to perform at high, constant levels of activity throughout the day. Personal life responsibilities will not disappear once you start your online courses. It can be discouraging to not hit your goals so it is important to set attainable goals that reflect the reality of a life with multiple priorities. Successful students often break their semester and term goals into smaller sub-goals that are easier to achieve in shorter spans. Checking these sub-goals off of your to-do list can give you great satisfaction and keep your motivation high. Don't be afraid to modify your goals as you can more knowledge about what each online class will require. You should also try to keep your goals flexible for changing demands in your personal or work schedule.
Online college students frequently communicate their acceptance to their chosen online degree program. However, few students continue to communicate their needs with their workplace and loved ones as they continue throughout the program. It is to your advantage to share your school responsibilities with your 'stakeholders'. This helps you set appropriate boundaries when you need to knock out your school assignments. You may be surprised that it also allows others to volunteer ways to help you towards your goal. Employers that will benefit from your new education may be able to give you dedicated time or flexibility to complete your assignments. Speaking to your family and sharing your needs will be critical when trying to find a balance between work/family life and college classes. Asking family members to limit interruptions when you are trying to get work done is a good starting point to build these boundaries. Communicating your needs allows your support team to maximize the support they give you and can help you accomplish your goals with less stress!
Technology today is specifically designed to be as attention-grabbing as possible. In a study conducted by the University of London, the distraction caused by incoming notifications lowers a person’s functional IQ by 10 points. This is equal to the same IQ loss you would experience if you had not slept at all the night before. Therefore, it is important to learn ways to cut yourself off from all but the technological outlets needed to complete your assignments. Many smartphones now have the capability to silence notifications for set amounts of time. Try silencing your notifications for a set amount of time and then giving yourself a five-minute break to check items. This break can also be a great reward for accomplishing one of your study goals. Additionally, many mobile phone applications keep track of how much time you spend doing various distracting activities, and some of them can even block app usage for a specific amount of time. This will help put into perspective how much time you spend using these apps and can motivate you to focus on the work that needs to be done.
Creating habits is essential to finding the balance of all the priorities in your life. One habit that could be particularly useful is completing school tasks at specific times throughout the week. Using dedicated blocks of time can be very beneficial when tackling repetitive tasks or breaking up a large project into smaller, less daunting portions of work. Using this method will make it easier to keep track of the progress you are making, and it can help you determine where you might need to focus your efforts. With enough time and proper communication, those in your immediate circle should pick up on your new habits and give you the space you need to be productive.
You want to do well on your assignments and a natural by-product of this pursuit is stress. The research on the negative effects of stress is vast. It may seem counterintuitive but finding valuable time to rest and recharge can be a valuable time management strategy. Finding the appropriate way to recharge that is right for you can greatly increase the effectiveness of your study time and class time. Your path to less stress might be meditation, time with family, watching a favorite streaming show, or another social interaction. Always be sure to set aside some time every day to focus on yourself and unwind. Spending just 5 minutes a day to practice self-care can help keep stress at bay.
Attending an online school can be difficult, but the challenge is worth the payoff. Finding the middle ground between completing school work and taking care of your affairs will aid you in getting to graduation. LSU Online is ready to assist you in your education journey. With dedicated instructors, Enrollment Coaches, and Student Success Coaches, you will have the tools you need to succeed.
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