It takes more than an Internet connection and a computer to succeed in online learning. Specific skills are needed to accomplish your goals, and time management is just one of them. And for online learners, effective time management is undoubtedly an important skill to have.
But it’s a tough skill to crack. It takes focus, and well, time, to learn how to manage your priorities. For college students, time management is even more challenging. Balancing work, academics, and other life responsibilities is no easy task. If you’re new to the online learning environment, we’ve compiled a few strategies to help you avoid time wasters that can derail your educational progress.
- Identify Roadblocks: Roadblocks include external and internal distractors such as noise and environmental conditions as well as thoughts, emotions, and physical feelings that can impede academic success. It’s important to find the culprits and get them under control. For example, if your home is chaotic and full of distraction, perhaps studying at the local library is a better option…or if negative thoughts about school or otherwise intrude and you find yourself discouraged, find ways to de-stress and unwind that will keep you engaged and on track.
- Prioritize Your Schoolwork: At the start of each semester or quarter, why not spend some time organizing your responsibilities. Establish a study plan for each class you’re taking, make note of all quizzes and tests in your planner or calendar, and mark out time you’ll need to write papers and finish group projects.
- Create To-Do Lists: Each morning or at the end of your day, create a to-do list that includes your priorities and calendar items. Your list can include non-school related activities such as laundry, pet care, and dinner plans. Basically, a to-do list allows you to think about one issue at a time and makes it easier to concentrate on key tasks. You can even set reminders on your smartphone if sticky notes tend to get lost in your bag or around the house.
- Keep Those Long-Term Goals in Mind: Always remind yourself why you are pursuing your college degree. Are you studying to become a doctor, an accountant, a construction manager, or a social worker? Your long-term goal is a goal for a reason so when you find yourself getting the urge to surf the net or party with friends, remind yourself that your future successes depend largely on your performance in college.
- Ask for Help: Are you still struggling to manage your time wisely? Don’t be discouraged. Ask for help. Reach out to your classmates and teachers for advice on how to make better use of your time. Chances are your peers are also having difficulties. By opening up and asking for help, you open up a line of communication that helps keep you accountable and on top of meeting your goals. Perhaps connect with another online learner, and together, you can help each other stay motivated!