It is fair to say that a person taking classes online has a harder task ahead of him or herself. This is because the online student has to be self motivated, even when the content and tasks they are asked to study become monotonous. They are also responsible for ensuring they keep up to date with their work and are not forced to move forward in the same way they would if they attended physical classes. That is why an online student needs some excellent time management skills in order to get him or her through.
Distractions are the online student’s number one enemy
Time management means nothing if you are easily distracted, and the worst part is, that when you are studying, you are psychologically more prone to distractions. The tips listed below may go some way in helping you overcome your own psychological impediment, but it also pays to be aware of just how easily distracted you may become.
This means you should remove as many distractions as possible. You may think that you can work well with the TV or music on. You may even brag to people about how easy you find it to work and watch TV and how hard it is for you to be distracted, but the fact is that you are being distracted on an extremely frequent basis. If you cannot work without music or the TV on, then you have a very serious problem.
Make a plan to do your work that has a start and end time
This is very important, not just on a time management basis, but also on a motivation basis. You will find yourself feeling extremely under motivated if your study time does not have a time limit. In your mind you may think, “Oh, 10pm and I will give up for the night,” but you need to set an immovable start and finish time. This is a very effective method of forcing yourself to work and work hard. It makes it harder for you to slack off or become under motivated.
Give yourself breaks as often as every ten minutes
This may sound extreme, but a wide awake and alert person’s mind may wander as often as every ten minutes. This means that you need to stop studying (physically) and refocus your efforts. You may only need a minute or two, maybe even a trip to the toilet, but you need to take these breaks and maybe even set a quiet and unassuming reminder after every ten minutes. If after ten minutes you find that you were studying or writing away, then wait until the next ten minute alert goes off.
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Schedule breaks as you would do when working in on a paying job
This is important because it stops you from overworking yourself. It may seem like a really insignificant thing because you are probably telling yourself that you can easily work through your breaks,but you psychologically set up a scenario in your mind where work is a non-stop slog. It will then begin to feel more like a longer and harder job than it is, and you will start to dread the days when you have to do it.
Time how long tasks take you so that you can plan better in the future
If you do not know how long a task is supposed to take, then how can you plan to do it? You should time your tasks and keep timing them to get an average score. You can then figure out how long it is going to take you to do each task. For example, if you have an essay of 3000 words, and you already have all of your sources lined up, then you will know how long it will take you, and so you will be able to plan accordingly.
Do research and reading at less productive times too
Things such as checking over your text books and doing extra research are thankless tasks that are not very much fun. You can get a lot of it done by simply doing it at less productive times. Lots of people read on the toilet, so review your text books when you are in there. If you are on a train or bus then you have no excuse as to why you are not revising. A waiting room was created for people to play with study apps on their phones.
Plan times for other important activities too
If you do this, then those supposedly important or time limited tasks will not encroach on your studying time. People who are poor at time management will not have the time to do their studying because other daily and life-related tasks have gotten in the way. Manage these more efficiently and you will find more time to study. Also, remember to plan an amount of contingency time with the assumption that you will be distracted during your study period.