Effective time management reduces a student’s stress and can lead to a happier life. However, time management skills that work for in-person classrooms don’t always work online. The following time management strategies can help you be more productive and avoid burnout while learning online.
To learn more, check out the infographic below, created by Pearson Pathways.
Online learning is a popular alternative to in-person classes. Many students prefer the convenience and flexibility of online programs, but like any learner, an online student has to manage their workload and schedule to be successful.
Benefits of good time management
Good time management can help you achieve a healthy school-life balance. By planning and prioritizing your educational goals and personal life, you lower your risk of burnout and ensure that tasks have your full attention. This makes you more productive, leading to a less stressful online learning experience.
Time management tips
There are several ways to manage time efficiently. One way is by setting realistic goals. Having achievable tasks lets you see your progress and build confidence. Another way is maintaining an organized workspace. Removing clutter and distractions makes focusing on your assignments easier. Waking up early is also beneficial. You’ll have extra time to get ready and more time to work before your energy begins to flag. Planning your day lets you schedule both your working time and your free time to make sure you can get everything done and have time to relax.
Once you understand the challenges that impede productivity, you can practice skills that help you manage your time more effectively.
Time management challenges
Activities such as watching television and surfing the web can distract you from work, but the way you work can also challenge your productivity. Multitasking, rather than giving your full attention to a single project, is generally a less efficient way to work, for example.
Procrastinating can also put you behind, but simple steps can help you overcome the anxiety, lack of preparedness, and distractions that can cause procrastination. For example, setting realistic goals can make work less daunting, studying in small groups promotes accountability, and modifying your environment to eliminate distractions can help you concentrate.
Time management skills
Focusing on three aspects of time management — awareness, arrangement, and adaptation — can help you structure a time management strategy. Be aware of your peak performance times; categorize and organize your time, record how long tasks take you, and evaluate how you assess time. Arrange your activities and obligations by their priority and separate “urgent” and “important” tasks; use a calendar app or planner, and divide your goals into smaller goals. Adapt your routine to be as efficient as possible; tie time management to existing habits, work in short bursts, and create a contingency plan.
Ultimately, a time management strategy needs to address your specific needs and environment. Conducting a time management evaluation can help you choose the strategies that will be most effective for you.
Time management evaluation
Evaluating your current time management style can help you identify problems and determine how much structure you need. Recognize what you can improve in your study strategy and adjust accordingly. Ask the people around you to check your schedule and to-do list and make suggestions. Continue to adjust your time management style as needed.
Time management strategies
Even basic time management strategies — creating a designated study area, scheduling study sessions, planning and preparing for the day ahead, and setting personal deadlines — can have a big impact on your productivity. Breaking your tasks into smaller goals can also help you tackle big tasks and stay motivated. If you’re able to work consistently, you’re always making progress.
The shift from in-person classrooms to online classes requires a shift in your time management approach. Good time management helps make learning less stressful and more productive. Understanding how you work and implementing time management tools and skills can help you succeed with your online learning.
- Cleveland Clinic, “Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work”
- Harvard Business School, “5 Time Management Tips for Online Learners”
- Harvard Business Review, “Time Management Is About More Than Life Hacks”
- Higher Education Review, “Time Management Tips for Competitive Exam Preparation”
- Lifehack, “10 Practical Ways to Improve Time Management Skills”
- Northeastern University, “7 Time Management Tips for Online Students”
- Walden University, “10 Time Management Skills to Make Earning Your Online Degree Easier”
- Wired, “How to Work from Home Without Losing Your Mind”
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