You will now likely be well under way with studying online. The current situation has seen educators adapt quickly to structuring online courses and providing activities and resources to support their learners.
Without your usual calendar and a lot of distractions at home and you may be thinking about how you can establish an effective online study routine. Keep reading to learn how you can optimise your study routine
Prioritise your effort
You will likely have multiple modules you are completing at the same time and you may find that activities and deadlines are bunching together. Make a list of the activities you have to complete, colour code or star the priorities to help you focus on them.
Given the current situation, don’t worry if you can only focus your efforts on activities that help toward your assignment, your educators will be understanding about the challenges you are facing. When considering your priority activities, ask yourself:
Is this activity assessed and what is the weighting?
Will this activity help me to complete my assessments to a higher standard or more efficiently?
How long will this activity take to complete?
When does it need to be completed by?
Can I fit it into my schedule without compromising other priorities?
When you have assessed your activities you can create a priority list to focus your energy. Allocating timings to each activity will help you see how you can fit them into your schedule.
Be sure to give yourself more time for activities that are assessed and allow for contingency, i.e. try not to plan to complete your assessments just before they are due. You never know what might get in the way, so give yourself some breathing space between the activity and the deadline.
Organise your time
Once you have your priorities set, you can organise your time to be sure that you can meet them. You cannot organise your time effectively without the use of a calendar, whether that is an online or paper version. You are likely to already have access to an online calendar via your Learning Management System, your institutional email system or even your personal email system.
Input all of your immovable deadlines first, such as assignment deadlines or group working meetings and colour code or highlight them so that they stand out. You may wish to colour code them by activities that require you to have done some prerequisite work and those that don’t. A simple red, amber, green flagging system may work for you.
You will quickly get a picture of your busy periods and where activities may be bunching together. Work back from your deadlines to today to identify times where you can work to complete the associated activity. As your calendar fills up, you may find that you need to reprioritise activities based on your available time.
If you are sharing study spaces or equipment with others in your home, it would be a good idea to share your calendar so that you can identify any conflicts and work to resolve them as soon as possible.
Once you have your calendar populated, you might like to focus your daily or weekly activities using a to-do list. Ofcourse you can make a simple paper-based to-do list, but if there is a chance you might lose it, there are online tools which make creating and managing lists easy.
You can use your priority list and your calendar to focus your activities and tick them off when completed.
Support your wellbeing
You will be more effective in achieving your study goals, including daily activities and succeeding in your assessments, if you pay attention to your wellbeing and stay as healthy as possible.
At the time of writing (30/03/20), the government permits one form of exercise away from home per day. The suggested activities of running, walking or cycling can be enjoyed alone or with members of your household. A brisk walk, run or cycle can be an excellent way to stimulate your brain and release feel-good hormones that will help improve your mood and sense of wellbeing.
You may find that doing some exercise before the start of the day helps to set your mind on track, or that having a trip outside to look forward to at the end of the day is a great motivator. Whenever you plan your exercise, make the most of it. try to switch off from your studies entirely and focus on the activity.
Given the current restrictions, it is important to try and find ways that you can support your wellbeing indoors as well as outdoors.
Build wellbeing into your routine to help keep you focused, whether that is wellbeing activities that can be completed in your home, just outside or by going for a short walk, run or cycle in your local area.
Ideas to support wellbeing:
Try reading a book (not a textbook!) for a break from screen time
Try a short yoga, pilates, stretch or meditation exercise
Complete an activity in a puzzle book, colouring book or jigsaw to help exercise your brain in a different way
Do something arty. Take some time to draw, paint or doodle, for a creative outlet
Practice mindfulness to achieve a greater sense of focus when studying or when taking a break from your study.
Some fitness and wellbeing websites and apps have made their services available for free for a limited time.*
Downdogapp.com A popular yoga app, free to students and teachers, for a limited time.
Calm.com A popular app to support better sleep and meditation
Unprecedented events call for supportive, scalable action. Pearson is committed to providing support and continuity to learners and educators around the world, as the whole Higher Education community prepares to move online.
We’re giving free access to our core range of HE and English Language online courseware to support you at this time.