Time is a precious resource, and online courses save it. They help you attain college credit while juggling the many requirements of daily life, but it’s easy to let your responsibilities slip when left to your own devices.
There’s no need to fear - read on to learn the best time management tips for college students so that you can navigate your online course with ease!
Keep Track of Deadlines
At the beginning of your course, you’ll probably be supplied with a class syllabus that lists all your assignments, major projects, quizzes, and tests. It’s easy to lose track of what’s due when, so noting this information is important to keep yourself prepared.
You should use a calendar system that works for you and not against you. Do you find yourself losing paper calendars and agendas, or feel that writing in them is a chore? Finding a calendar app on your mobile device might be better.
Another benefit of mobile apps is the ability to create a custom alert when something is due. Instead of feeling the need to check your calendar over and over again, you can program your calendar system to notify you a week, a day, and a few hours before an assignment or project is due.
Create a Schedule
After you’ve noted all the important due dates during the class, you want to make sure you have time to sit down and work on them. This is easier to do when you plan your schedule.
Just as if you were traveling to a physical class, block out a specific amount of time each day that allows you to work on your assignments without any distractions. Depending on your work schedule and other responsibilities this might vary from day to day, but as long as you have some time planned ahead of time you’re far more likely to stick to it.
Think about the maximum amount of time you’ll need to study and work on your assignments. This can be anywhere from two hours to 30 minutes or small blocks of time in the morning and evening. It all depends on your current schedule and how much time you think you’ll need.
Create a Study Space
You have your deadlines noted and a manageable schedule that allows you time to study and work on assignments. The next step is to make sure your environment is comfortable and free of distractions. Once you establish a routine, slipping into a school-oriented mindset will be easier in this designated space.
This can be a certain quiet spot in your home or your favorite nook in a coffee shop or library. Maybe you’ll find you need some quiet background noise in order to keep your mind focused, complete silence, or your favorite music playing. Take this all into account when finding your study space.
Silence Your Phone
Brands and social media platforms are becoming more and more talented at pulling your attention towards what they want you to see. This means that it’s easy to become distracted if you have your phone next to you while you’re trying to study through texts, push notifications, calls, and alerts.
You’re doing yourself a disservice if you let your phone continue to pull your attention away from your work. Silence it and place it in your bag or on the opposite side of the room. If you’re afraid of missing an emergency call, another option is to flip it over so you don’t see the screen and set it to vibrate.
Just as scheduling blocks of time out of your day to study and work on assignments is important, so is taking breaks! Regular breaks actually boost your productivity because they help your mind stay alert and fresh.
Without regular breaks, it will be harder to focus, you’ll feel fatigued, and it can lead to damaged eyes and headaches if you’re staring at a computer monitor. So how many breaks should you take, and for how long?
Based on numerous studies, the best time for taking a break is between 30 minutes and 90 minutes. How often you choose to take a break depends on how long you determine you can stay focused and when you feel your attention flagging.
This also depends on the type of activity you’re doing. For instance, you may need more breaks for writing versus reading.
It’s recommended to take a 5 to 15-minute break every hour, and a longer break of about 30 minutes every 2 to 4 hours. There are also scheduling techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique, you can learn if you want more exact times.
When you have the ability to set your own schedule, it’s just as easy to work too much instead of too little. After a long day, make sure you have something to look forward to in order to avoid burnout.
This can be something as simple as a treat from a local bakery, a luxurious bath, or going to see a movie with family or friends. Just as long as you’re recognizing that you’re rewarding yourself for a job well done, you’ll be motivated to conquer each day as it comes.
Time Management Tips for College Students: A Successful Experience
Hopefully, these time management tips for college students have taken some of the stress away from online courses. If you know what to expect, prepare in advance, choose locations that don’t distract you and remember to take frequent breaks, completing your online course will be a breeze.
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