Succeeding in an online learning environment is all about preparation. Learning online and working remotely presents both benefits and challenges. Even though learning online is a flexible option and commute times may be significantly reduced, inconsistent work practices can impact overall productivity. Making the shift to learning online can be enhanced by setting up a clearly defined work zone, creating a clear morning routine and setting daily intentions.
Create a daily and weekly study planner, and make sure you know when your virtual classes are scheduled and when assessments are due.
Here are some great tips to help you manage your time effectively:
- Pace yourself. Allow time for things to go wrong. Remember there are lots of things out of your control. What if you or someone close to you gets ill? What if your car breaks down? When things are going well and you are feeling good, then work a little bit harder, add in another “shift”, step up the pace a little. This will allow you to step off the pace and drop a shift or two when things are not going so well - you will have some time in reserve to absorb something unexpected.
- Manage distractions. Distractions are a productivity zapper! Before you know it, you’re off task, off schedule and getting behind. You then start scrambling to catch up, taking time away from your wellbeing and leading to increased stress. Distractions can be anything - email, social media, friends, pets, colleagues, hunger! Let people know when your breaks are scheduled and when you will be responding to social media and email. Eat regularly and schedule regular time for your pets so that they too know what to expect!
- Stay motivated. Procrastination and lack of motivation are very much related. If you lack the drive to get started and stay on track, you will find it increasingly difficult as things begin to build and become overwhelming.
- Focus on one task at a time. Research shows that multitasking is not effective. Try to focus on one task at a time and complete it. Break tasks into mini-tasks if you find it difficult to stick on one topic for very long. While on task don’t be checking your emails or social media at the same time. Schedule separate times for these, perhaps a few times a day, so you’re not tempted to look at them while you’re on another task.
- Set personal goals. Know what your values and goals are. This helps motivate you to strive for success. If you don’t know why you are doing something there is no drive to do it! This is when procrastination and lack of motivation can come into play.
Good time management makes life easier and more enjoyable. If competing priorities are causing you distress, you are falling further and further behind in study, work or what needs to be done at home, then seek help.