One of the most valuable skills you can have as an online student is effective time management. The better you manage your time, the easier it is to achieve your goals. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, meaning, it’s not about how much time you have, but how well you can manage it. This is especially important for online students. Without the camaraderie of a class to motivate you or having a set time where you need to be in class, effective time management is crucial to helping you stay focused. Below are a few time management tips to help you stay ahead of your work.
The best virtual students know how to set aside time to focus. This includes having a consistent time and workspace, tuning out distractions, and avoiding surfing the internet. Despite the flexibility in being a virtual student, it’s important to have frequent engagement with your classes throughout the week. Provide plenty of time to space out your required readings, assignments, and online discussions.
Consider using a calendar to plan your daily and weekly assignments, highlighting:
- Assignments due, including drafts and final submissions
- Activities related to your classes, such as study group or group project meetings
- Office hours with your teachers or counselor
- School activities such as games or practices
Avoid multitasking, which can actually decrease your productivity. Focus on one assignment at a time and zero in on the specific task at hand, whether that’s studying for an exam, reading a textbook, messaging a teacher, or participating in a virtual class. Arrange your tasks in order of importance, and pay attention to the three or four crucial tasks that require the most effort.
Concentrate on what needs to get done in the present and avoid anything too far-off. If it’s a small assignment that you don’t need to address for several weeks, put it on your calendar to focus on when the deadline is closer.
Set up your virtual workspace
It’s important to work in the optimal setting needed to complete your work from home. Make sure you’re in a comfortable space with the right lighting, sound, and background. For example, some people prefer to work with headphones on, while others prefer silence. Sit in a comfortable chair, and make sure the lighting isn’t too dim. Close out your browser windows, and put your phone away (this is SUPER IMPORTANT). Along with these elements, make sure you have all the required materials at hand. Set up as much as you can ahead of time to stay on task with your schoolwork.
Block out distractions
Make sure to avoid surfing the web excessively. It is too easy to become distracted. Stay focused, and avoid social media tools when you need to concentrate on your work. If you’re struggling to stay focused, then consider the Pomodoro Technique. This technique helps with productivity by arranging how you work to increase efficiency. The tool builds on 25-minute work sessions, optimizing your time to focus on your online studies. The best way to use this method is to:
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and work uninterrupted for the scheduled period.
- Take a five-minute break to grab a drink, use the restroom, or do push ups! ,
- Once you’ve completed a few work sessions, treat yourself to a longer, 15-minute break.
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is essential to rest your body and keep your mind fresh for the next day. Try to get at least eight hours of rest a night. Staying up late to finish work is less productive than studying consistently. Include sleep in your schedule, and I promise it will pay off!