Taking online courses may be convenient and time-flexible, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. Time management can be a challenge for some online students, especially when they are starting out.
You can set yourself up for success as an online student by avoiding these time management pitfalls:
- Keeping Family Out of the Loop: Sit down with your family and let them know what kind of time constraints you will be facing now that you are enrolled in classes. Explain how you will need extra time and space to complete your assignments and to study.
- Not Sticking to a Schedule: Create a study calendar in order to give your schedule structure. Online students who do not designate specific times to study and do assignments are setting themselves up for failure, experts say.
- Waiting Until the Last Minute: Waiting until the last minute to start a project or assignment is a huge time management no-no. Not only can the hurried pace stress you out, but flying through material can mean decreased retention. The same advice goes for emailing professors-- do not wait until 10 PM on the night your assignment is due to ask your professor a question you could have asked earlier.
- Wasting Time Online: The more time you spend on social media, the less time you have to do work and study. One way to maximize time is to only keep necessary tabs open on your computer or phone. There are also plenty of apps and browser plugins that can block distracting sites for you if you are tempted!
- Not Logging Into Class Often Enough: It can be tempting to go days without logging into class, but doing so can help you stay on track. Checking into your class site regularly can make school seem less overwhelming, and can keep you from missing important deadlines or updates. Professors may post announcements or change the reading for the week, so make sure you are aware of what is going on in class.
- Keeping Quiet When Behind: There is a chance that your personal or work life can put you behind in school. When this happens, contact your professors, who are often open to working with students around scheduling issues.
- Failing to Maximize Extra Time: Use little chunks of time to your advantage. It would be prudent to study while waiting at the doctor’s office or waiting to pick up your children from school. Seize the opportunity to get ahead while you have these free moments.
- Working in a Distracting Environment: Try to limit distractions while you work. Finding a quiet, isolated place can help you be efficient while completing your assignments and studying.
- Not Writing Down Due Dates: A key to being successful is keeping track of deadlines. Whether you write deadlines down in an agenda or input them into your phone’s calendar, keeping these dates straight will help you stay on task.
- Not Prioritizing Your School Work: Although it is tempting to spend time with friends or go out to dinner while taking your online courses, it is important to dedicate a solid amount of time to your classes.