Time Management Tips for Online Students

a person writing down a to do list

Turning to online learning nowadays is more common and popular than ever. There are a lot of reasons why more and more students choose virtual learning if there is such an opportunity, but in the majority of cases it happens due to its affordability and convenience. Surely, you can save a lot of money if you don’t have to go to another state and rent an apartment as well as save time and build a flexible schedule that suits your life. However, there are a few specifics that one should consider before starting online learning. One of these things is the need to manage your time and learn how to deal with procrastination, tight deadlines, and responsibility. Let’s take a look at the best time management tips so that you can ace online studying.

Why Does It Matter?

Online learning is surely different from traditional one. It requires a lot of effort, concentration, and self-discipline due to many factors, one of which would be a different learning environment. When you go to classes, and the majority of your day on campus, it is much easier to stay focused, motivated, and dedicated. While studying from home is often much harder concentration-wise, thus more depending on responsibility and discipline.

Having a study schedule and a daily routine that you stick to can help you a lot. It might even allow you to have more free time, as you spend less time procrastinating, complete your assignments quicker, and keep your productivity high. So, when a lot of things including your productivity depend on your ability to plan your day and manage your time, it’s all about the methods and techniques you apply. That’s why we believe you will find the following tips useful

Set Your Own Deadlines

When you have a deadline for an essay or a report somewhere in the future with two or more weeks ahead, it seems like you have plenty of time, so you might postpone the work. However, when you want to avoid extra stress and make homework less challenging, it’s better not to cram but to complete your homework not only in advance but also gradually in portions.

That is where you might find it useful to create a habit of breaking tasks down and setting deadlines for each step of the work. For example, you can complete an essay in a few days, working on it slowly but effectively – start with an outline and the thesis statement, gather information and analyze it, write the draft, edit, and proofread. By planning each step of the work and spreading them through a period of time, you will achieve a few goals. First of all, it’s easier to achieve better quality if you don’t rush. Second of all, it takes less effort, thus you get less bored and tired of your homework. And last but not least, it actually takes less time, because you procrastinate less when it’s not that long of a task.

Create a Schedule

Scheduling your study sessions and your days, in general, is not as hard as you think. It surely takes some practice to find the best order and balance but it is surely worth the effort. 

If you want to improve your time management skills, you need to learn how to plan your day. Start with the tasks and things that have set time frames, for example, your online classes, your work shifts, club gatherings, etc. This is a good starting point where you can work your way through easily. 

Find the best time of the day for your homework. Consider the time when you feel the most productive – for some people it is the morning hours, while others find the evening time the best time for challenging tasks. Schedule your study sessions, for example, from 5 to 8 p.m. daily, and try to stick to your plan. When you know that you have to finish your studies by a particular hour, it is less tempting to waste your time watching Netflix, or texting. 

Make Time for Studying

Needless to say, you need to keep in mind that online studying is as important as traditional on-campus studying is. Surely, with various household tasks, jobs, and distractions, sometimes you might feel tempted to postpone studying for tomorrow. But tomorrow will be another day when you don’t spend time studying once again. This is how you enter that circle that makes fall behind in your study plan.

Be sure to make time for studying every day. Weekends might be for fun and rest, but there might be exclusions as well when you have an upcoming deadline. Studying should be your priority while you are in college, try not to skip classes or homework.

When you are planning your next week, be sure to include the time for studying in your schedule. Prioritize it and complete your homework tasks first thing in the day, and then continue with other daily tasks. 

Take Breaks

Taking breaks while studying is definitely necessary for everyone. Surely, sometimes you feel energized and ready for a long study session when you don’t want to stop at all. But you still should take breaks even in these cases as studying for long hours is exhausting. 

Taking breaks is good for our focus as we tend to experience a drop in concentration after an hour or so of work. If you don’t give yourself an opportunity to rest and reboot, you lose productivity and experience tiredness, brain fog, etc.

For example, you might try a “Pomodoro technique” to make sure that you balance activities and breaks during your study sessions. Spend your breaks snacking, resting, exercising, and stretching, or just having a quick walk around your room to boost your brain activity for the following tasks.

Final Thoughts

Online studying can be difficult if you don’t have a serious but balanced approach. However, if you know how to plan your time effectively, how to minimize distractions during studying, and how to stay motivated, you can be a very successful learner who makes the most out of your learning program. Online classes have a lot of benefits like flexibility, convenience, and particular freedom, so they might be the future of education.