Online education is one of the best new ways to learn out there. Never before has it been so easy to get a degree and further your career. One of the greatest things about online learning is that it allows you to fit education into your schedule and learn at your own pace. But one issue that many people encounter is that they actually experience a downturn in their overall productivity due to procrastination. Whether it’s distractions from the web or simple ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’, there are a lot of things to avoid when you’re an online student.
Luckily, there are some tips you can utilize to avoid the dreaded time sink that will stand in the way of real progress in your education. Here are the ten best.
- Never Forget the Syllabus – Most online programs include a syllabus and often it’s easy to fall behind by simply forgetting about it. Print it out, paste it where you can see it, and never forget it.
- Anticipate the Future – If you don’t have a firm syllabus, you can still learn how to anticipate what is on the horizon. If your teacher seems to constantly follow chapter by chapter lesson plans, there’s a good bet you’ll know what’s coming on the horizon and can plan for it.
- Get Ahead – If you’ve got the syllabus or know that an assignment is due in a week, why not go ahead and get ahead of the curve? Applying yourself early could give you more downtime in the future, so don’t hesitate to take some time and get ahead of the schedule so you’re not rushing.
- Get Organized – Plan out your time with a planner, either a physical one or a digital one like Google Calendar. That way you can set your own schedule.
- Stick With the Schedule – This is so important it gets its own place on the list. If you take the time to plan out a schedule, take the initiative to stick with it. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of ignoring it or you’ll never get ahead.
- Start! – That first step is always the hardest. If you’re suffering from a severe case of demotivation, usually just getting started on the project is enough to actually get you down the path to success.
- Identify your Distractions – Facebook, Twitter, Google News, the Celebrity Gossip columns, online games – no matter what it is that is actually keeping you distracted from your progress, identify it. There are actually apps available that will monitor your computer use for the day and give you a detailed report of where you’re spending your time.
- Eliminate Them – There’s a time for fun and a time for progress on your studies. The two can’t mingle without trouble arising. Once you know what is distracting you and keeping you from getting going, you need to eliminate it. If you have to you can even use apps to block certain programs for a set number of minutes, or modify your parental controls so that Facebook and other pages are actually denied until you’re done with your goals.
- Set Goals, Set Rewards – Give yourself a realistic goal and set a reward. For example, reward an hour of studying with ten minutes on Facebook or three hours of studying with an hour of your favorite game. When you feel like you’re getting a reward it’s easier to get going and stay going.
- Be Ready for Anything – There’s always a chance that something will happen to waylay your plans. Don’t assume that you can ‘just put it off for an hour’ when you never know what will happen in an hour’s time. Make the most of the time you have so that unexpected problems don’t ruin your study time.