The lack of time in a day is one of the most challenging things about getting a graduate degree. Many online students pursuing both graduate and undergraduate degrees also have jobs and/or families which require time as well. We’ve collected some of the best time management strategies for online students to get the degree completed without losing their minds.
1. Get a calendar and use it!
For those who live their lives centered on technology, Google Calendar is the number one web tool calendar. It is free and can be accessed from any internet connected mobile device or desktop computer, even when internet access is not available. Even if students simply get a paper calendar, it is important to keep track of all the events and deadlines in a busy life.
2. Schedule time for school.
Routinely blocking out time consistently to complete school assignments on your calendar as if you were attending classes is helpful for timely completion of your degree program.
3. Parcel out assignments.
When the assignments for a class are received, breaking them down into smaller chunks and assigning deadlines makes the work less overwhelming and easier to accomplish. Setting a timer and working on a task for 15 minutes at a time with a timed break afterwards can make larger assignments more manageable as well.
4. Set alarms and reminders on a PDA or cell phone.
After marking the scheduled out parts of the assignments in a calendar, setting up timed reminders for those self-imposed deadlines helps keep them in the forefront of tire brains. Cell phone alarms are perfect because they are usually always with the student, so they won’t be overlooked.
5. Make a ‘found moments’ to-do list.
Online students can make the most of their time by creating a list of very short tasks that can be done when they ‘find’ themselves with a short amount of empty time, such as when waiting for an appointment.
6. Load class materials or bookmark websites onto mobile devices.
Being able to take school work or research materials on work trips, vacations, errands, or other times, facilitates the ability to leverage found moments effectively. Many students these days have smart phones or tablets or both, making getting some school tasks done while on the go simple and quick.
7. Make a ‘classroom’ at home.
Even if it is a simple shelf, creating a space where all school items and papers live is helpful because all materials are easy to find and use. No time is wasted trying to find any print materials.
8. Make a ‘classroom’ on the computer.
The old adage “A place for everything and everything in its place” holds true for organizing files on the computer. At the beginning of a course, create a central file location for the course and subsequent files for major projects and assignments. Having the system set up at the beginning of the course will help save time when those deadlines are pressing in.
9. Bookmark the online class website and specific research resource websites.
Students visit many of the same web pages over and over again. Book marking them right away will enable students to eliminate wasted time.
10. Get enough sleep, food, and exercise.
Taking care of health concerns prevents wasted time that results from illness and exhaustion. Online students typically do not have the time to go to the doctor or be laid up in bed for hours or days.
11. Set aside time to relax.
To go the distance with online education, actually finishing a degree, students have to take a little time to rest and recharge so they don’t burn out and give up. Reward successful completion of deadlines with an enjoyable activity or relaxation time.