Time Management Tips for Online Learners

Time Management Tips for Online Learners

Online learners face some challenges when it comes to dividing their time between school, work, family and other commitments. With only 168 hours in the week and at least 40 of those spent at work, it’s easy to put off studying for other important things like, well, sleep.

You don’t have to struggle to stay on top of your schoolwork. Just follow these time management tips from some of our students, and you’ll be holding that degree in no time.

Set a schedule.

With so many things to pencil in on your calendar, make sure not to overcommit yourself. Start by keeping a balanced class load. Then, set aside time each week for schoolwork.

“Create structure,” said Kimmy Potter. “Divide your homework up into days. Do the easy stuff first, then the hard stuff, but don’t procrastinate. Also make sure to schedule time for self-care—eat healthy and exercise.”

Potter said her own schedule looks like this: Work out, eat, schoolwork, run, eat, shower, me time, schoolwork. If you need help setting a schedule, ask your advisor.

Manage distractions.

We’ve all fallen victim to surfing the web when we should be doing something constructive. Unfortunately, scrolling through Instagram isn’t going to help you get a degree. Having a dedicated study place with no TV, no interruptions and no clutter can help eliminate unnecessary distractions. If you need to leave your house to concentrate, then do it.

“Find a place that’s conducive to study,” said Stephen Cue. “My wife and I are both students, and we failed at studying at home with the kids around. We were more productive studying on campus.”

Work ahead.

"Everything we are learning is going to somehow benefit us in the future, so don’t be afraid of the challenges. Embrace them.”

This was by far the biggest tip offered by our students. When you work ahead, you create flexibility and free time down the line. If you’ve got a big project due, divide it into sections. Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute.

“When working on assignments, always remember that If you can work on and complete them early, then you should do so,” said Erik Valentine. “A number of things can happen in your life during an eight-week time frame, so knocking stuff out early will always be to your advantage.”

Stephanie Odparlik agrees.

“Always plan to finish a few days early in case of a power or internet outage,” suggested Odparlik. “Sometimes early submissions not only help with class discussions, but they also allow you to prompt classmates to submit their work so you can send your replies.”

Be creative.

Look for opportunities to squeeze study time and homework into other activities. Does your child play sports? Squeeze in a few pages of reading during soccer practice. Do you have school-aged children? Knock out part of an assignment while your kids are doing their homework.

Creativity can also extend into the classroom.

“Don’t be afraid to see things differently, or have a unique perspective,” said Jennifer Porter. “Our schoolwork is supposed to enrich our business, personal and world perspective. I’m trying to do that very thing, despite tripping and stumbling along the way. Everything we are learning is going to somehow benefit us in the future, so don’t be afraid of the challenges. Embrace them.”

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Tami Althoff

Tami Althoff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is a reporter with more than 20 years’ experience working for newspapers, including The Oklahoman. She has covered everything from breaking news to local music and art. She loves sports, especially OU football and basketball games, where she often embarrasses her children by yelling too loudly.