Five practical tips any student in an online degree program can use now.
Quick. Name the Rolling Stones’ first top-ten hit in the United States. (Hint: They performed the tune during their first guest spot on The Ed Sullivan Show.)
If the song was before your time, (the year was 1964) – or if visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not on your bucket list – the answer is “Time Is On My Side.”
As a working adult, perhaps with children to take care of and family obligations that eat through the hours in your day, it may feel as if time is never on your side.
But as a student, you know that time is one of your most important resources.
Five tips to use now
While entire books have been written on the subject of time management, you probably don’t have the time to read them. So, here are five practical tips you can start using right now that won’t take any time at all to read.
1. Tweak your game plan each semester.
Evaluate your schedule at the start of each term. Priorities change. Family and work obligations change. Look at the big picture before you register for classes – and be realistic about your time. If you have a major project at work that will go into production, or if you’ve committed to organizing a family reunion, that could influence the number of credits you can manage.
2. Create a study calendar.
One of the most valuable time management tools you’ll receive for each class is the course syllabus. It lists all of the assignments that will be due throughout the semester. Review the syllabus. Enter the due dates of each assignment, project, and exam into an online calendar or day planner. Then enter blocks of time for studying and working on each of those deliverables. And the treat each block of time as an engagement that can’t be broken.
3. Make use of “free” minutes.
Minutes in your day don’t roll over. If you don’t use your time wisely, it’s lost. So always keep a textbook or course materials with you and use any downtime for studying. You’ll be surprised at how much time you can pick up waiting for appointments, in the car line at school, or during your lunch break at work.
4. Make to-do lists.
For some of us, to-do lists are part of our DNA. For others, a to-do list is a total anathema. At the end of each study session, create a list of the things you need to accomplish during your next session. Make the items specific by breaking large tasks into small bites, and prioritize the tasks, but don't make the list overly ambitious. Keep it realistic. This way, you’re organized and ready to hit the ground running when you sit down again. Plus, don’t you just love crossing items off a list?
5. Put on blinders when studying.
Figuratively, that is. Wring every bit of potential out of your planned study time. Designate a space for your materials, and then keep this area organized. Create shortcuts on your computer to take you directly to the folders you need. Open up only Web browser windows that you need. And eliminate distractions. That includes your cell phone, television, and social media.
Experts say that time management is a myth. We can’t really manage time because we can’t put more minutes in an hour, or hours in a day.
The good news is that we can make efficient use of the time we do have.
That is in our control.
“Yes, it is.”
Do you have any other quick tips that help you manage your study time? Share in the comments.
Image Credit: Sergey Galyonkin
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