Time management tips for effective & successful online study

By Yvette McKenzie | 12 July 2017

How are your time management skills? Are you a chronic procrastinator, leaving everything to the last minute or do you sail through your tasks easily? The good news is that effective time management skills can be learned. The key to successful learning online is being in control, being organised, and staying one step ahead.

Effective time management tips

It’s easier than it sounds when you know how to manage your time effectively. We have some invaluable techniques to make the most of your time and get the most from your course. Introduce these to your study schedule and you'll find that learning; whether online or on campus, has never been so easy. Here's how to make the most of the time you have for online study

time management concept

Know what to expect

Before you start any course, find out what’s involved. Look through the syllabus or course outline, take a good look at the reading list, and familiarise yourself with what’s expected of you – and when.

Create a study space

If you don’t have the luxury of a study, create a dedicated space for study, even if it’s a table under the stairs. You’re less likely to be distracted and more likely to manage time better once you’ve staked out your study territory.

Make friends with your calendar

Effective time-management means never being taken by surprise or finding yourself up against a deadline with just a day to go. Write down key deadlines somewhere you’ll see them. This can be a calendar on the wall, an electronic diary, whatever works for you, though nothing beats a wall calendar next to the desk for an at-a-glance timetable.

desk calendar

Micro-managing time

Create your own milestones or stepping stones with self-imposed mini-deadlines. These will help you to pace your work and meet your deadline with ease.

A module could look like this:

  • Finish reading set book at the end of week 1.
  • Draft essay by end of week 2.
  • Submit final draft in week 3.

Treat self-imposed deadlines in the same way as course deadlines, and it’ll soon become a habit.

Say goodbye to procrastination

Stolen time always has to be paid back, usually all at once, often in a frantic scramble to get the work done in time. When students are working against the clock they rarely produce their best work. It’s an old saying, but it still holds true: don’t put off till tomorrow what you need to do today.

We’re only human, though. Some people are very good at coming up with displacement activities. The good news is that most displacement activities are the result of creative thinking, so <b>only indulge in a displacement activity if it feeds into your studies. If it doesn’t, don’t do it.

no distractions concept

Setting your own pace

Remember Goldilocks? Too little time at the desk will put you behind; too much study time without a break will sap your energy. So, what’s just right? It varies from student to student, but most find that stepping away from the desk every half hour or so sets a good working rhythm, and recharges the brain.

Reach out

Sooner or later, you’re going to need the support of friends, family and colleagues to help out so that you can manage your time. Reach out for help when you need to - with housework, the children, and at work. Don’t feel guilty when you do. If you can’t find the support you need for free, think about paying someone to help out with babysitting or housework.

Online study gives you flexibility, so use your time wisely!

Yes, there really are rewards. Once you’ve established your priorities, lined up your deadlines, and figured out your working pace, you’re managing your time effectively. You’ll work better, sleep better, and learn better. You’ll enjoy it too. Welcome to the learning zone.

woman studying at cafe

Time-management is the key to online learning. It may seem a challenge at first, but a few simple techniques put you in control. Knowing what to expect from the outset is the first step to an orderly and rewarding course of online study. Once you’ve mastered time-management, self-discipline and great results follow as night follows day.

Need a bit more help with your online course?

If you're constantly struggling with how to get through your online course, the team from Upskilled's Student Support can help. They can direct you to resources and assist in other ways to get you back on track. Contact Student Support here

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