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Guide to Mastering Time Management for Online Learners

When it comes to pursuing online education, time management is everything. Balancing work, family, and a personal life with online classes can be a challenge, but thinking ahead with these time management tips for online students can help.

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead may be the most important tip that online students can take into account. Preparing for the upcoming semester can start well before the first day of class. Reading through the syllabus and taking note of major assignments, exams, and due dates will help prioritize tasks. Additionally, students should plan to take advantage of virtual or in-person office hours with professors, and research potential study group meet-ups or career networking events nearby. Knowing this information and planning in advance can help prevent last-minute cramming or schedule struggles.

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Make a Schedule and Stick to It

One of the biggest challenges that online students face is the lack of routine schedules. It can be tempting to procrastinate or take advantage of the flexibility that comes with being an asynchronous online student, but that can easily backfire. Instead, designate specific times every day to work on assignments or study for each course in the degree program. Making a schedule isn't enough; it's equally important to stick to it, as staying consistent can combat procrastination.

Create a Study Space

Another challenge that online learning students face is not having a designated classroom or library space in which to study. To fix this, create a designated home study space that is only used for school-related work. This way, it will be easy to get into a school-oriented mindset any time the space is in use. Try to keep smartphones and televisions out of the room to avoid distractions!

Resist the Temptation to Multitask

At first, it may seem that multitasking accomplishes twice as much as taking one task at a time. However, multiple studies from the American Psychological Association have found that multitasking can actually decrease productivity, especially for complex tasks like studying. On top of that, a study from the University of London even found that multitasking could lower IQ. To maximize productivity, create to-do lists and take each task one by one.

Stay Well Rested

Many online courses allow for a very flexible schedule and due to this, it can be tempting to work well into the night to get everything done. Although this may work at first, it can quickly come back to bite enterprising students. A study from Harvard University found that sleep plays an important role in memory formation during the learning process. That means it is important to get a full night's sleep to be completely productive, and it's ideal to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day.

Taking online courses offers a wide host of advantages, but it also requires planning and great time management skills. At the Tulane School of Professional Advancement, students may choose to combine both online and on-campus learning, or complete one of our master's degree programs available entirely online. Learn more about the admissions process today.


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