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Getting a quality education is vital for everyone, and there are some amazing opportunities with endless benefits for those interested in learning online. Whether students get their entire degree online, take occasional online courses, complete homework online, do reading and writing assignments online, or something similar, the benefits are simply endless. Students who are online learners have many advantages over their peers as they enter college, training programs, and the work force, and they have a number of important skills right out of high school that many others don’t have. One of those skills is time management. It’s absolutely vital for adults to be able to manage their time well, whether they work for a large corporation, have a part-time retail job, or are a stay-at-home parent. While most students who participate in online learning activities are excellent at time management, they didn’t get that way on accident. Being intentional and wise about how you spend your time is a huge part of how young students learn good time management, and that’s what we want to discuss here. We’ve compiled some of our best time management tips to help online learners thrive and succeed both now and in the future, no matter how much of their education is completed online.
Schedule Time for School and Stick with It
Planning ahead is key, and making a schedule is a huge part of that. Students should schedule a specific time each day to do their schoolwork and they should stick with it. That means you arrange your other plans around your school schedule and your homework time. Some students may need to alter their schedules each week or each month, but no matter how frequently you change your schedule, the important thing is that you stick to the time set aside for schoolwork.
Avoid or Minimize Distractions
This may be the most challenging part of time management for anyone, no matter how young or old. The internet is especially full of distractions, from social media to blog posts to funny videos and more. When a student is working on schoolwork, he or she should open only the programs and websites that are necessary for completion of their online assignments. This is going to take a lot of self-control, but it’s incredibly important for good time management. There’s nothing quite as upsetting as wasting time online just to discover you’ve lost an entire hour or quality work time doing basically nothing, so students should do their best to keep that in mind. Aside from distractions on the internet, students should avoid or minimize other distractions as well. This may mean turning off the TV or music, putting their phones in another room, and working in a place where there are no distractions.
Just as with all students, online learners should do their best to avoid cramming before tests and should instead study consistently. This will help them make the most of their study time and retain the most information possible. Part of sticking to this time management tip is sticking to the schedule that the students originally set for themselves. They should be sure to include not just completion of physical assignments, but also study and review time.
Use a Variety of Study Strategies
Especially if you have a less common learning style, it’s important to utilize a variety of study strategies to make sure you’re understanding and retaining what you’re learning. Many traditional and online schools will do their best to help students engage all of their senses as they learn, but sometimes students will be responsible for differentiating some of their own learning. Not only should students learn about the different styles of learning and try to determine their personal learning type, but they should explore different ways to engage with the material they’re learning so as to touch on each of their senses and improve retention.
Set Deadlines for Yourself
Just as scheduling is important for improving time management skills, setting deadlines is a vital part of staying on top of your schedule. This may mean completing particular assignments early to spread out the workload more evenly, it may be about getting ahead on work so that you have ample time to review and study the material before an exam, or it might mean mastering specific concepts by certain dates so that you know you’ll be prepared come test time. Setting deadlines and sticking to them will help in a huge way when it comes to mastering the other time management tips and staying on top of your schoolwork all year long.
Ask for Help Sooner Rather Than Later
If you have a question or are really struggling with a particular concept, go ahead and get in touch with your teacher as quickly as possible. It’s better to have to tell them that you’ve figured it out already than to have to play catch up and try to relearn concepts at the last minute. Whether you are attending an online school or simply completing an online assignment, most teachers provide their students with ways to get in touch with them outside of school so that they don’t have to wait until a specific class time to get the questions answered. It is not a good use of time to spend going over the same confusing information over and over when you don’t understand it, so just get in touch with a teacher as soon as you have a question and get your confusion cleared up sooner rather than later so you can make the most of your study and homework time.
Plan to Sleep
This may seem simple or even unimportant, but getting enough sleep is incredibly important to your ability to manage your time and use it well. School-aged children between the ages of 6 and 13 years of age need 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night, while teenagers need between 8 and 10 hours each night. Figure out how much sleep you need and work that time into your schedule. Set a bedtime and wakeup time for each day of the week and stick to it. Make the most of your time up until bedtime, and get to work right away in the morning so that you manage your time well each day. But be sure to prioritize your sleep and don’t neglect it because it can have a huge impact on your productivity and ability to remember information if you don’t get enough.
Depending on how frequently you work on school assignments and how much work you have to do during each schoolwork session, you may need more incentives to keep yourself focused and motivated. You should give yourself a 5- to 10-minute stretch break every hour to keep yourself healthy and maintain your focus. But you can also add incentives for those breaks to stay motivated. Maybe you go get a drink during your next break if you’ve finished a particular assignment, or maybe you treat yourself to take-out lunch if you finish studying for a test by lunchtime. You can also reward yourself with bigger incentives if you have a lot of big assignments coming up or if you have a particularly tight schedule that requires exceptional time management skills. This may be something like treating yourself to a new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting or going out with friends this weekend to an event you’ve been looking forward to. Just make sure to prioritize your school assignments and get everything done that needs to be done before you gift yourself with rewards.
Time management is an incredibly important skill for people of any age. It is especially vital for online learners to have success in their studies and achieve all of their personal and educational goals. Making the best use of your time and being as productive as possible during all study sessions can mean the difference between struggling in school, making mediocre grades, or even succeeding at completing your degree online or with some online supplements. Take these time management tips into consideration as you go through your online learning experience, and you’ll learn time management skills that are extremely helpful both now and well into the future.