Time is an important yet very limited resource — we all only have 24 hours in a day. In every setting, there are always deadlines, important events, and a seemingly endless list of things to do. Online learning is no exception. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by your tasks if you don’t know how to manage time wisely.
What is time management?
As emphasized above, time management is one of the most important life skills that one can learn. Simply put, it’s the process of planning and organizing the activities one can do within a limited amount of time. It requires exercising conscious control of one’s time and often makes use of helpful methods such as the well-known Pomodoro technique. While learning time management may seem a bit boring at first glance, the outcomes are all well worth it.
Why is it important for online learning students?
The benefits of time management are countless, especially when it comes to online learning. It gives you the ability to complete your tasks on time, allot some ample time to study, and plan ahead. Moreover, online learning students also have other matters to attend to, such as doing home chores, taking care of the family, or even working jobs, which can be hard to juggle without proper time management. Most importantly, good time management helps you keep a healthy balance between doing the required activities and having time to do the things you enjoy.
Learning effective time management is also a valuable asset that you can carry for most of your life because it has many applications in settings beyond school and online learning. Through harnessing this skill and using helpful time management methods, you can better manage your daily activities, avoid procrastination and stress, and ultimately set yourself up for success. With that being said, here are 5 important time management tips that every online learning student should learn.
1. Make a schedule to stay in control.
The first of our time management tips is to identify what you actually need to do in a given day. It doesn’t have to be complicated, because keeping a schedule, planner, or a simple to-do list can be enough to get you started. These schedules can help you plan your day and remind you what needs to be done. Without them, you might miss important deadlines or find yourself overwhelmed by the constant barrage of classes, projects, and assignments.
When creating a schedule, you can either make a complete plan for the day or just a simple list of priorities. The important thing is that you’re setting a goal for what needs to be done for the day. Having a plan for the day ensures that you know what to do and when to do them. Schedules keep you organized, focused, and in control of your time.
A great way to schedule your day is through time blocking, which entails dividing your day into blocks of time. Each block of time is allotted for a specific task or a group of tasks. For example, you can dedicate your 8 to 10 AM for attending an online class, 10 to 11 AM for working on an essay, and the list goes on. It’s important to allot enough time for learning and accomplishing tasks, and it’s just as important to go through with your schedule. If you need help keeping track of your time, you may also opt to use a tomato timer or set an alarm.
2. Take quick breaks — use the Pomodoro technique.
While taking breaks may sound counterintuitive when you have pressing deadlines and upcoming tests to worry about, studies show that it’s actually more effective than working endlessly. One of the most useful time management methods is the Pomodoro technique, wherein you break down your work into specific intervals and put quick breaks in between.
This technique ensures a perfect balance between work and leisure. It helps maintain your productivity throughout the day and ensures that your mind gets the rest it needs to keep going. The technique also helps prevent procrastination by limiting your screen time and the time you spend aimlessly surfing the web. Keeping this balance is especially important for online learning, wherein it’s easy to get stressed and burnt out without ample breaks.
The technique isn’t complicated. First, you must decide on what task to do. After that, you can set a Pomodoro timer, usually with a 25-minute work time and a 5-minute break time. Work on the task for the given amount of time, then take a quick break. After the 4th 25-minute cycle, there should be a longer break, typically 15 minutes. You may opt for different time intervals if you wish.
There are many sites online that let you use the timer for free and can even have features that let you adjust the time you need to study and work on tasks effectively. For example, wordcounttool.com has three different timers for different needs. The first one follows the traditional Pomodoro method stated above, and all you have to do is start. For the second one, you can adjust the timer as you see fit. Finally, the third timer acts as a one-time timer in which you can specify the time in hours, minutes, and seconds. As an added bonus, you have the option to pause and reset these timers anytime you want!
3. Break down large tasks into smaller, more specific ones.
Using time management tools such as a Pomodoro technique timer or a daily schedule won’t do much if you don’t know where to start. This is especially true when you’re working on a big project or have to study for a major exam — it’s easy to get overwhelmed by large tasks.
To make handling large tasks easier, you can break them down into smaller and more specific tasks. For example, if you’re working on an essay, you can break them down into smaller tasks like the following:
- Research important information on the topic.
- Outline the significant points.
- Write the introduction.
- Then, write supporting details.
- Write a conclusion.
- Review the essay and prepare it for submission.
Similarly, if you’re studying for an exam, you can dedicate some time to read one chapter at a time. That way, you can tick off some boxes for every small task you finish instead of having just one large unfinished task.
4. Prepare the materials you’ll need in advance.
Scrambling around for your pen and paper can take up a surprisingly large amount of time if you don’t prepare your materials in advance. Make sure to keep your things organized and that you know all the materials you’ll have to use to get through the day.
This also includes online and digital materials such as files and online resources. For example, if your schedule says that you’ll be working on a paper today, gather all the PDFs you have to read and have a word counter handy to make reading and writing a breeze.
5. Avoid multitasking and keep distractions away.
Although it’s tempting to juggle multiple tasks at once, multitasking is a risky endeavor and doesn’t pay off as much as one would expect. You risk compromising the quality of your work, which can spell bad news for your grades. Focus on one thing at a time and avoid jumping to another task when you’re not supposed to.
Another thing that can delay your schedule is the presence of distractions. With everything being a click away due to the nature of online classes, it’s hard to resist the temptation to check social media or play games instead of doing your assignments or listening to your lectures. No matter how fun the distraction is, though, it can ruin the schedule you’ve worked on and can lead to a lot of negative consequences.
If you’re scrolling on your phone while working on a project, you likely will not make the most of your time. You may end up taking a longer time to finish your tasks. If you’re constantly distracted, you may not understand your lectures well, miss important deadlines, or submit works that are poor in quality.
It helps to identify your most common distractions. If you find your phone distracting, keep it in silent or “do not disturb” mode while working. You can also keep it away from yourself, only using it during breaks. Turn off your television and other devices that might distract you, and sign out of your social media accounts. By avoiding distractions, you’re giving yourself more time to do the more important tasks.
Making the most of your online learning
Hope these time management tips can help you! Remember that proper time management is key to making the most of your online learning experience. It helps you stay on top of your tasks. These time management tips can also set you up for success even long after you’ve graduated. Remember to also have fun and reward yourself from time to time! With these time management tips in mind, you can be a more confident, organized, and successful online learning student.