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How to Manage Your Time Effectively While Distance Learning

It’s halfway through the fall semester, and as we approach the midterm season and final exams, some of us are overwhelmed not only with the process of studying for exams but also with finishing up assignments, reports, and homework! I know I am!

In this article, I will be giving you tips and strategies to effectively manage your time and stay on top of all your university or high school workload! While it may seem impossible, managing your time while juggling so many things is possible! You just need to stay committed to the process and focus on what’s really important.

First of all, STOP thinking that online learning is less serious than face-to-face classes. Stop thinking that those little quizzes and assignments are not worth a big deal of you GPA because trust me when you’re at the end of the semester aiming for an A in a class that you’ve done so poorly on in the quizzes and assignments, that would hold you back from achieving your goal. A 3 credit course online is just as demanding as a 3 credit course in person, even if some of them are asynchronous and/or have no lecture components! Take your time to understand the concepts, write notes, and READ THE TEXT. If your course has a required textbook, READ IT! Professors now have relatively more time to get and make questions based on the knowledge that they ask you to read about from the textbook! Read the text, highlight important concepts, and use flashcards if they work for you. Repeating concepts and recalling information from your modules or lecture will also help you store the information and remember them when you need to better! Do you think reading the text is taking so much of your time? Learn to skim rather than read the text word for word. Look for text in bold or italic or words/sentences that are underlined or highlighted. The author of the book probably thought whatever it is worth your attention and so will the professor/teacher! Nevertheless, make sure you don’t spend too much time on a particular concept unless your instructor asked you to or hinted that it’s of great importance. After all, time is valuable; don’t waste it!

Second, create a schedule for yourself. There are two types of people when it comes to finishing tasks: those who use their memory to finish their daily tasks, and ones that jot them down. Be like personality type number 2. You will not only avoid risking forgetting something extremely important, but you will also have a visual overview of how and what you should work on first. I’ll give you an example of how this worked for me. After I missed a physics post-lecture quiz last month, I decided to use weekly planners to jot down when the deadlines are for certain homework assignments and quizzes. After doing that, my life got so much more organized. I wasn’t worried about missing anything because I had a reminder right in front of my eyes. If hardcopy planners don’t work for you, try adding reminders on your phone or laptop! If you’re using brightspace, you are most likely going to get notification about a certain assignment or quiz. You can check out a blog written by Amrit on how to use different kinds of features on brightspace here (link).

Third, create a dedicated study space that would allow you to eliminate any kind of distractions. Some of us are currently back at home living with our parents, and others might be living with roommates, and with almost everyone always at home, having noise in the background while you study is inevitable. How do you work with that? Well, there are many different ways to approach this issue and it all depends on how easy you can move your furniture around, how close you are to a library or a study space that you could learn to study and work in, and what kind of learner you really are. I’ve met many people that actually enjoy studying while there is music playing or the tv on in the background, and I always found that quite strange because I personally cannot focus on my life if there is noise closeby. If you’re anything like me, try to communicate with your family or roommates about this issue. Make sure they know when your lectures are and what times would you like your surroundings to be completely quiet and peaceful. Also, change up the way your bedroom, or whatever room you use to study in, is set. Avoid having a tv or any other device that would distract you from your field of view. Also, if you can, try to keep your desk in an area in the room that gets the most sunlight, preferably perpendicular to the window. This will not only give you natural light that will energize you, but it will also make you visually separate your work and study space from your dreamy and sleepy (bed) space. Try not to put your desk right in front of the window, however, because sometimes whatever is happening outside could easily distract you. Make sure that you have all the equipment and supplies you will need before you sit down to work to avoid having to rummage through your things and waste time.

Finally, follow whatever study method you think will help you reach your goals and work in advance of deadlines. Whether you like pulling all-nighters or being an early bird, try to keep a balance between your work time and your free time and make sure you’re always organized with everything you do. This WILL save you time in the long run, and if you pick the habit of staying consistent with your work, that will help you excel not only in all of your courses right now, but also when you graduate and start your career. Observe what methods work best for you and what makes you achieve higher grades, and when you feel like something isn’t working for you but is working for somebody else, know that it’s completely okay! You don’t need to conform to one way of doing things, what you need to do though is observe yourself and what makes you a better more disciplined student and do more of that!

And don’t forget, PM’s mentors are always here to help you and give you advice on whatever you are worried about!

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