Distance learning provides students with the option to study based on their preferred daily schedule. However, at GBS Corporate Training, we understand the pressure exerted and effort required is huge.
A majority of distance learners often have to juggle various activities and responsibilities such as raising kids, full-time work and social commitments. This plus the need to study can be overwhelming.
Like everything else in life achieving balance is crucial to accomplishing study goals. A combination of organisation, discipline and effective planning of one’s time will help. The following are some time management recommendations to follow:
Get a Head Start
Prior to beginning your course study, take time to familiarise yourself with your course timetable and draft a personal schedule based on it. Carefully note key deadlines, examination dates and critical personal engagements that you will have to navigate around. Inform your family and social circles when you will be having a high workload so that they provide the necessary support during these periods. Identify your key priorities from the onset and prepare to the best of your ability.
At What Time Do You Study?
The appropriate study time will be influenced by your personal situation. Consider doing so when your mind is fresh and during periods when distractions are very minimal. The morning may be the best time to study for you. Your mind is fresh and you have had enough rest. If you have to go to work in the morning then you might have to retire to bed early and rise up much earlier. On the other hand, you might be a night owl who prefers studying at night. Take a break after getting home from work and then commence your studies.
Constantly Gauge Your Time Management
Periodically, ask yourself, “Am I utilising my time in an optimum way?” Sometimes you might realise that twenty-four hours have elapsed without having taken time to hit the books. This can be a result of too many distractions or you might have a habit of pushing study to a future time. Compiling lists may be of great help. Create to-do lists at the start or end of the day and cross out each item you accomplish as time goes.
Keep Up to Date
There can be unexpected changes hence it is crucial to check your inbox a few times during the day to ensure that you are current on all major adjustments related to deadlines, key dates and syllabus alterations. When you are away from your desktop computer, use your phone to access your emails. Also, when you are on holiday, avoid switching off your mail. Study-related emails might bypass you or reach you late if you do so.
Splitting Your Work
Beginning tackling assignments haphazardly or waiting until the last minute to work on them is a poor practice. Any assignment should be divided into various segments – planning, researching, drafting, editing, proofreading, and applying final touches – and approached with significant caution. Each activity needs equal amounts of effort and time. In addition, prioritise your work, placing emphasis on tasks and assignments that will form a huge chunk of your overall grades.
When studying from home you are in an environment with many distractions. Power down your phone and keep it out of reach and sight. Mute email notifications and log out of social media platforms unless you specifically require them to study. For those with kids, you can synchronise your study time with theirs. Regardless of the number of household duties that are unattended, do not allow them to take up your study time.
After a period of study, take some time out. Give your mind a rest to let what you have studied sink in and to stimulate your creative juices and knowledge retention. If you are too tired to continue studying take a longer break to refresh your mind. During the break, focus on healthy and positive activities such as taking a walk or exercise that will rejuvenate you. Avoid activities like sleeping or watching TV that will increase fatigue or disorient you. After a good break, you will feel energized to continue.