Fitting in your studies alongside your work and other commitments is far from being mission impossible – it’s as simple as taking some time out to plan your schedule.
So, how do you fit 15 hours of study into a week? Follow these steps and you’ll find out how easy it can be, and get back your motivation as an online student:
• Determine when you’re most productive
When are you most productive and performing at your best? Is it first thing in the morning, before work or before you need to get the kids ready for school? Or is it in the evening, after you’ve wound down from your workday or after you’ve put the kids to bed? Or is it somewhere in between?
Don’t forget to think about your weekends too. The beauty of online learning is that you don’t need to stick to rigid Monday to Friday study schedules – you can choose to study when it suits you and when you’re at your most productive. Can you slot some time in for study on weekends, even if it’s just an hour or two?
• Figure out if there are any days in the week when you absolutely CAN’T study
It’s important to remember when you’ve reached this step that to be able to succeed with your studies, you need to exercise a great deal of self-discipline. And that means not just deciding you can’t study because you simply “don’t want to”. As with any task worth undertaking, online studies too require time and effort on your part for you to be able to reap the benefits.
But if there are days in the week when you know you absolutely CAN’T study, whether it be because of important work, family or other personal commitments or a combination of these, then make a note of these for the next step.
• Create a study schedule
There are a couple of ways to do this, depending on which method works best for you.
Create an Excel spreadsheet
Plot down the days of the week in each column of the sheet, and the times of day, in hourly chunks, in each row. E.g.:
Create a new tab for each new week
For each hourly time slot for each day, enter your prior commitments for the week, whether they be “Work”, “Doctor’s appointment”, or “Pick kids up from school”. Remember, these must be prior commitments that mean you absolutely CAN’T study, as per step 2 (i.e. they shouldn’t be social meetups or visits to the cinema, for example, that you can easily reschedule).
Keeping in mind the times you’re most productive from step 1, and the times you definitely can’t allocate to studies in step 2, enter “Study” for the remaining hourly blocks.
- Set up study reminders in your Google, Outlook or phone calendar
If you work better with calendar reminders than spreadsheets, simply plot your “Study” time hourly blocks into your Google, Outlook or smartphone calendar, and set up reminders to notify you when you need to be allocating time to study. This will help to make sure you’re keeping your studies on-track.
With these study tips, you’ll not only get your motivation as an online student back on-track, you’ll also make sure you’re fulfilling your academic potential and getting the best results possible from your online course.