Time Management Tips from Online Students

man on laptop in break room

In theory, 24 hours sounds like a lot of time. But in reality, we all know that time seems to speed up whenever we’re trying to meet a deadline. Suddenly, those 24 hours don’t seem like nearly enough time to do everything we want to accomplish over the course of a day. This time crunch can be especially true for students who are working adults. In many cases, they’re juggling school with work and family commitments. They seem to squeeze a lot into their days. We wanted to know their secret, so we asked Ashford University students to share some of their best time management tips for online learners.

Scheduling Is Everything

Most online students love the flexibility and freedom that comes from studying anywhere at any time. But there is an added degree of responsibility that goes along with that freedom. You don’t have to run to a classroom to listen to a lecture at the same time each week, but you do need to find the time to complete all of your weekly assignments. Therefore, many students choose to create set schedules for all their coursework.

“Make a schedule,” said Charlene Mullins Heck. “This is school, so fit it into your schedule and make it stick. Don’t do the work ‘whenever.’ You still have due dates and deadlines.”

“My advice is simple: develop a realistic schedule and stick to it!” echoed Corey Banks. “Your schedule should include rest time. Being organized helps.”

Put It on the Calendar

To help you stick to your study schedule, students recommend a few simple, low-tech tools.

“Get a daily planner and set time for your school work,” said Carrie MacDonald. “Don’t say ‘I will do it after dinner or before I go to bed.’ Put it in your calendar and stick to that time.”

“Use the calendar to keep track of what needs to be done,” said Jeanette Heath. “Do some work every day so you don’t feel rushed.”

“Get a calendar or whiteboard and post all your assignments for the course so it is clear in your mind,” said Nicole Daniels. “It’s so easy to have a day lost with all of our busy schedules.”

Look Forward

Another advantage of online classes is that students are often able to see what assignments are coming up in the next few weeks. Ashford students advocate taking a sneak peek at what’s on the horizon.

“My advice would be to look ahead,” said Rebecca Frank-Rusnak. “That way, you know if you have an assignment that may take some time and do a little each day.”

“Get ahead as much as possible,” agreed Katrina Perkins. “If you have time, do your work days or weeks ahead of time and save it in a Word document. You never know when life is going to happen and prevent you from getting your work done. We are all busy adults with work, children, family, and spouses. And sometimes you’re just plain ol’ tired. If you do it ahead of time, a quick copy and paste is all you need.”

Talk to Your Instructors

But even if you use all of these time management ideas, life can still throw you some curveballs. When an unexpected emergency comes up that will disrupt your study routine, Ashford students say you should be proactive in addressing the problem.

“If you realize ahead of time that a work conflict will cut into you turning in a paper on time, email right away,” Regina Lynn recommends. “Most instructors are fairly understanding about online students having other obligations as well.”

You may only get 24 hours in each day, but you can stretch those hours with efficient time management. All of the ideas in this article have proven successful for Ashford students. Give them a try and see if they will make your life a little easier.

Written by Erik Siwak, Communications Manager for Bridgepoint Education

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