Time management skills are essential for remote learners, and these skills can be utilized for the remainder of a student’s life. In an academic setting, teachers agree that success requires that students learn about time management in an online setting.
But many schools fail to teach students about time management.
Instead, students are often put into situations where they’re expected to master time management on their own. When a student lacks these skills, it sets them up for failure. In most cases, students who can manage their time effectively will:
- Maintain higher grades,
- Learn subjects faster, and
- Feel less frustrated.
At Northgate Academy, we don’t expect our students to have time management skills from the start. We focus on providing our students and families with the tools to guide them toward developing time management skills. At our Success Coach Corner site, parents and students can find helpful support in the Tools for Pacing and Tips for Success in your Self-Paced Classes. Academic Success Coaches reach out to students and families through phone calls and emails at regular periods during a student’s enrollment to provide pacing information and helpful tips for success. Upon request, they help families create weekly agendas and guidance about how to create their own progress report. These tools can help families and students acclimate to the responsibilities involved in self-paced online learning.
We have a few tips that can help you improve your online school time management today.
1. Plan for the Day Ahead
Everyone starts their day with 24 hours, but some people get a lot more done than others. One of the top tips for online learners is to plan for the day ahead of time. Schedules are constraining, but they’re also necessary.
You can purchase an agenda or planner or set up reminders on your phone’s calendar to make sure that you don’t forget any tasks along the way.
Daily and weekly assignments should include:
- All assignments and/or drafts due for the week,
- Activities you must attend,
- Tasks to complete each day,
Block out time each day for your academics, including reading, watching videos, or reviewing materials. You should include time to study. Studying means going beyond regular school day expectations and assignments; it means reviewing notes and checking your understanding of material. For example, perhaps every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, between 3 pm and 4 pm, you’ll go over class materials and study.
If you start the week with a solid plan, you’ll have a much easier time staying on track.
2. Stop Multitasking
Students and adults have a lot to do every day of the week. It’s overwhelming when you have too much to accomplish in a 24-hour period. Multitasking may seem like you’re getting more done in a shorter amount of time, but when it comes to school and learning new material, multitasking can actually reduce your productivity.
It’s difficult to stay focused on your studies when you’re balancing screen time and talking to friends.
You should focus on one main task and assignment at a time. Laser-focusing on a single task allows you to put all your time and energy into the task to learn more efficiently.
When you make your calendar or to-do list and plan ahead, try to:
- List the tasks in order of importance and
- Note tasks that are important or the ones that you know will demand the most time and energy.
It’s important to focus on tasks that need to be done immediately rather than the tasks that need to be done weeks from now. However, for more demanding tasks, you will want to break those up into more manageable, smaller steps so that you can space them out throughout the days before the assignment is due.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Distractions are time-consuming and can derail your time management schedule. If you’re studying math, you shouldn’t be messaging people on Instagram. Stop all of the non-important tasks that are taking you away from your studies. This means:
- Not browsing websites,
- Staying off social media, and
- Putting your phone down.
If you’re having trouble staying on-task, use timers or what is known as the Pomodoro Method, which requires you to stay focused for short blocks of time.
4. Create a Space for Learning
Do you sit on the couch and watch television while studying? If so, you’re not working in an environment that is promoting success. Instead, try to create your own “office” or space that has everything you need to study.
This space should have:
- Comfortable seating,
- Access to your laptop or computer, and
- Proper lighting.
Make your space comfortable so that you can maximize your learning – even if it’s not for school. Your space also needs to be free from distractions.
5. Add Balance into Your Schedule
Balance is the key to success when making a schedule. Students often spend too much time trying to focus on school while forgetting all the other aspects of life. The end result? Burnout.
Your time management skills and schedule should allow enough balance for you to focus on:
- Work, AND
- Social life.
Creating balance makes students happier learners and offers a sense of fulfillment.
6. Reward Yourself for Success
Time management includes some of the most important skills that a person will learn during their lifetime. When you’re working hard, managing your time properly, and getting good grades, it’s time to reward yourself.
The reward can be:
- Days off to do what you want,
- Binge-watching your favorite show or YouTube videos, or
- Scrolling through social media.
You’ll need to reward yourself within reason so that you don’t interrupt your studies or hamper the progress that you’ve made. Students can struggle to refocus after a break, so be careful to have a mindset of progress even when taking breaks and rewarding yourself.
Online time management is the key to student success when attending school online. With the right skills, students can manage their time, get better grades, and have more time to spend on outside of school activities.