Studying online? Time management tips for adult online students
Adult online students have particular learning needs. Engendering the kind of discipline it takes to get though an online course is no mean feat. I have always been a good manager of time, some of my friends certainly are not. They are always late, they miss deadlines, they are always “rushing around” and they annoy people with their inability to manage time well. When you are an adult online student – time management is essential. Get it right, and you’ll see success in what you are studying.
I work in the online education sector, and a growing trend has been adults returning to study. Gaining qualifications and learning is no longer just for teenagers, school leavers and the “young”. Lifetime learning is now part of everyone’s lives. People need “quick skills” that can help them gain a promotion, change careers, or follow a passion.
Finding out how to effectively manage your time is essential to being an adult online student. I worked with journalist Brenda Coleman to compile this information for you. She is an experienced editor, and part of the writing department staff of an essay writing education service. She’s helped me to put together this list of tips on managing your time as a student – no matter what stage of your education you are in.
#1: Keep a daily log
For about a week or two, maintain a daily log of all of the activities that you do each day, and for how much time you do them. Time how long it takes you to finish basic jobs, and log every little thing that you do for a constant period to make sure you’ll gain a real picture of your time use (and also misuse).
#2: Plan a ‘mock’ assignment
Give yourself a big, pretend assignment to plan, and a schedule as well. First up, think about the project, and how long you’ll need for research, initial writing, proofreading, editing and final tweaks. Log your activities over a period of time, and see how long these parts take you, and whether your assessment of time needed was accurate.
#3: Keep track of when things are due
Don’t miss your due date because of poor planning! As a writer and a student, you need to keep really good deadlines. A deadline missed, is a missed opportunity! Jotting down certain dates for due dates, and maintaining a calendar system will help you. Some people even like “old school” calendars, where they can cross off events as they pass.
#4: Give yourself dedicated time
One of the problems with being an adult online student is the fact that there is now so much on your plate. You have a partner, a job, a family, maybe children – it can get very hard to find time to yourself to study, let alone concentrate. Make sure you “lock in” one day a week (or more) where you can have dedicated study time.
#5: Don’t give up
I can say with confidence that the number one problem with being an adult online student is the “give up” factor. It gets tough, you hit a wall, an then study is the first thing to go. Like with all things in life, you have to push through the tough parts and get to the other side. Don’t give up and abandon your studies when times get tough and things get busy.
#6: Pay attention to your equipment
You need to have a good wifi or internet connection to be an adult online student, and you’ll need a good computer and quiet learning space. Don’t try to work with a broken mouse or wobbly chair, set yourself up for success by creating a nice, dedicated study space.
#7: Get a study buddy
If you are really having trouble, then call in the experts. Premium assignments from an online service can free up your schedule by assisting you with elements of your due work. Remember that all assignments you submit must be done in an ethical way, so you need to do the work and research yourself where you can.
#8: Be kind to yourself
Like children, adult online students respond well to bribery, even if it’s our own! Tell yourself that once you finish X, Y and Z, that you will treat yourself to a cold beer and a plate of chips at your favourite pub. Or, if you get above a certain mark on your next assignment, that you’ll finally treat yourself to that new piece of jewellery you’ve been coveting. That’s one of the benefits of being an adult, right?
Adult online students can be the most successful
Yes, it is true. There are so many benefits to learning online as an adult. There are some challenges too, but once you get into the “flow” of your course, you will be able to achieve great things – in part, because of your maturity and confidence. Time management might be one of the first hurdles you have to jump over, but once you manage that, the world (and your next career change) will be your oyster!