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  Study Guide: 10 Tips for Managing Your Time More Effectively

As an online student, you’ve already taken a great step toward effective time management with a study anytime, anywhere program.  Beyond this, there are literally hundreds of resources, Web sites and books that provide ideas on how to manage your time. 

Here are those we thought were especially useful to busy online students, as well as some additional resources to check out.

  1. Keep Lists. In the morning (or even the night before), write down all you hope to accomplish that day – including tasks related to work, home and school.
  2. Prioritize. Arrange your list in the order of importance, and do the things you don’t necessarily like doing first – they are the hardest to do, and you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment once you get it done.
  3. Allow for Interruptions.The phone is going to ring, the kids will fight and the dog will bark. Remember to factor in time for interruptions so your to-do list is realistic, and doable.
  4. Consider Your Environment. Believe it or not, you’ll study more efficiently if you’re comfortable (but not so comfortable you fall asleep). If you can’t stand clutter, pick up before you start. If you need quiet, find a room where you can shut the door.
  5. Know Thyself. We all have a time of the day when we’re at our best. Figure out what yours is, and put that time to good use. If you find you can concentrate best at 5 a.m. – get out of bed early and hit the books then.
  6. Break Up Your Day. Break your day into blocks of time. If you try to study for 5 or 6 hours straight, you’ll probably get less done than if you studied in three blocks of 2 hours each.
  7. Keep Up. Always keep pace with the class. Once you get behind, you’ll easily become overwhelmed.
  8. Set Aside Online Time. Especially if you’re working in a dial-up environment, it’s important to try accessing courses and materials at off-peak hours. This is true of the university, and your Internet Service Provider – both of which may impact the speed in which you are able to download information. This will vary; so go online at different hours to determine which will be most efficient.
  9. Mobilize. Use every minute you can, and carry lecture notes and text books with you when you get your oil changed, ride the train to work and have a doctors appointment, as well as when you travel.
  10. Balance. Balance and moderation are the keys to success, and happiness. In addition to work and school, be sure to make time for yourself and your family.

Additional Resources

For a guide on getting a handle on how much time you spend working, playing, studying, eating and sleeping – check out http://www.gmu.edu/gmu/personal/time.html from the George Mason University Self-Development Center.

Take a mini-online seminar from Virginia Tech on “Time Management Strategies for Improving Academic Performance” at http://www.ucc.vt.edu/lynch/TimeManagement.htm.

For general advice on time management and organization, take a look at http://www.organizetips.com. They have everything from a wedding planner, to organizing for seniors, to a variety of time saving tips.

If you’re overwhelmed by email – whether at work or home – you’ll want to review these tips for effective email time management from First Step Communications at http://www.firststep.com.au/articles/email-tm.html.

Some titles you can find online or at your local bookstore include:

  • “Beat Procrastination and Make the Grade: The Six Styles of Procrastination and How Students Can Overcome Them” by Linda Sapadin.
  • “Studying Smart: Time Management for College Students” by Diana Scharf-Hunt.

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