Studies suggest that one-third of students now take at least one course online. Online learning does have benefits for students, such as broader perspectives, added flexibility, and improved collaboration.
Whether you’ve chosen to take online programs, such as healthcare classes, or have had to adapt due to the Covid-19 pandemic, learning online can take some time to get used to. If you are taking online programs, it is essential to manage your time effectively.
Importance of Time Management
Valuable skill students need to complete online classes effectively is time management. The better students manage their time, the easier it is to complete courses and achieve goals. It’s not about how much time one has in a day, everyone has 24-hours, but it is about how time is managed.
Effective time management helps with learning but also helps with your productivity in your personal life and work. Students need a productive system to keep them on track, so they can successfully complete classes online.
Tips for Keeping Productivity up During Online Classes
Sometimes, time management isn’t enough to keep students on track, especially in the dreary winter months, where days feel shorter. Below are seven tips for maintaining productivity up during online classes.
1. Stop Multitasking
Multitasking can decrease productivity. Focus your time on completing one assignment at a time, then move on to your next tasks at hand, whether it be participating in an online forum or studying for an exam. Arrange lessons in order of importance, and complete them one at a time.
Lists help with project management and keeping organized. Concentrating on one item at a time helps you stay productive and present and avoids getting off-topic. Put things down on your calendar as they are assigned to keep track of deadlines.
2. Plan Ahead
Days can become hectic fast, with lots of daily distractions that make it hard to finish tasks. To keep productive with online classes, students need to set time aside to focus on their schooling. Being able to focus means having to make complete tasks and avoiding distractions.
Being an online student offers a lot of flexibility in schedule, but it can provide plenty of time to forget about assignments or online readings. Planning your weeks can help with staying on track and keeping productive.
The best way to do this is to purchase a calendar, or planner, that you can use to plan your day or weeks and highlight essential deadlines such as:
- Assignments due
- Activities related to your programs, such as on-campus networking events or study groups
- Virtual meetings or office hours with advisors or professors
Seeing assignments, exams, or discussions on a calendar can help plan and keep productive during online classes.
3. Block Out Distractions
Distractions can kill productivity quickly. It is easy to get diverted by social media or news. Avoid Facebook, Instagram, and other social media tools when you need to concentrate on your online classes.
Consider helping productivity by arranging your work to increase efficiency. A popular method for increasing productivity is the Pomodoro method. The method involves:
- setting a timer for 25 minutes and work uninterrupted for the full amount of time
- take a five-minute pause, go for a quick walk, grab a coffee, or check your phone
- continue with this schedule until you’ve completed four 25 minute periods, and then increase your break time to 15-minutes.
Creating a time when you are not distracted and entirely focused helps you stay focused and on task.
4. Set Up a Virtual Office
Having an optimal setting to work helps with productivity. To complete your online classes, you need high-speed internet and comfortable space with proper lighting. Having an area free of distractions, comfy chairs, and the correct lighting helps create the right ambiance to help with productivity. Keep distractions, such as phones and television, to a minimum.
Along with having a comfortable office setting, you will need to make sure you have the required materials, including correct software or textbooks. Preparedness helps with productivity.
5. Create a Balance
Online classes can be a large obligation and take up a lot of time, and it is fundamental to find a balance between your courses and other tasks, such as work or kids. Finding a balance helps with avoiding burnout. When you find a balance, it allows you to be productive in all aspects of your life, from school to work and personal life.
6. Get a Good Night Sleep
Sleep is vital to our bodies. When you sleep, you rest your body and refresh your mind, so you are ready to tackle the next day. The recommended hours of sleep for our bodies to rest and refuel is seven to eight hours. Staying up and pulling all nights to finish assignments lessens productivity. It is essential to get your sleep to keep yourself productive.
7. Reward Yourself
To avoid burnout, it is essential to reward yourself after a productive day. Without taking breaks or rewarding yourself for jobs well done, it becomes difficult to concentrate on even simple tasks.
Reward yourself by celebrating accomplishments. Treat yourself to something you take pleasure in, whether it is going out for dinner and a movie or watching your favorite show on Netflix. Another way of rewarding yourself is taking time off if you’ve been working hard on an assignment for weeks or months when you have finished.