For many online students, the biggest challenge they face in going back to school is figuring out how to balance their school workload along with everything else in life. Most online students work full time and have families, so adding in time for schoolwork each week can be overwhelming at first. Here are some tips from successful Bryant & Stratton College Online students that can help you manage your time effectively:
1. Make a checklist – Many online students print out a list of their assignments for the week as soon as their folder for the week becomes available. Making a “to do” list or a checklist for the week allows you to make sure no assignments get missed and that you can reach your deadlines as well.
2. Plan ahead – If you know you have a busy week ahead at work, have events planned with your family, or are traveling, it is always a good idea to plan ahead. If you can get your work done, or at least the majority of it completed, before these other obligations you will be less stressed out and more likely to relax and have fun.
3. Don’t be a perfectionist – Sometimes life gets in the way and meeting deadlines and staying on track is more important than submitting the best research paper you have ever written. We all want to submit our best work, but if you get too focused on perfection you could fall behind.
4. Don’t procrastinate – It’s really easy to put that big project off when you have all semester before it’s due, but before you know it the deadline is approaching and you are scrambling to get everything done. If you have a big project due at the end of the session, it is best to map out small steps each week that you will complete toward the project. The hardest part of any project is getting started. The longer you put this off, the more stressful it will become.
5. Ask for help – There will be times throughout earning your degree that you will need help. Whether it’s asking your spouse to watch the kids so you can sneak off to a local coffeehouse for some peace and quiet to get your homework done, or whether you call your instructor at home for clarification on the assignment that you are really just having a tough time getting started with, everyone needs a little help now and then. Online students need a support team. This team wants to help you succeed and see you graduate. It’s always OK to ask for help.
It’s not easy balancing work, family and school obligations but it does get easier over time. No matter how proactive you are, there are going to be times throughout earning your degree when you procrastinate, or something comes up. This is completely normal. It is important to remember your end goal of walking across that stage to get your diploma. You can keep balance in your life as an online student with practice and patience.