Many of us have things we’d like to change: our exercise and diet habits, procrastination and productivity habits, patience and mindfulness habits, quitting bad habits, decluttering and finances, reading and learning and doing all the things we want to do in life.

But very often we fall short of our hopes.

What’s the problem? Why do we struggle with these changes?

There are lots of reasons, some of them external … but the main reason that it’s difficult to stick to these changes is actually internal.

The main reason changing our lives is hard: we get in our own waymore

Strong time management is perhaps one of the most important skills that online learners need to be at their best. You have likely seen and heard the 2-3 hour rule by now. For an average online student taking 8 credits, that is up to 24 hours per week. Take some time to develop a strategy if you haven’t already. Consider the following questions:

  • What are my other commitments and priorities, and how do I work around those?
  • What days and times will be the best for dedicated studying?
  • What are some things I may be able to adjust, and what are set in stone?
  • Who can I ask for help when I need a hand juggling it all?

Your syllabus will give you the most information up front about course expectations and commitments, and should be reviewed thoroughly at the start of each class.

One of our favorite tools is the Term at a Glance Calendar. As you go through your syllabi, mark down due dates and deadlines for all of your courses. Having everything in one place will help to plan ahead for weeks that will be busier than others, and this makes a great addition to your study space for quick reference.

The video below will give you some good things to consider as you adjust to online learning and develop your own prioritization and time management techniques.

Resources

This list provides some additional tools and worksheets. Take some time to explore and see what might be helpful for you.

Worksheets

term_at_a_glance.pdfView in a new window

Weekly Task List.docxView in a new window

prioritization_3_methods.pdfPreview the documentView in a new window

Apps

Week Plan

myHomework 

Canvas mobile app for IoS

Canvas mobile app for Android

 

OrganizeThe first step in being a successful online learner is becoming organized. Successful students plan and organize their study environment, their academic environment, and their time.

Organizing your study environment includes a variety of aspects that allow you to maximize your performance as you concentrate on your coursework. Being mindful of the following questions will allow you to create a foundation for your online learning success.

  • When Will You Study: When are you the most productive? Is it best to do your coursework in the morning or night? What other regularly scheduled commitments do you have? Although ideal, a set time to study during the day can be a challenge, especially for those who work full-time. Many students will take advantage of any break they can find throughout the day to work on their studies. By creating a weekly calendar you can provide the necessary structure that will allow you to effectively manage your time and priorities.
  • Where Will You Study: Have you carved out a specific location where you can study? Do you have other locations where you can be free of distractions? When considering studying away from your primary location, is WiFi available and are electrical outlets accessible are just a few things to consider when creating your location. Many times you are never too far from a McDonald’s or Starbucks, both of which can provide free WiFi and electricity! If you venture outside of the home to study, make sure you have all of your power cords with you. Wherever you decide to study make sure you carry plenty of pens, paper, highlighters and any other study aids you may need readily available.
  • What Will You Study: Have you read through your syllabus? When are your assignments due and will they overlap with other assignments? Be sure to have read your syllabus so you are familiar with your assignments and due dates. Being able to create a term at a glance calendar will allow you to see potential conflicts and allow you to adjust your study plan.
  • How Will You Study: Are you aware of the differences between a visual, kinesthetic or auditory learner? Are you aware of your learning preference?
    • Kinesthetic learners typically learn best by physically doing. These types of learners excel at physical activities, such as athletics and dance or hands-on methods. These learners tend to incorporate real-world examples or look up case studies to help them remember abstract concepts. They ask friends to quiz them out loud or perform the material themselves in front of a mirror. They get out and explore the possibility of field trips, hands-on labs, or exhibits on the topic.
    • Auditory learners typically learn best by listening and talking out loud. They are using the Cornell Note Taking Method and focus on self-quizzing aloud, which has proven to be an effective strategy. Reading their notes or textbooks aloud has also proven to be beneficial. They create flashcards and quiz themselves aloud. Remember, out loud repetition will be most important for an auditory learner so they will need to find a time and place where they can comfortably talk aloud as they study.
    • Visual learners learn best from what they see in pictures, diagrams, flowcharts, timelines, films, and demonstrations. They get more out of written words in conjunction with spoken explanations that allows them to visualize the concept. They often learn best when information is presented both visually and verbally. They rewrite notes replacing words with as many symbols, pictures, or drawings as possible.  Creating visual study aids with multiple colors has also proven to be an effective technique.

These are just a few things to keep in mind as you begin to organize yourself as an online learner.

Work-life-balance

Maintaining stability in your already-busy life after adding school to the equation is key to student success. Luckily, once you’re admitted to Oregon State Ecampus, you’ll gain access to the Ecampus team of student success counselors who can help guide you on your way.

Here are five tips we suggest to maintain a work-life balance:

Be realistic about time commitments

One of the most frequently asked questions that we hear is about managing time. Between working, taking care of a family, staying connected to friends and school work, time becomes a luxury.

Before applying, consider all of your current time commitments. We recommend using the time worksheet to lay out a typical week to get a good picture of where your time is spent. This can help you make an informed decision about where school will fit.

Prioritize

Think about priorities in terms of both people and tasks. Who are the people you value? What are the most important commitments you currently have?

By prioritizing the people and tasks in your life, you can decide where to focus your time and energy. This helps you to be more productive, but also to be present when you are with the people you value. You will be able to make a more informed decision about the priority of school in your life.

Make time for yourself

What do you enjoy? What makes you happy? For some, that can be exercising or meditating. For others, it is volunteering or spending time outside.

Whatever you do that brings you joy, make it a priority and build in time for it. That will help keep your stress level low and allow you some time to reflect.

Start small

What is a small change you could make today that will make your life easier or more enjoyable? It could be as simple as limiting your commitments or setting a goal to take a walk at least once a week.

Think about something large – and then break it down into small pieces to tackle one piece at a time. Once you build a habit, move on to the next piece.

It is okay if you cannot do it all

Most of the time, the only person who expects you to be able to do it all is you. Sometimes the timing is not right for adding school, and that’s OK.

Taking a closer look at your schedule and commitments should help you to decide whether this is the right time to add school to the mix. If it’s not, don’t get discouraged. The opportunity may be there in the future. Whether you choose to focus your energy on family, school, career or some combination of them all, true success is deciding to commit your time to what you feel matters most.

And when you are ready to jump in, the Ecampus student success team is here to help you succeed. We understand the need for balance, and we can help you navigate the steps to get there.

Having trouble staying motivated to keep up with you assigned reading that you find boring or of no interest to you? Here are a few tips about staying focused and engaged while reading topics that you are not particularly interested in.

Reading should always be an enjoyable experience! It certainly should be, considering most of us do it every day. Students and professionals can end up dedicating 3 to 5 hours each day to the task of reading. In a perfect world, all the material that we read would be compelling and interesting. However in reality, sometimes the material we read is not that interesting but we still do need to read it.https://www.irisreading.com/10-tips-on-how-to-focus-on-boring-readingmaterials/