Distance learning courses which are often conducted through media channels such as online, Skype, and others; give students the flexibility of choosing the time to study anywhere and anytime they want. However, the intensity and demand of the course should not be underestimated. A majority of distance learners feel like the whole process or experience is a juggling act of different responsibilities that include family studies, work, and other commitments. When all of these add up, it can become overwhelming.
Nevertheless, the key is to aim for achievable goals and balancing everything; just as you would with an ordinary course, for example the CMI Level 5 in Management and Leadership. Remember, with an ordinary course, you can only succeed through being organised, discipline, and time management. Below are a few time management techniques to consider:
This is a technique that helps a person or student to learn easily and effectively. Therefore, before the course begins, you should consider becoming acquainted with your timetable. You should also map out a personal schedule. Coming up with a personal schedule will help you to become aware of deadlines, exam dates, as well as any other personal commitments. This also means informing your family and friends of dates that you are likely going to be busy so that they can support you through stressful periods. In a nutshell, you should consider your priorities in advance and best prepare for that.
The truth is that the time to study does depend on your own personal circumstances. What does this mean? Well, it simply means that you should consider the time when your mind is at its best (active state). Also, there should be few distractions around you. For example, if you are most active during the morning hours, then you should consider going to bed early so that you can wake up early. If this is not possible, then you should consider breaking from work at least for a few hours to study.
You should always and frequently assess your time management. This means that you should always ask yourself if you are using your time efficiently and effectively. There are times when you may feel that the whole day has passed you by and you have not learned anything. In most cases, this is because you keep on being distracted easily. Therefore, to beat this, it is wise to make a to-do list, either at the beginning or end of the day.
There are times when things change unexpectedly. For this reason, you should always check your emails every morning, afternoon, and evening so that you can keep up with any major changes such as syllabus modifications, due dates, and others. If you are away from your computer, then you should consider using your phone and you should not switch it off completely when on holiday.
Waiting until the last minute to do your assignment is not always a good idea and not a good practice. All your assignments should be broken down into different parts (research, planning, writing, editing, and finalising) and the work should be approached with caution. This is because each stage needs equal portions of effort and time. On the other hand, you should prioritise your work too. You do not want to spend too much time on a task that is of less consequence to the overall grades.
It is very easy to get distracted at home. As such, to stay focused, you should consider switching Off or keeping it out of sight. You should also turn email notifications off, and stay logged out of social networking sites. In other words, remove all distractions close to you so that you can focus.
It is wise to take regular time out and rest the mind. Also, if you find yourself finding it difficult to concentrate or study, then you should consider taking a rest or a break. This technique diverts your attention to something else which rejuvenates the mind. However, you should note that anything you do in your free time should be healthy and positive. Do not watch an episode of your favourite series, this will make you tired instead. You should consider activities such as going for walks, exercising, or yoga.