The great thing about online study is that it’s incredibly flexible, enabling you to continue working while acquiring new skills or expanding your current skills. Everything you need is available online, so you can access it whenever you’ve got time, wherever you may be.
As a student, the key to success is recognising the importance of time management, so you can keep on top of your studies when work gets busy. Thankfully, there are lots of simple steps you can take to maximise the time you have.
Here are some time management tips for students that will help you be effective during busy periods at work.
As soon as you’ve enrolled, make note of your assessment dates, webinars or online tutorials in a calendar. This will help you to manage competing commitments at work, stay on top of upcoming tasks, so you don’t fall behind. A visual reminder of these key dates is an effective way to complement reminders on your phone or work laptop, so invest in a big desk calendar or hang one up on your wall.
Create a schedule
Schedules and set study times per week will help you feel in control and maximise your preparedness. Create a weekly planner or timetable to outline when you do what activity, but allow for variation leading up to known busy and/or seasonal periods at work. RMIT online student, Paul Flavel says:
I try and be quite organised, so as soon as I get the course outline, I put that straight into my working calendar so that I'm aware of when those assignments are due.
When you know you’ve got additional time up your sleeve or plan’s change, you can focus on other priorities.
Unexpected things can happen at work, so you may miss a deadline due to other commitments. Don’t be hard on yourself, you can contact your tutor and student success advisor to explain your situation. They realise that the majority of online students are also balancing work, so they are understanding and there to support you. To avoid this, allow for extra time in your schedule for the unexpected and try not to commit to things when you know you will be stressed out.
Avoid studying at work
There is always a temptation to squeeze in a bit of study during work hours, or vice versa - working from home when you should be using that time to study. One or both will suffer as a consequence, so make sure that you keep work hours for work, and stick to your scheduled weekly study time commitments. This will ensure that you give each the attention they deserve.
Time management tips and advice from our RMIT Student Success team about how to prepare for online study.
Look after yourself
It’s easy to fall into the trap of cramming at night-time, reducing the number of hours you sleep or increasing the likelihood of eating quick takeaway dinners or skipping a gym class. But your brain works better when your body feels good, so make sure you allow for rest and exercise in your schedule. Take a walk while you listen to a webinar or cook in bulk so you’ve got leftovers for busy days. It’s also important to take breaks during study sessions to rejuvenate yourself.
Talk to people at work
Let the people you work for know that you’re studying, and discuss whether they might be able to provide more flexibility around assessment times or delegate certain tasks to your colleagues during peak study times. Your workplace is bound to benefit from the skills you’re acquiring, so they are likely to be supportive through your journey.
Talk to your friends and family
The people that care about you want you to succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask them for help. To make the most out of your study time at home, ensure your family and friends know when you’re studying, so they don’t disturb you. Ask them to cook for you once in a while, help with cleaning or pick up the kids from school. There are lots of tasks you might do, that others can do instead.
Maximise travel or exercise time
Driving your car to work might be a little quicker, but perhaps if you took public transport you would have an extra half hour to go through your weekly readings or perform some research. Paul Flavel also adds:
I utilise any downtime I have - so if I am on a train or I've got any time at work in a break or at home, I ... get on an iPad and catch up with study.
If you need to walk the dog or hit the treadmill at the gym, you might like to listen to a tutorial. Your coursework is always available online, so reading, watching or listening to the content while commuting or exercising is super easy.
Set yourself realistic and achievable short- and long-term goals. Achieving goals makes you feel positive and in control, so make sure you hit those winning moments and celebrate them. Get the first draft of an assignment done with plenty of time to revise and polish or set a number of research items that you’d like to read through by a certain time.
RMIT online student, Paul Flavel is a great example of a successful student who manages his study in between busy, often seasonal peaks at work.
Now that you have some handy tricks up your sleeve for managing study during busy periods at work, why not get in touch with our Student Enrolment team on 1300 701 171 to discuss which course is best suited to you are your career goals.