Are you an online student having problems with time management? Is it hard for you to get everything done on courses? Is it hard to meet the deadlines? Do you feel you are working hard, but don’t see the results? If you said yes to any of these questions, keep reading and I will tell you the two most important steps you need to take to improve your time management.

A little bit of tough love

Let’s be honest. Courses and programs are not designed to get as many people to fail as possible. On the contrary. Schools, teachers, course organizers, etc. all want to see you succeed. They wouldn’t have spent all that time and effort in creating the course, if they didn’t want people to learn the contents and pass the course. So, unfortunately, if you have trouble finding enough time for studying, it’s not the teacher’s fault. You need to re-evaluate your time spending and management.

Of course, some courses/programs are significantly more demanding than others. Some schools have different standards and requirements than others. But no school wants you to fail. I also realize that there are people with 2 jobs and small children, so finding time for studying can be nearly impossible. However, I feel that many of us only feel we don’t have time, even though, it’s actually a matter of concentration and prioritizing.

General time management tips online

If you google “time management for online students”, or if you check YouTube for videos about this, you will find tons of articles and videos to learn from. The tips found online typically include things like you need to make a schedule, how to manage distractions, setting up goals, sleeping enough, etc.. All of them are great advice. However, you won’t become any better in time management just by reading the articles or watching the videos. You need to commit to implementing the tips into your own routines. But first, make sure you know your starting point.

Step 1: Do this before trying to implement any new routines

Before you even try to change anything in your time management, I would suggest you start by tracking your time for 3-4 weeks. Be honest and thoughtful. Make notes. Don’t just write down that you have worked 8 hours on Monday. Be more specific. Also, note how concentrated you were during a task. Were you multitasking? Were you planning your weekend at the same time? Did you watch the funny dog video a friend sent you during this task?

By first mapping out the current situation, you will have a much better sense of how you actually spend your time. I would argue that most of us are not fully aware how we spend our days unless we track our time for a few weeks. Once you know your true problem, you will be able to take the next step and choose the right time management technique for you. And, like always, take baby steps and you are more likely to see good results. Deciding to change everything in your life at once is rarely a good idea. Instead, it is better to start with something small so that you can celebrate a win sooner. This way, you are less likely to get frustrated and go back to your old habits.

Step 2: Continue to evaluate your use of time when studying

Once you have tracked your time and you are ready to make changes in your routines you still need to evaluate your use of time. One of the most important things for a student, in my opinion, is to study more effectively. If you are like me, and one of your biggest problems is that you feel you are working hard, but don’t see the results, stop. Believe me, I’m a master in doing things that seem productive, but in reality, are not. So, please, take my advice on this one.

The next time you are about to start studying, stop to think. Is the upcoming task an important one? Is it really helping you to achieve your goal (whatever that goal might be)? Think about why you are doing that. Again, be honest and thoughtful. You are doing this for yourself, so no need to lie. If you decide that the task is worth doing, again, stop for a second, and evaluate your execution. Have you chosen the most effective way? Honestly.

Commit to it and you will succeed

If you commit to following these two steps, I’m sure you are able to make sustainable changes in your time management. When you combine these with other time management tips found online, you are on your way to more productive study sessions. I am positive that you will succeed!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am writing from my own experience as an online learner and from my own point of view. The opinions expressed in this post are solely mine and therefore subjective.