Improve your study timetable with these three steps

Female planning out timetable on a calendar


It might seem counter-intuitive, but when time is not on your side, one of the best steps you can take is to make time and assess what is or isn’t working for you, the earlier the better.

It’s likely that you’ve already started reflecting on multiple aspects of your online course, including whether or not you feel like your study schedule is working for you or not. Irrespective of how you’re feeling, we’re sharing the following three steps that can help you take control of your remaining weeks of study by maximising your study schedule.

1. Time for some honest analysis

Whether your schedule is keeping you on track or not during this early stage, ask yourself some frank questions about your online study habits. For example:

  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • Am I following my original routine, or simply making it up as I go along?
  • Am I devoting too much time to one thing and not enough to another?

The answers could form the foundation of any restructure to your study schedule. For example, your study planner and personal timetable can be adjusted to allocate extra hours to the areas of your course that are your weakness, or to make your schedule coincide with the times you feel more alert and open to absorbing new information.

2. Examine how you manage your time

Time management was probably a challenge in your life even before you added online study to the mix. It may be a bigger challenge now, making it the ideal time to find ways to manage your time more effectively. A great place to start is reviewing how much time you spend on your studies and, just as importantly, how much time is dedicated to resting and recharging. Striking the right balance is vital, and should be reflected in your schedule.

Sleep doctor Micheal Breus, author of The Power of When, suggests we learn more between 10.00 am to 2.00 pm and again from 4.00 pm to 10.00 pm. Does your study schedule coincide with these times? Or are you spending these optimal hours doing something else? Identifying periods of peak productivity and learning, whether they’re in line with Dr Breus’s thinking or not, should be priorities as you carry out your review.

Studying while you’re tired and missing out on precious sleep can be an impediment to learning, and you might need to allocate more time for rest and recreation. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School:

“…the general consensus is that consolidated sleep throughout a whole night is optimal for learning and memory.”

3. Plan for what you can control

While life can throw the unexpected your way from time to time, you can still build a plan based on what you DO know. For your study schedule to work, it must take into account every other aspect of your life: work, family, social commitments, and recreation.

If these external pulls on your time are spoiling your best laid academic plans, ask your loved ones, colleagues, or boss for more help, space or flexibility as you try and manage your life outside of your online studies.

While you’re reaching out to others, enlist the support of your Student Success Advisor. As you seek to refine your study schedule, they’re one of the first people to talk to. After all, “Success” is their middle name. They, of all people, know that success and a workable study schedule go hand in hand.

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