Is your study schedule working for you?
Your first week is under your belt, and you’re probably reflecting on several aspects of your online course, including whether or not your study schedule is actually working for you. No matter how you’re feeling, you can take control of your remaining weeks of study by reviewing and, if necessary, refining your study schedule.
Time for some honest analysis
If your schedule isn’t keeping you on track in these early stages, ask yourself some frank questions about your online study. 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 a restructure to your study schedule. For example, your study planner and personal timetable can be adjusted to allocate extra hours to weaker areas of your online program, or to make your schedule coincide with the times you feel more alert and open to absorbing new information.
How do you manage your time?
Time management was probably a bit of a challenge in your life even before you added online study to the mix. It may be a bigger challenge now, so it might be an 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 spent 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.”
Don’t forget you have a life
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 Support Advisor. As you seek to refine your study schedule, they’re one of the first people to talk to. After all, “Support” is their middle name. They, of all people, know that success and a workable study schedule go hand in hand.