Tips to Help You Succeed in Online School
You can earn all kinds of tech degrees online. From certificates in networking essentials to master's degrees in information systems management, starting a career in tech is achievable no matter your life circumstances.
But learning in an online environment requires different strategies than those used in in-person schools. Whether lessons are given through Zoom, prepared slideshows, or textbook readings, students can tackle the remote environment successfully with a little planning.
1. Make a Schedule — and Stick to It
Whether you're more productive at night, reserve schoolwork for the weekends, or enjoy the traditional daytime school schedule, you have the freedom to create the environment that works for you. But with more freedom comes more responsibility. Without a schedule set in place, you'll need to keep yourself accountable.
Setting a schedule for yourself, whatever that looks like, sets up a routine that will help your brain register when it's time to sit down and focus. By building your daily life around a set school schedule, you'll set yourself up for success by eliminating your reliance on willpower to say “no” to (or getting distracted by) all the things that come up in life.
From grocery shopping to meeting friends for coffee, having a designated time to do non-school things and a separate time to focus on schoolwork will help keep you on track.
2. Never Miss a Deadline
Pursuing higher education is a worthy endeavor, but when studying online, it's more important than ever to stay on top of your schedule. It's your responsibility to get the work done, and it's all too easy to forget due dates when you have five other classes to keep track of. Studies have shown that using a physical planner helps improve memory, and in turn, will help you remember your schedule better.
On top of keeping a physical planner, setting calendar reminders and alarms on your phone will ensure you never accidentally miss a deadline. Without regular class times where professors and fellow students will be there to remind you of upcoming due dates, it's easy to let projects go by without notice.
With big projects especially, it can be helpful to break up the assignment into smaller increments and set your own due dates for the smaller pieces. Setting alarms for these, too, will keep you on track and make projects less stressful.
3. De-Tech Your Space
Keep your phone out of sight. With a long to-do list also comes a flurry of distracting ideas that never come to you when you're having a good time. From planning your next vacation to tonight's dinner, sometimes anything and everything is more enticing than finishing your homework.
Keep distractions at bay by instituting a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. Have a piece of notepaper, or a section of your school notebook, set aside just for distractions. Whenever you're at your workstation during your allotted work time, keep your phone off and away and instead write down all the things you feel the urge to do, plan, or Google in your notebook to revisit later.
4. Get Focused
Once you have your schedule, place, and strategies down, it's time to get to work. Every time you sit down to begin working, start your session by reviewing your upcoming due dates, current projects, and everything else on your to-do list. Make yourself a prioritized list of everything you need to accomplish. Feel free to break up large endeavors into smaller tasks and cross them off as you go.
By making a list of things you need to do, you'll not only give yourself achievable goals to focus on but finishing them will give you the satisfaction of physically crossing something off your list, decluttering your mind, and giving you an achievement to celebrate.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Studies have shown that motivation actually follows action, rather than the other way around. So instead of waiting around for motivation to hit the books, use the tactics above to set yourself up for success in an online learning environment.
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