Distance learning gives students the flexibility to study as well as choose the perfect time for their classes. While flexibility is what you need, these learning modules can be demanding and require more intensity than traditional style learning. The commitment that comes with distance learning is real. Distance learners have to juggle responsibilities at the same time, an experience that can be overwhelming for many. Among other things, one has to balance everything from studies, family, work, and any other personal commitments he/she might have.
Like any other course, the key to succeeding as a distance learner is by ensuring you are organised, disciplined, and most importantly, be able to manage your time well. Time management isn’t a piece of cake for everyone. For this reason, we have outlined a few tips and ideas on how to manage your time well while studying for your CMI level 7 in management and leadership.
Get Acquainted with Your Timetable
One thing you need to know about distance learning is that you have a responsibility to know what happens, when, and where. You need to have your timetable at your fingertips, know when you have a deadline, exam dates, and anything else that matters. It is by having the calendar at hand that you can start planning for personal commitments and work schedules. Be sure to inform your close friends and family of times when you won’t be available. Let them know your class schedules, especially times when you have deadlines and exams to prioritise over everything else.
2. Choose the Best Time for Studies
One thing about distance learning is that you get to pick the best time for the studies. Although this might be the case, you need to identify times when you don’t have other obligations (such as work or family commitments), and when there are fewer distractions. For many people, studying in the early morning hours (just before work) does it for them. You might also have to dive into books after work as well. If this is the case, it would be advisable to take a few minutes’ break to allow your mind and body to relax before hitting the books.
3. Assess Your Time Management Every Once in a While
There are days when you won’t feel like studying. If days pass without you hitting the books, maybe it is time to re-evaluate your time management. Procrastination and distraction are very common with distance learners – things that need to be handled effectively to be able to achieve your goals. If possible, make a to-do list when you wake up in the morning, or just before going to bed. Be sure to cross out each activity as you go. This should help you manage your time more effectively.
4. Keep Up to Date
There are times when lessons and exam schedules will be moved up or down. The institution will usually let you know of this is via mail. For this reason, it would be advisable to check your inbox at least three times a day. If away from your computer, you can then use your phone to check for any emails. This includes holidays and weekends. Be sure to check for unread urgent emails to stay up to date.
5. Split Your Work
Avoid leaving assignments to the last minute. Use the time you have at hand to handle these slowly and diligently. If possible, consider breaking down the assignment into different parts, then working on them at set times. One way to do this is by splitting them into research, planning, writing, editing, and creating the final copy. You’ll need equal time and effort to do these well. You’ll also want to prioritise assignments that come out as urgent, and those that could affect your overall grades.
6. Remain Focused
Studying at home can be quite a challenge. This is because distractions are almost everywhere. This can be dishes that need to be done, general cleaning, social media, email notifications, or even your phone. Learning to stay focused and only attend to what needs to be done at that moment however makes the experience less painful. Just be sure to do your studies at the designated time regardless of whatever else needs to be done in the house.
7. Take a Break
Trying to work or study all day will only make the experience unbearable and lead to fatigue. Learning to take a break between tasks, especially if you had a difficult assignment, is therefore recommended. The breaks enable your mind to rest, thus making it possible to push on. If possible, learn to take a walk or exercise to distract the mind a bit.