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Published 26 June 2020

How to manage your time and stay motivated while you’re studying online

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How do you stay motivated? When you’re studying online from home, it’s important to have a time management plan. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up procrastinating and falling behind.

Follow our list of tips to master your time and succeed at your online studies.

Break up study time 

Try to mix up what you’re doing throughout the day, even if that just means spending time studying a variety of different subjects. Intensive blocks of two hours or so work well, spaced out with short breaks. If you feel your momentum slowing down during a study session, switch to a different task or do some exercise to clear your head.

Create a schedule

weekly planner divided into one-hour blocks helps you to plan your studies and stick to your tasks. Include things like classes, chores, extracurricular activities, part-time work, free time and study sessions. For each study session, write down a to-do list indicating key tasks you want to get done.

Know when you’re most productive

Different people work better at different times of the day, whether it be morning, afternoon or night. So do what works best for you. If you know you’re not a morning person, don’t start trying to tackle that difficult essay question at 8am. Leave the most challenging tasks for your best time of the day and do something less demanding, like organising notes or writing the next day’s to-do list, during your least favourite time of the day.

Minimise distractions

If you’re thinking about something else when you’re studying, you’re not going to be as productive as you could be. Distractions often come from internal feelings that we can control, such as hunger or tiredness. It’s a good idea to get enough sleep each night and to have snacks nearby during a study session. Try and minimise distractions like social media by logging out of your accounts. It may help to put your phone in another room while you’re studying so you’re not disrupted by messages, calls or notifications.

Avoid the eleventh hour

Leaving things to the last minute puts you under unnecessary pressure. Try to do some study on most days of the week – even if it’s only one or two hours – so you don’t end up with a mountain of work to catch up on. Go over all your class notes each week to make sure you understand what was covered and to keep the ideas you’ve learned front-of-mind. When it comes to exams, you’ll be better equipped and able to reduce your exam study time.

Don’t forget ‘you’ time

It could be easy to get caught up in your study when you’re not able to go about your normal routines, or when lots of social activities or other hobbies are suddenly not a possibility. But remember the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra, and take time to do things you love and that make you feel good – whether it’s streaming a TV show or playing with your pet.

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