Taking an online course, or pursuing a whole new degree online, can be the best option for working adults. However, even though the work can be done remotely, that doesn’t mean that the challenges of getting an education or the workload won’t be as great. Getting back in the student mindset can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to boost productivity while working to earn a degree online.
1. Hold Yourself Accountable
If you’re someone who has a hard time making goals and sticking to them, having some kind of documentation process can be extremely helpful. Involve your friends and family as much as you can in this new part of your life. Tell them about your goals: What you hope to accomplish and how you hope to get there. Even keeping a journal or diary is a good way of keeping track of goals and holding yourself accountable day by day.
2. Make Studying Simple
It can be hard to come home after a long day of work and have to hit the books when you’d just like to relax. But studying doesn’t have to be agonizing. Do small things that make studying more of a natural, relaxed process, rather than a painful, to-be-avoided-at-all-costs ritual. If you can download course books on your iPad and look at them during your work commute, that’s a great way to use the in-between time to your benefit. If you have a longer lunch hour, use the time to study. Don’t try to study in large chunks. Instead, try breaking up your study breaks into smaller hour and half-hour segments. That way, they won’t feel as overwhelming.
3. Don’t Isolate Yourself
Taking a class online means you don’t have the benefit of seeing other students every day or week in a classroom. This can lead to a sense of disorientation and isolation. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Many online classes involve forums where class members can talk about the work online and work together for partnered activities. Try to meet up with some of your classmates in real time at least once a week, even if it’s just a social meet up. Remembering to stay social is important, even if you’re feeling overwhelmed with work and school. Being out in the world and spending time with other people is an important part of self-care, and it will help you become a better student.
4. Check In with Instructors
With most online courses, you’ll be able to speak to the professor directly. This can be a great way to feel more involved with the classroom and develop a relationship with someone working professionally in your chosen field. If you’re taking a course at a facility with exceptionally prestigious faculty members, like San Francisco State University, you’ll find that many of the professors will be more than happy to field questions and open themselves up to one-on-one conversations. Click here to learn more.
5. Devote a Space to Working
While studying can be done anywhere, it’s also great to have a space in your home that’s devoted to work. It can be a desk, a chair, even a part of the kitchen. If you create a space where you feel comfortable working daily, it will make the work that much easier.