Guest Author - Elizabeth Stuttard
You have decided to take distance learning courses part time while you are working. However, it is difficult to find time to study in your hectic day. These ideas will help you to find the time so that you are successful in your studies.
Decide how many hours you need to study for the courses you are taking. For distance learning, it is generally recommended that you study for 9 to 12 hours per week for each 3 credit course. You then need to break that time down into the various tasks necessary for each course. For instance you need to listen to or read the lecture, notes, and textbook; you need time to complete assignments; you need time to interact with the class by posting to the discussion boards; and you need time to review your work, and study for tests.
Plan to study for at least part of every day. If you break the 9 to 12 hours down into an equal time each day, it works out to 1½ to 2 hours per day for 6 days. This would give you a free day every week. However, it is not necessary to break the time into an equal amount every day if you have more free time on one day than another. This is just one way to do it.
Make use of spare moments that you have throughout the day. If you have memorization work for the course, use flash cards while waiting in line at the bank or while on work breaks. Read a chapter in your text on your lunch break or while waiting for your ride or a bus. Write the first paragraph of your assignment in the 15 minutes between supper and taking the kids to dance lessons. All those moments will add up to help you get the required work done for the course.
Break the tasks down into chunks. Some of these chunks will need an hour or two of uninterrupted time to complete but others will need only 10 or 15 minutes or even just a couple of minutes. This breakdown will help you decide what to work on when you do have some time available. If you have an hour available, there is no point using it to study your flash cards for instance, but, it may be a great time to outline your essay assignment or work on those math problems with which you are having trouble.
The main point to keep in mind is that you need to use a notebook and/or a calendar to list all your tasks that need to be done each week and then mark the time on your calendar to work on them. Then if you have some of those free moments that you can make use of, you might be able to cross off an hour of that scheduled time to use for some well earned relaxation, time with family, or, you can choose to get ahead on your next week's task list. It will be your choice and it will decrease the amount of stress you feel, which is always a great accomplishment.