Staying Organized as an Online Student

by Todd Garner on January 16, 2015

Staying Organized as an Online Student

Going to school from home can be a great opportunity for those looking to continue or further their education.  Being able to take classes online and from the privacy of one’s own home can be a wonderful benefit of such a program.  However, while convenience and cost savings might be served in the process, trying to stay organized when confined in the comfortable surroundings of your home could prove to be an organizational nightmare.

Here are a few tips for staying organized at home as an online student.


Designating a Work Space

It might sound simple, but sometimes all it really takes to become better organized when studying at home is having a good designated work space.  Now this doesn’t necessarily mean the sofa or bed.  We’re talking about a good work space like a desk, table, or even an entire room where you can spread out your work materials and supplies, where others won’t interfere with these materials, and where you might even be able to make the space completely yours in an effort to put in better, more efficient and more effective study and work time.


Separating Work, School and Family

Separating work, school and family can be a real stretch for a student trying to complete their degree from within the home.  Kids – and even spouses – can be needy.  Work (especially if you’re trying to work from home at the same time as getting your degree) can cut into study time.  And even just around-the-house type work such as doing laundry, dishes, yard work, home repairs, making dinner, etc. can eat into time that should be spent hitting the books or on the computer.

However, by setting some clear boundaries – not only for others but for yourself as well –

can help you stay on track and organized when going to school from home.  Setting aside specific hours that are devoted only to coursework, designating the work space that was mentioned earlier, and doing your best to avoid home distractions can help keep you focused on your school work.  This might be easier said than done, but communication may be the key to success in this area.  By speaking with those within your household – whether adults, children or both – you can hopefully get them on the same page.  You can explain your situation, what you need to be successful in your online coursework, as well as how they can help out around the house or by just giving you the space and time you need to focus on your education.


Setting a Schedule

Again, this particular tip could be easier said than done.  When working on your online degree from home, getting into a set schedule may not be the easiest task in the world, but it certainly can be beneficial.  Understanding when you work best, when you have the most time available during the day to devote to studying, and determining how much time your coursework will typically take each day can be important factors in helping you get into a good routine.

Finding out you if you function best during the morning, afternoon or night, and pairing this information with when you might have time to yourself (after a spouse leaves for work, kids go to school or before or after they come home at night), and gauging just how many hours you have to devote to your coursework over a multi-day or week period, can help you begin to put together a timeframe in which you will hopefully be able to create the optimum schedule for your studies.


Having an Outside Retreat

Sometimes though, the home environment just might not be the best location for your studies.  There’s only so much you can do to avoid the distractions of other family members, the phone ringing, and those household chores that are beaconing to be handled.  This is when having an outside retreat might really come in handy.

Whether it’s the local library, coffee shop, a nearby college campus, or even a friend or family member’s home, having another location where you can just get away from all the distractions and responsibilities of home can make for a great retreat during those times when you really have to get some school work done and need a place to better focus upon your coursework.

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