5 Time Management Tips for Online Students

Lizzie Ottenstein
Shreejana Mainali
A white table clock being held by a person’s hand.

The transition online was thought to be temporary, but these unprecedented times have forced students to finish the school year online. Technical issues aside, distraction and lack of effective time management skills are major challenges college students are currently facing while studying remotely. Between balancing mental health, online school, and family obligations, building an effective time management system is crucial to excel academically.

Read on to discover the 5 most effective time management tips for online students.

➜ 1. Create your course schedule 

One way to best manage your time for upcoming classes and coursework is by creating a fixed course schedule. Review the syllabus ahead of class and take note of credit hours, due dates, and exam dates on a calendar. Craft a specific weekly timeline (mention exact time and hours for each course) to study and finish assignments according to your priorities. Always stay updated with your school’s schedules and announcements to make quick and manageable adjustments to your study schedule. 

➜ 2. Setup deadlines

Knowing deadlines will help you meet them on time without unwanted stress. Mark deadlines on your calendar or even better, download an app like ToDoist or Remember the Milk that sends weekly or daily reminders of upcoming deadlines. Make sure you break down every major project/ assignment into simple pieces to keep things manageable. Break down your weekly deadlines into daily to do lists everyday. 

➜ 3. Set goals and Be S.M.A.R.T

Every student has different learning goals and figuring out yours is the best way to stay organized. Follow the S.M.A.R.T approach. Your goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. It’s best to make a list of progressive goals that you’ll meet throughout the process while meeting the one main goal and arranging time accordingly to achieve each one of them. 

➜ 4. Time-box your activities

Time-boxing is a super-effective time management technique that forces you to breakdown daily tasks into periods of time. Most students have a habit of working on one task at a time and often stick to it no matter how long it takes. Timeboxing forces you to focus on time instead of tasks.  To use the timeboxing method, start by estimating how long each task will take to finish and set a timer to alert you to move on to the next timebox when you’ve competed the first. Take regular breaks to avoid exhaustion. 

➜ 5. Avoid multitasking 

There’s a misconception among students that multitasking is an effective way to save time and get things done but that’s not true. It’s actually a myth. Rather than focusing on doing two things at once, students should focus more on prioritizing one task at a time before moving on to the next. 

For more tips to maximize your time, inform your family and friends about your online learning schedule. Delegate and share household chores with family or roommates. Avoid saying yes to unnecessary online gatherings and prioritize which ones to attend. 

Want to know more about how to succeed in your online education journey? Read our student guide!