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‘Just register!’ they said … ‘It will be easy.’ they said … ‘You will still have time for the things you love to do’, they said … so I registered and soon realized they might have been wrong!

But there is ways to make it easy on yourself. There is ways to still have time for the things you love. So how then?


Step 1: Time Management

The most common culprit of free time is TV. Most adults spend about 20 hours per week watching TV. I am not saying you should never watch TV; I’m suggesting that you give up watching the TV shows that do not really interest you. Free up your time. Record what you love for viewing on demand and nix the rest of that dead TV time.  Reducing your TV time by 10 hours per week will result in 10 hours of free time to devote to your online education. Ten hours of free time per week is enough to complete this course.


Step 2: Start Out Part-Time

Do you know how many courses you can take at once and still remain sane? Enroll part-time and find out. Plan on each course requiring about five hours of study time per week. Some courses, especially ones where you may need tutoring or webinars, can require up to ten hours of study time per week. If you plan to enroll in two courses, be prepared to put aside 10 to 15 hours of study time each week.


Step 3: Put Your Dreams and Goals in Writing

Earning an online degree will not be easy. You will encounter obstacles. Though it may sound silly, I encourage you to write down why you want to do this course. Write down all your reasons and put them where you will see them often, like the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.


Step 4: Claim a Study Space

Many people start an online course, only to drop out three weeks into their studies. One of the most common reasons for this is that online learning is hard work. It takes time and it takes discipline. The first thing to do is to find a place to claim as your own. Make sure everyone in the family understands it is your sacred spot. Put up a DO NOT DISTURB sign. Even if you can’t follow all the tips for success in online courses, your odds of completing this course will increase if you find a study spot.


Step 5: Make a Study Plan and Stick to It

Once you register for an online course, establish a home study schedule. On your first study day each week, read any required materials and take notes. Go back a few days later to review your reading notes and work on any written homework or other assignments. Now that you have identified your regular study times, tell everyone in the family. Post a notice on the refrigerator that you will be studying at predetermined times each week. Ask family members to respect this time. Make sure everyone understands you are not to be disturbed during your study time.   Never skip a study time. Always sit down at your station at study time. Do this even if you don’t have pressing homework to complete. Keeping a regular schedule will help prevent procrastination. If you find yourself sitting at your desk and looking at your books, but not reading, remind yourself that you only have to study for a short amount of time. Set a timer. At the end of that time, close the book and give yourself a break.


Step 6: Plan for Child and Elder Care Issues

If you have children, you’ll need to plan for their care while you are studying. Childcare can be expensive so try opting for study time when you have a friend or family who can keep an eye on the kids for the hour or two while you are busy.


Step 7: Seek Support from Your Employer

People do not handle studying in the same way. Some are very excited about their course, so they tell the world about their new online courses. Others are embarrassed that they do not have a formal education and don’t talk about it. The latter tend to keep quiet that they have registered for a course. Keeping quiet about your course will make it difficult for you to garner support at work. For example, you may need to leave work to attend your required webinar. Many employers will contribute to an employee’s tuition and training bills. Don’t forget to ask about tuition assistance plans at your place of employment. If you work for a small company, try asking for tuition assistance to cover the expense of specific online courses that may directly correlate to your work.


(Extracts used from 7 Tips for Success in Online Courses written by Vicky Phillips)