Your Life Schedule And Online Education

In our day and age ability to organise our schedule and prioritise day-to-day tasks is essential and I honestly believe no more time needs to be wasted in convincing you that statement is true!

Just in case you are not 100% convinced yet, however, let me be even clearer by saying that being able to organise your schedule effectively and navigate between all the important roles in your life is not only important, but imperative if you are an online student.

It is really lovely that we can study at our own pace and have access to the course materials and to the video and other interactive materials at any time, but like everything else in life – too good is not always good… If you do not have the will, the habit and the tools to ensure your schedule is duly arranged and if you do not make sure you stick to it, it’s really easy to start letting things “fall through the cracks”, forget deadlines or leave assignments and tests for the last minute.

Being able to effectively schedule your days is an amazing ability that has the potential to multiply your personal and professional results. It does not require any financial outlay and it is a skill that can be mastered in a relatively short period of time, if you put your mind to it.

Once you get into the habit of sticking to a couple of basic principles, it will not require any special effort – at the end of the day, it’s your own life  and priorities you will be managing.

The principles are two: first eliminate and then prioritise. Sounds simple, right? I thought so too …, until I actually tried it for the first time.

As strange as it may seem, you will be surprised of the number of unimportant things we all do on a daily basis! Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate.

There is even a scientific principle (with an actual mathematical formula!) in support of this: The Pareto principle (aka the 80–20 Rule, the Law of the Vital Few or the Principle of Factor Sparsity), which basically states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This is true for all areas of life and (this is a promise) you will be amazed at the results you would personally achieve, if you spend even as little as a day asking yourself (and responding honestly) “What 20% of the things I do on a regular basis loose 80% of my time”. Once you identify these “time-eaters” – Eliminate!

How to define what’s important? My personal favourite is “If something will not be important in 5 years, it’s not important now either” (may seem urgent, but is not important…).

This may seem a bit too much, if you are just starting with getting your life schedule so organised, so feel free to use any other definition you feel comfortable with, Whatever definition you decide to go by, just please make sure to fill your “jar of life with large stones first”. (…and if you have not read the story about the jar of life, I strongly recommend you do…).

In general, your schedule should be weekly. You might want to start by outlining the “MUST DOs” for the week or the things that you absolutely must and want to get done during this period. Having these important for you items listed for each week will help you plan your days and will definitely help you say “No” the unimportant stuff that inevitably comes your way from time to time. And from there it’s just a matter of prioritising on a daily basis.

Having a plan for your day is important, but rather than considering it a schedule, think of it as of your action plan. To fully benefit from that, we recommend that in addition to coffee, you get into the habit of beginning each day with a pen and a post-it. Take 10 minutes in the beginning of each day to outline the important things you want to get done that day to make sure you are at least one step closer to completion of your scheduled tasks for the respective week and definitely make sure to check the date ans ensure any items with set dates are included in your daily plan. Such daily action planning will help you stay focused, while in the same time adjusting to the inevitable changes in circumstances we all face all the time.

Again, whatever the criteria you feel make the most sense to you, please just make sure you have your priorities sorted right. Ask yourself “What are the large stones in my life?” (Health? Family? Friends? Certain goals?) “What makes me happy?”, etc. and schedule time for these most important things first.

Assuming completing your online course is amongst your top priorities (which should logically be the case if you landed on this page and are reading this blog at first place…), the tips above will ensure you stay focused and are always where you really want to be with your studies. Needless to say, of course, that you need to have completion dates of tasks, deadlines for submission of homework and course works, exam dates, etc. all duly noted in your schedule.

Online education can most definitely fit into any given life schedule and enhance it because it symbolises doing something for yourself. An online course on a topic that interests or excites you or that will help enhance your career can give your future a boost in more ways than one. It can open doors on your current career path or help change your career successfully. It can help you get that pay raise you so need to finally get the finances in order or improve your skills, so that you can develop you full potential.

There are so many courses out there and it does not have to be a degree, as is commonly thought. Whatever the topic, and however long the course, you can plan it into your life schedule as your “me time”. Another way to look at it is that it gives you an excuse to get away from everything else life has to throw at you… and it’s always a nice to have option!

In that sense, online education could help shrug off the stresses and strains of our modern daily life and do something we always wanted to do – all from the comfort of our own homes and in our own time. For that alone it is worth the effort to make time in our life for it.

There are literary thousands of options for online courses and educational programs – both free and at a cost. You may want to start with something shorter and cheaper or you may feel ready and willing to take-up academic subjects or courses that last for more than a couple of months. If choosing something that may take years to complete, just please make sure that the dedication is there before you start! That, in combination with some dedication to stick to your schedule will ensure no mishaps!

It is most definitely doable to fit your desired course in your schedule no matter  how busy it might currently seem to you. You can fit this in your life and plan it around your existing commitments by using the tips above.

Good luck!!!