Skip To Main Content

How to Manage Time Efficiently as an Online Student

January 26, 2023

Whether you are taking just one online course or fully enrolling in an online school like Dwight Global Online School, you will need to effectively manage your time in order to succeed.  

What does time management actually mean for online learning students? 

For online learners, time management skills and strategies are crucial, and slightly different than time management for students in a brick and mortar school, where the learning environment is controlled for the student. 

Keep in mind the following time management tips to get the most out of your online experience.

 time management tips for online students

Set up a virtual office, and use it

One of the many advantages of online learning is being able to have flexible spaces for optimal learning. Be careful not to turn this advantage into a learning obstacle, however! 

Be disciplined about where you work. Find a dedicated, quiet spot that eliminates distractions and encourages focus, and one that isn’t used for another purpose. Avoid studying from bed or on a couch that is in front of a television, for example. 

Create a space where everything you need is close at hand, including water and any books or printed-out materials.

Set up a schedule, and stick to it

Another special benefit of online learning is flexibility in scheduling. 

At Dwight Global, students have both scheduled, live classes as well as asynchronous work, providing more time for students to pursue outside passions, like athletics or performing arts. This scheduling also allows students to plan their work according to their own learning style, maximizing their time and teaching them important time management skills important in college and university and in the professional world.

Time management for online students is vitally important for online students, who learn early to become responsible for their own learning

The best students plan ahead and set up several schedules. They also find a platform that works for them: online calendars, physical paper calendars, or a combination of both. 

For academic subjects, create a schedule that breaks down assignments into chunks, so each step is achievable. Find a way to collect each subject’s monthly schedule, and combine those so you can see where two tests fall on the same day, or more than one paper is due in the same week. 

In advance of each approaching month, also set up a monthly calendar that outlines and overlays academics with social, sports, and family events. This time management strategy is the best way to see where conflicts arise and where a busy school schedule conflicts with outside pursuits.  Knowing the busiest weeks in advance can help you plan ahead, work efficiently to complete all work, and get help to reschedule conflicts, if possible.

Develop a anti-distraction mindset

Multitasking might seem like an effective time management tool, but not when it comes to academics. Listening to a podcast while taking a walk outside is effective time management, but when it comes to studying, multitasking is a hindrance to good time management, and lowers productivity. 

Create lists to prioritize tasks and focus on one task at a time. Toggling between social media or playlists and academics will take you far away from creating deep concentration, and make it harder to comprehend and complete assignments. 

Discipline your mind to work on one thing for a full, uninterrupted 25-40 minutes, and then take a break. 

“When working or studying from home, there are many opportunities for distraction, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach to being able to focus,” said Laurel Aquadro, Dwight Global’s Head of Learning Support and Quest.  “It's important to build a toolkit by learning about different kinds of strategies and testing them out to see which ones work for you.”

Take physical and mental breaks

Neuroscience research shows that the human brain can focus intently for 25-40 minutes at a stretch, and then reaches a point of diminishing returns.  

Use the science to your advantage, and focus on one subject or project for a concentrated 25-40 minutes, and then take a break away from your desk and computer for between 5-15 minutes. 

Use your break time to do something physical and move around, preferably outside. It is important that your eyes are not taking a break on another screen checking social media or playing games. Moving around helps the brain process information, and cements the learning, so get moving in between study periods.

Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is essential to processing the day’s information, including learning, and for short-term and long-term health. Schedule time to sleep at least 7-9 hours a night, so you are fresh for the next day’s activities.

Time for sleep and time for a multitude of daytime activities are interdependent. If your day is well managed in terms of time, that will provide enough room in your daily 24-hour schedule to get enough sleep. 

Advance planning, avoiding distractions, studying effectively at a designated space, and a focused mindset will all help you manage your time well enough to get a good night’s sleep every day. 

Visit Dwight Global Online School for more information about this accredited, nationally ranked, established online middle and high school offering Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate academic programs