Time Management Techniques

Distance education classes require as much time and effort as face-to-face classes, if not more. You have enough time to get everything done if you learn how to manage your time properly. Without structure, you might be tempted to put off class work until the last minute. Plan ahead and give yourself extra time to complete assignments, because technology difficulties can slow the process. Below are suggestions to help you manage your time more effectively:

1. Make a Schedule:

Get an idea of what is expected of you throughout the term. Determine course requirements,
reading assignments, projects, etc. Set deadlines and stick with them.

2. Make a "To Do" List Every Day:

List things that are most important at the top and do them first. Use a planner or a calendar to track your tasks.

3. Concentration:

Even when you set a schedule there are still things that can interfere with studying. What you accomplish when studying is not just about the amount of time you spend studying, but how you use that time. Concentration is your ability to focus your attention on one specific task and ignore everything else. There are two types of distractions that effect concentration. Internal distractions such as hunger, worry, etc. External distractions such as noise.

4. Study in Short Time Blocks:

Study in shorter time blocks with short breaks between. This keeps you from getting fatigued and wasting time. This type of studying is efficient because while you are taking a break, the brain is still processing the information.

5. Use Spare Minutes Wisely:

Short blocks of time can be used for organization and review. For example, during lunch hour, while waiting on children at a ball game, etc. Take advantage of free time.

6. Reward Yourself:

When you accomplish your goals give yourself a reward. Plan relaxation time before bed to help you unwind. It is easier to make the transition from work to relaxation if you study at your desk.

7. Don't Waste Time Agonizing:

Have you ever wasted an entire evening worrying about something that you're supposed to be doing? Was it worth it? Instead of agonizing and procrastinating, just do it.

8. Keep Things in Perspective:

Setting goals that are unrealistic sets you up for failure. While it's good to set high goals for yourself, be sure not to overdo it. Set goals that are difficult yet reachable.


  • Deese, E.K., & Deese, J. (1994). How to Study and Other Skills for Success in College. New York: McGraw-Hill. 
  • Ellis, D.B. (1991). Becoming a Master Student. (Seventh Edition), Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Mass.
  • Gottschalk, T.H. (2000). Strategies for Learning at a Distance. [online]. Available: http://eo.uidaho.edu/. (July, 12th, 2001).
  • Pauk, Walter, (1989) How to Study in College, 4th. Edition Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston
  • Wong, Linda, (1994) Essential Study Skills, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Mass.