Step 1 How will I find time to study?
Finding time to learn can be challenging in our day-to-day lives, so before committing to study it is useful to consider the time it will take to ensure you have time to study. Although learning at a distance does come with flexibility, it will often be up to you as the student to decide on your own study routine.
One of the things that many students tell us is that they worry about getting distracted in the time they have available for study.
As a first activity to help you to get a sense of the time you might have available for study complete this time planner.
The time planner will help you to think about all the things you spend time doing across a week. Try to include everything you do to help you map out the time that you might have available for study. Inevitably, some of you will be incredibly busy and juggling lots of things, while some of you might realise that you already have time available for study.
Now you have mapped out your available time for study, it is worth considering how to ensure you make the most of it in order to learn as effectively as possible.
One of the things that many students tell us is that they worry about being distracted in the precious time they have available for study.
Here are a few tips that students have shared with us about staying on track when studying:
- Plan your study time so that you have a realistic goal in mind and reward yourself on achieving it (for example, I will read this section for 40 minutes before I make that cup of coffee).
- Try to balance your free time and your study time – this will help you to maximise the learning opportunities available to you. It is good to take study breaks to socialise, as this can help with your studies, but do try to prioritise your learning (for example, arrange to meet a friend an hour later than usual knowing that you have used that extra hour for study).
- Studying at a distance often means using personal technology, such as your computer or mobile device. Try not to be distracted by text messages, emails or social media updates (for example, why not switch off notifications for these things when studying, and perhaps turn your mobile to silent or leave it in another room?)
- Make the most of the time you have available to study. This might mean having a regular study space at home that you don’t have to tidy before you start learning. If you are studying while travelling make sure you have the relevant materials with you (some materials can be downloaded to smart devices, which means you can listen or read them while on the move).
- If you feel yourself putting off study, tidying your work space, gazing out of the window or even sharpening your pencils, you have fallen into the trap of procrastination. When it comes to finding the time to study, just do it and make the most of the time you have available.
Having completed the activity, if there are any things that you are worried about when it comes to finding the time to study, you might find it helpful to note them here.
We hope that in working through the rest of this course you discover helpful strategies and resources to address your worries.
Mg Mg’s thoughts on this exercise
“When I completed the time plan I thought the only time I can study is in the evenings and weekends because of working the rest of the time. But the tip to study in chunks of 40 minutes made me think that I could study some lunch times too. I get an hour for lunch so there would still be time to eat. I’ve decided to try to study three lunch times a week and also on those days to do less study in the evening. This makes the schedule seem more manageable to me.
I also thought that studying isn’t all about reading and making notes. It’s also about thinking through ideas, and I can do this in the trishshaw to and from work.
I know the temptation to look at my phone to see what my friends are up to will be strong so I’m going to try to not look at my phone for the whole study period. But I will have to be very disciplined. I think being successful as a distance learner is about getting into good habits. If I resist looking at my phone when I’m studying for the first few days, it will get easier I think.”