The Pioneer Post

The Pioneer Post is a resource for online students that provides tips and information about distance education.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Attending college courses from the comfort of your own home is an amazing and practical way to complete coursework and earn your degree on your own time. However, many distance learning students can get too comfortable with their surroundings, and this comfort can adversely affect homework, projects, and, ultimately, grades. What follows is a list of tips to help you stay focused when working on your degree from home.

Plan out your day. Managing your time and having a plan for each day is a great way to stay on top of your coursework and not get behind. Make a schedule and block out your time, dedicating specific periods of time for reading and note-taking, completing homework, and working on long-term projects. Sticking to the schedule will help create boundaries for yourself and increase your productivity.

Minimize your distractions. This is especially important if you are working from home. Don’t be tempted to turn the television on if you know it will keep you from working. If you like to listen to music, make sure that it is nothing more than background noise. Anything that diverts your attention from the task at hand will cut into valuable time needed to complete your coursework.

Have a dedicated work space. If you don’t have a home office or place to study, find a place to spread out and get to work. Keep a clear, clutter-free area with enough room to have books and notebooks open so that you don’t have to constantly hunt down any necessary information. Try to make sure that the space you decide to use is conducive to being productive with your studies; refrain from using the couch if at all possible.

Set goals and take breaks. If you are properly managing your time, you will more than likely begin to finish things in a timely fashion. However, some subjects and courses are more difficult than others. When you are facing a particularly challenging assignment, break it up into manageable chunks and set goals for yourself on how you would like to go about completing the assignment. One you have reached a particular milestone, reward yourself with a break. Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee or a brief television program. Once you’ve gotten some rest, get back to work. You will feel a sense of accomplishment and relaxation by doing this.

Change your environment. Sometimes working from home is just not always feasible. Perhaps on a certain day, there are other people around the house, increasing your chances of getting off-task and distracted. When this happens, it’s advisable to have a go-to place to work on your assignments. Maybe you have a favorite coffeehouse you’d like to visit where you can work on your assignments or readings. Public libraries and university libraries are great places to go as well and offer optimal environments for studying.

This article is contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who regularly writes on how to become a teacher in California. She invites your questions at her personal email address: kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com.



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