As an online student, with all the responsibilities you're juggling, you may often feel like you're auditioning to be a super hero. You’re determined to perform in your classes, which is certainly a noble goal and one you should take seriously. Before you decided to go back to school, however, you probably had enough on your plate to keep you busy. So how do you balance it all? Maybe you can be a super hero, sans cape (unless you really want to wear one!). Here are a few tips for how to go about it.
- Keep a Schedule or List of Priorities. If you don’t have a clear picture of your priorities for the day, week, or month, you’ll likely have no idea which you should tackle first. If you try to complete tasks on the fly without consideration, it’s inevitable that something will slip through the cracks, whether it’s an assignment that was due yesterday or your daughter’s soccer game that you promised you would attend.
- Don’t Become a “Yes” Man/Woman. You’re a people pleaser. You want to make sure everyone is happy with you, from you boss to your instructor to your children, but saying “yes” to any and all requests you receive will only make you feel overwhelmed. Conversely, it’s probably not a good idea to say “no” to everything either. So where’s the middle ground? It can be easier to find if you evaluate each request and consider where it fits within your plan for the week. Many of the requests you receive will be important, but it’s unlikely that all of them are crucial. Organize requests by priority and due date to avoid any future headaches.
- Avoid Multitasking. It used to be that the multi-tasker was coveted on the job, but recent research has shown that in trying to juggle multiple tasks at a time actually decreases productivity. Now, that’s not to say that you should work solely on one task until it’s finished, particularly if it’s a large project. Instead, set aside a period of time where you will work only on that project before moving on to another task or taking a break. Organizing your time in “buckets” rather than free-for-alls of tasks can reduce stress and improve focus.