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Over the next several weeks, I want to focus our attention on 10 Good Study Habits. Good study habits will make or break a student, especially a student who takes their courses online. The good news is if you do not have these habits, you can develop them.

So let’s begin with a look at the first study habit.

#1 Manage your time, resources, and priorities

I know this suggestion may sound obvious to some of you, and perhaps you feel you already manage your time, resources, and priorities. Even so, time management is one of the most popular topics in the world of personal development, so people must feel they can make improvements. So with that in mind, let’s explore this a bit.

As an instructor, I often receive email messages from even the best of students asking for an additional day or two to complete an assignment. Invariably, something came up that threw off their schedule and now they need more time. In most cases, it is something unexpected that could not be avoided. What can we do to work around these ‘unexpected somethings’ and still get our homework done?

One sure fire way to avoid situations like this is to plan your work and work your plan. I know most of you have heard this before, but it is solid advice. A good time management plan will help you to avoid missing deadlines.

Time management will not eliminate those unexpected things that come up and throw off your schedule. But you can plan your time to make allowances for such things.

Beth and I recommend to our students that they plan on 1-2 hours a day on five days a week for study and homework.  That adds up to 5 to 10 hours a week, which is a good place to start. Of course, you may have to adjust your time commitment for more difficult subjects or if you take more than one course at a time.

Most of us have a somewhat regular schedule during the week, so why not add this into your schedule Monday through Friday. For those of you who work odd hours or have other commitments will have to adjust your plan, but the main idea is to set a regular schedule that you can keep. I like the idea of a couple of hours a day, Monday through Friday, because it allows me to keep my weekends free for other things.

However, there is another benefit to this routine. If one of those ‘unexpected somethings’ comes up during the week and throws off your schedule, you have the weekend to catchup! I leave Saturday and Sunday open for this very reason.

As a student, I scheduled my time to complete all my school work early in the mornings during the week. Then, when an ‘unexpected something’ came up (and they will!), I had Saturday morning to catch up. Following this strategy allowed me to complete my work on time and turn it in before the due date on Sunday evening.

Rather than waiting for the weekend to complete your homework, work hard during the week and keep your weekends free!

By the way, if you are not scheduling a day off each week just to rest and relax, look at your schedule. Taking a day off from your studies and other commitments makes a big difference in your outlook, and in some cases, it can help you avoid burnout, which is a big problem for students who work, raise a family, and go to school. Following the Monday through Friday schedule allowed me to take off Sundays just to goof off and spend time with my friends and family.

Well, after all of that, I did not get to managing your resources and priorities. I will leave that topic for next week.