Time Management

Going back to school as an adult student has challenges, but it can also be extremely rewarding! You will most likely be a much more disciplined student than you have ever been. If you’re considering going back to school, you’re probably wondering how you’ll find the time to fit everything in. You’re not alone! It can definitely be done with good planning and time management.

Tips for Success:

Stay Motivated

Try not to lose momentum, even if unexpected things happen and you get off track. If you have setbacks, take time to reflect, remember your goal, and decide how and when to get back to your study routine.

Stay Organized

Planning on a daily basis is a fundamental part of managing time. What works for one person may not work for another, so find the strategies that work best for you.

Reward Yourself for Your Accomplishments

Making the decision to go back to school is the first accomplishment! Do something special for yourself.

Time Management Tips

You may not be able to manage all the events and activities you’ve juggled in the past. Being a student is your new priority, and it’s okay to scale back your schedule a little bit. You’ll only be studying a short time in the big scheme of things, so make learning and studying a priority—it will be worth it when you get your diploma!

Mark assignment due dates, discussion deadlines, or group meetings, and take a few minutes daily to set your daily and weekly priorities. The clock/alarm app on your phone is another great way to hold yourself accountable to the schedule you set.

Find time, even if it’s only 20-30 minutes. You’d be surprised at how much you can get done in a short amount of time. This also assures that the material stays fresh in your mind all week long.

Break large assignments up into smaller tasks. If you make a list of all the tasks required to complete the assignment, you’ll find it easier to tackle and you’ll be able to cross things off your list faster.

Deadlines will keep you on track and allow you to achieve success at smaller intervals.

Listen to music without lyrics when you can’t stay focused. This kind of music will soothe and inspire you, but won’t distract you by making you want to sing along.

Use a comfortable chair that you can sit in for a few hours without discomfort, and be sure there’s ample space for your laptop/computer, books, papers, and a cup of coffee! If you don’t have a home office, feel free to set up a card table in a quiet room in your home—it works just as well.

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to stay on top of your game is to get a good night’s sleep. If you’re burning the midnight oil on a project and notice that you feel exhausted, or that your eyes are getting weary (or even closing!) you are likely not retaining much of what you’re learning. Go to bed, and plan to get up early the next day to finish. Your comprehension skills and overall performance will be notably better after getting sleep and giving your eyes a break.

Plans and lists are helpful, but distractions and interruptions are inevitable. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t always go according to your plan.

Figure out when/how you do your best work and save your most difficult work for the times when you’re at your peak.

usf adult learner guide

Adult Students

Many of you are now trying to juggle your own learning with your child’s remote learning. Here are some strategies
for doing that:

Dedicate a space for your child’s home “classroom.” This can be a table in the kitchen or dining room or a desk in their bedroom. By having their own space, they will associate it with a time to work and focus on school. If a dedicated space is not an option in your home, set up some boxes or bins for children to organize their work.

Turn everyday tasks into school-related activities when you can. Your children will have formal assignments, but they can learn all day long! If you’re making pancakes for breakfast, have your child measure the ingredients (math) or read the recipe (reading). Talk about how the batter changes from liquid to solid (science). Research how pancakes are made in other countries (social studies). Have fun with learning!

A schedule helps everyone know what to expect. A start and stop time with breaks built in is important, but read your child and know when you have to make adjustments to the schedule.

Try to work some physical activity into everyone’s day. Take the dog for a walk, go for a bike ride or play ball on the driveway. Everyone needs a break and being outdoors when possible gives everyone a fresh perspective on their work.

Ask for help if you need it. Remote learning is new to everyone and your child’s teacher is there to help.

Do what you know is right for your child and your family. Keep your expectations for yourself and your child reasonable and strive for balance.

group of smiling students

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