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Phoenix Forward magazine

5 study tips to make the most of your time

Study tips

Your busy life means study time is limited, so why not make the most of it? Here, two University of Phoenix instructors share strategies to help you balance schoolwork with the rest of your life:

Keep a time log.

Effective time management begins with knowing how much time you have, says Dawn Weldon, an instructor in the counseling program at the University’s New Orleans Campus.

“I have my students log how they spend their time for two days — whether it’s sleeping, eating, working, watching TV or playing on [social media],” Weldon says.

“It’s a huge eye-opener for many students,” she continues, noting that they often discover they’re wasting a lot of potential study time. Once students have learned how much time they have available, they can schedule study time. “I tell them to look for ‘holes,’” Weldon says, “even if it’s just 10 minutes here and there.”

Use a planner.

Gloria Pugliese, a former high school teacher and instructor of general studies courses at the University’s Philadelphia Campus, recommends figuring out a planning system that works best for you.

Pugliese’s students schedule study sessions each week based on their time logs. “We look at blocks of time that [students] cannot change,” she says, like their jobs, then schedule study time around those obligations whenever possible.

Students can use their smartphones, Google Calendar™ application or a traditional paper planner to create and manage their schedules, she notes. They also should schedule downtime, she stresses, to prevent burnout.

Weldon encourages her students to plan for each week’s learning team projects before scheduling individual study time. “You have less control over other peoples’ schedules,” she emphasizes, “so allocate [that] time before your own.”

Minimize distractions.

A lack of focus can wreck your precious study time, so both experts suggest that you turn off Facebook® and Twitter® social networks, silence your cellphone and choose a comfortable, dedicated place to work — away from interruptions.

“Many of my students recommend setting the University of Phoenix main page as your browser’s default home page,” Weldon adds, which can help you resist catching up on news or gossip on social media during study time. Pugliese encourages closing all browser windows and programs other than the one you’re using for your immediate assignment.

Take small steps.

Heavy workloads can be less intimidating if you break them into smaller chunks. “Try to tackle the difficult work first so [you] don’t put it off,” Pugliese advises. “It will make the rest of it seem easy.”

Weldon suggests an alternative approach, noting that many of her students prefer to finish the simplest tasks first and then tackle the challenging assignments.


Reward yourself.

Studying is hard work, and small motivators can help boost your morale — making study time more effective, Weldon says. “Use things like Facebook time or going to the mall,” she says, “as a reward for getting your schoolwork done.”


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