To schedule or not to schedule… that is the question.

By Kelly Swanson

shakespeareOn-Demand studies are very demanding. That means you’re either going to struggle or rise to the occasion of high demand learning and punch the accelerator! I have had a pretty challenging time (still) with some of my courses because I am learning. Unlike English, Psychology, and Sociology, I struggle with Math, Accounting, and Statistics because it’s not what I work on everyday. I have to spend 2-3 times more on those later subjects than on the subjects I am most familiar with. Grasping that problem, understanding my weaknesses, and fixing them will ease over time, but you have to overcome this challenge pretty quick or you will be left behind as you progressively move forward in class. Learning those basic concepts early on allows an individual to maintain a steady learning curve and maintain their all-important GPA.

I am going to introduce some tools to help you schedule your time, and I highly recommend everyone uses them, but first I want to clarify some obvious issues we all face as students in our advanced on-Demand courses.

We all have jobs…

I work in Information Technology. I never use accounting, financial data, or statistics in my job. This is just not a part of my job. Some in my cohort are graphics people, doctors, and other types of jobs that don’t involve finance, which may have this same issue. Our brain wakes up and goes to work to do our tasks for the day, and then we must come home; turn off that learning/work mode, and turn on, then focus on a brand new subject while not thinking about the day’s activities or other items. This allows that learning process to blossom for that evening. Then we do it all over again the next day. This is an incredible, but not impossible challenge. Scheduling your time is critical, so that you force yourself to separate your time into smaller, processable chunks of knowledge. You might find this easier to learn, easier to manage.

Preparation (H)omework

Preparation! Yes it will save your… skin. Don’t wait till the last minute. Build a regiment and stick to it. I was given this advice early on from alumni and it really pays off. Read 2 days, do one class, each day after your reading days, this leads you to Friday. Go back, re-check your work against the samples, and make sure everything is correct by Friday night. Give yourself enough time on Saturday to check, prepare, and submit you due homework. This might give you a small break on Sunday, so that you have plenty of time to prepare for a test usually due on Sunday. If not you have a whole day for self-care or jump ahead to next weeks work.

Some tools I use all the time are:

Reminders (Mac,iPad, iPhone) – this tool allows you to set reminders when you arrive somewhere. If you are coming home, it reminds you upon your arrival that something is due. It also reminds you at intervals of time. Either way you will never forget an appointment with this tool. (Outlook will do the time-scheduled reminders, but not the location reminder.)

Evernote – This handy tool is a Swiss army knife for the web. When you’re surfing the web, it adds a button on your toolbar that allows you take a portion or all of the web page. It saves this along with other vital information so you can find it again. It also syncs up with Windows, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices to take along with you as a reference tool. You can add notes and markup on these papers, save them as PDF, share them over Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and send them as emails. It’s a great way to keep your web-files stored.

Evernote HELLO – This iPhone and Android tool takes your business cards and scans them into a catalogue, matches them to the web social networks and creates digital stats based on Twitter, LinkedIn Profiles, and Facebook’s info to provide you a personal database of your contacts with lots of extra information. Saves you a lot of time remembering who gave you that business card and puts a face to the card.

Many tools, to help you find your time, exist via Googling the term “schedulers.” Find one that works for you and stay on top of your work, stay ahead of the competition, and always utilize your best resources for advise or assistance such as alumni, your fellow cohorts, and T-Bird staff. They are here to help you reach your potential and guide you to success. Have fun! …And remember… the bird is the word!

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