Due to the pandemic everything went online. This includes most schools and colleges too. Today you can find a free online course on almost everything from coding to digital marketing, all within a few clicks. You sign up for an online course that excites you a lot. Perhaps, like me, you will have to take another course before even completing the first course.
But that is just the start of the story. Finding the right free online course is Step 1. The next step is to complete the course you took. Perhaps you manage to enter the course and start work, but in the middle of the course module you cannot continue for some reason and you delay the completion of the course.
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Make small goals. Be practical while setting these goals. Keep other commitments in mind while doing so. Remember you have limited mental energy everyday. Somedays you may have 1 hour extra but you may not have the focus to study the course. Don’t push yourself. Ultimately, pushing yourself when you have a mental block or if you’re not working productively isn’t a good use of time.
Keep the end goal in mind. Remember why you started the free online course. Knowing why you started something is really important. The reason should be really clear. If you remember your Why, you will manage to complete the online course any How.
Create a space for your studies. Some people need silence, others like a great background music. Try to have everything you need at hand before sitting for your course. Have a dedicated study space. If your class were meeting in real life, you’d be in a classroom or lecture hall. While you don’t need to recreate that environment at home, having a dedicated study space will help you stay focused when it’s time to study and disconnect when it isn’t.
Your study space can be anywhere that helps you focus. Whether it’s in your bedroom, or even a chair on your balcony, get creative with the space you have. The only word of warning is to avoid somewhere that’s too comfortable or distracting.
Maintaining constant focus without even a small interruption makes study much more efficient. Unfortunately, you can’t control the world around you but there are ways to insulate yourself from it, the most obvious being to turn off notifications—learn not to jump to check an email or update the moment your phone or computer emits the familiar tone or alert pops up.
Put your phone in a drawer or another room to put yourself in the study bubble. Do what you can to eliminate or at least minimize distractions. Having a study space will help, but you can also use apps which mute notifications and lock apps for some time.
If you’re having trouble focusing on one assignment, use the Pomodoro technique to force yourself to study. Set a timer for 25 minutes, work only on one task, and then take a short break before repeating the process until your work is done.
The first step towards time management is knowing how much time you will need. Most free online courses have information about the estimated number of hours needed to complete any particular course. You should accordingly calculate and then estimate the time it will take you to complete. Make a simple to-do list. It’s easy to forget things when there’s no sense of time or space anymore.
Once you know the total number of hours required, divide that with the number of days you have. And make a schedule around your other commitments. Be realistic about how many hours you can commit each. If you don’t, you may fail and feel demotivated. Allocate time to check socials and emails and don’t go back until the next allocated time.
If you’re used to studying in groups, then make one.If your class has some kind of online discussion forum, post and ask questions there regularly. And once you’ve found some study partners, try to meet with them at the same time each week. This way, you’ll get the learning benefits of studying in a group andhave someone to hold you accountable. Also you can ask others doubts and discuss among yourself about some specific topic in the course.
Note taking is really important. It helps in increasing the retention too. Making notes also means you are actively paying attention. You won’t get distracted. And let’s say after a few months you get a doubt about something you read about during the online course, you can always look it up in the notes you prepared and clear your doubt. This also saves you time and effort.
These were hacks that will help you complete the free online course you took or you will take in the upcoming months. Make sure to use these hacks and save your time. Also don’t forget to make your own small hacks gradually.