It’s Time Allocation not Time Management!

In our November post, we discussed three things military-related students could do to get a handle on their schoolwork.

  • Step one – Make the commitment
  • Step two – Use a calendar and make a schedule
  • Step three – Find a place to focus on your schoolwork

In this post, we will look more closely at Step Two and how to manage the time available to us.  Our main focus will be on managing your time if you are taking online college courses.

The first thing for an online military-related student to realize is that time itself cannot be managed! Yes, that’s right, we really cannot manage time. We do not have the capability of speeding time up, slowing tie down, or stopping it for that matter. What we really have the ability to do is to manage the time available to us and how to best use that time, or we can allocate our available time to accomplish things.

As human beings, we all have the same amount of time available to use to use; and yes, it is the same amount of time that all online military-related student have!

We all have 24-hours in a day, giving us 168-hours per week at our disposal.

So where do you begin? The first thing to do is to take an assessment of the tasks you do in a single day and how much time you devote to them.  Here is an example:

Daily Task Time in Hours
Sleeping 7
Working 8
Commuting 1
Eating (includes cooking time) 2
Watching TV 2
House Cleaning/Taking Care of Kids 2
Playing Video Games 1
Social Media 1
Total Time Used 24
Time Available for Coursework 0

From our example, you would conclude that you do not have time to do your coursework, therefore why should you take online college courses? Your right! In any given day, you may not have the time available to do your coursework. Ah, but remember, you have 168 hours in a week to play with.

For the average online three-credit course, a student should plan on 5 to 8 hours per week of dedicated coursework in order to do well. The range of 5 to 8 hours is based upon the length of the online term. In an 8-week online term, a military-related student should expect to spend 8 hours per week doing related coursework per course. In an 11-week online term, a student should expect to spend at least 5 hours per week doing coursework.

So let’s look how we can find more available time.  Remember, it’s about commitment and priorities.

Sleep 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
Working 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
Commuting 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Cooking/Eating 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Watching TV 2 2 0 1 0 2 1 1
House Cleaning/Taking care of Kids 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Playing Video Games 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1
Social Media 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1
Total Time 24 22 21 23 20 22 23 23 154
Time Available for Coursework 0 2 3 1 4 2 1 1 14

Using the above example, you can see that we were able to make 14 hours of our total time available to devote to doing coursework. One of the most useful tools you have to help you with your time allocation plan is to use your course syllabus. The course syllabus will provide you with the dates and times assignments and projects are due. With this information, based on your priorities for a given day/week, you can better “allocate” your time to accomplish all that you need to do.

I have kept things simple for illustration purposes. Life is rarely this simple. You have to keep in mind, each day and each week may be different, as life has a tendency to throw us a curve-ball from time to time. You may have to work overtime or travel for your job. You may have sick children or a spouse on your hands. Or your car may break down. Whatever the situation or circumstance, all of these things will cut into the time available to you, so you will need to prioritize and reallocate your time accordingly.

Posted in : Education, Education Benefits, GI Bill, Military Friendly, Military Tuition Assistance, Online Education, Veterans, Veterans Education
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