Balancing Act: Finding Success with Online Classes

Ah, the freedom of learning from the comforts of your home. How wonderful does that sound? There would be no need to get up at a certain time or find yourself stuck in traffic jams. Better yet, you can stay in your comfy clothes and drink coffee at your leisure while still completing course work. Sounds amazing, right? And if you plan and execute properly, you could also find yourself in this same position.

So how does one plan, implement, and prepare for successful online classes? As mother of three children, student at Penn State World Campus at least three-quarters of my time, and intern part-time in human resources for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, I have a lot on my plate. But despite my numerous tasks, I still maintain my honor roll status. Here’s how I manage my time — and maybe my tips will help you achieve the best possible experience with your own course work.

We all have the same amount of time in each day to accomplish everything with success and minimal stress. It takes a lot of work at first, but soon you can develop a forced habit. Over time and with scads of advice from successful peers, I have learned to use these exceptional strategies that I will share with you, in the hope that you, too, can succeed!

  • Focus is vital as you prepare for each and every day. It takes only a few minutes to prepare for the next task, or the subsequent day, and you will be glad you did —especially if something unexpected comes up. Live each day on task. This will grow sustainability in your progress while, at the same time, leaving you with a sense of accomplishment. Try a little meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises to get rid of negative energy or unhealthy toxins in your body before starting your day.

    ihtatho for Flickr
  • Be prepared for the unexpected — you know, those inconvenient accidents, errors, and equipment malfunctions that may pop up when you least expect them. I live with this philosophy: Never wait until later because when later comes, so does the mayhem. Even if you have plenty of time to get an assignment finished, it is better to start early and finish early. Be late for being early, if need be (Thank you, SpongeBob). As I prepare for the following day, I think about what needs to be done, what I can get ready now, or what can wait, etc. Then I execute my plan.
  • Plan out your day, whether that involves your course work, errands, things not school-related, or family affairs. I cannot stress this point enough. To implement a plan of attack will give you direction and help you complete all necessary online course work, as well as accomplish your tasks effectively and efficiently.
  • Minimize stress. When you are not prepared, your stress level will increase. Stress will consume so much of your energy that completing your course work will become labored, ultimately impacting your quality of course work. How do you minimize stress? You can alleviate this by delegating assignments around the house to other household members, concentrate on what needs to be finished in order of importance, and at the same time recognize when you need a break. If you are mentally exhausted, you will mostly likely start making mistakes. Rest for a few minutes or take a walk. Returning after a bit will leave you feeling refreshed and focused again.
  • OHIO (Only Handle It Once). When you have assignments to complete, it is best to work on them and, when finished, put them where they belong. I know that with time constraints, integrating this idea this can be difficult; however, it is vital to be proactive in organizing your work. It is easy to misplace, lose, or destroy whatever we have worked so hard on. I think of this as an adult version of picking up your toys after playing with them. Now you know why it is a good practice to start now if you haven’t already. Once an item is in your hand, put it where it belongs when you are finished.
  • Treat yourself. Finally, please give yourself some free time to relax and unwind from the day’s activities. You are worth it and you certainly deserve it.

I hope I have offered good strategies to help you achieve a positive outcome in your online learning. I have become successful in my endeavors by practicing these rules. I hope they will do the same for you as well.

Namaste —
Cheryl Horvath is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in labor and employment relations from Penn State World Campus.