Time Management, Prioritizing and Balance Are Key to Staying Focused for Online Students
By Megan Hines
Marketing Staff, APUS
For many people, the summer months are a time to relax, travel or spend quality time with family and friends. But for American Public University (APU) or American Military University (AMU) students who take classes year-round, summer is also a time to continue working toward academic goals.
For adult learners, finding a balance between personal, professional and academic responsibilities can be tough. With the addition of summer activities, creating that balance becomes even tougher.
With that in mind, we recently asked members of our social media communities to share how they stay focused on their academic goals during the summer. Of the more than 700 responses we received, the most popular ways our students stay focused are through time management, prioritization and balance.
Time Management Tips from Our Students
“The summer is a time for many distractions with the kids out of school, family reunions and other events. I set a schedule for myself daily to include time for schoolwork to force myself to stay focused. My goal is to complete school and that helps me stay focused in times when it is challenging because everyone else seems to be having fun.” – Ninamarie Smith, APU student
“As an active-duty United States Marine currently stationed in Lansing, Michigan, I stay focused during summer months by maintaining a strict time management schedule and routine I do not deviate from.” – Immanuel Johnson, AMU student
Time management is key to every student’s success in the online classroom.
Prioritization Leads to Better Organization for Students
Another way that students stay focused on their coursework throughout the summer is by prioritizing their responsibilities to ensure that they remain on track to meet their educational goals.
“As an American Military University student, the summer months always seem to be the hardest to stay completely focused because everyone is out doing fun activities. My education always comes first though, so I always get my schoolwork and studies done before I think about going off and spending the day at the pool or beach. American Military University has been a lifesaver, being able to complete my education completely online with wonderful instructors and staff.” – Megan Mount, AMU student
“I stay focused by making priorities when it comes to my classes. I make the most important choices first and focus on getting those assignments done, and then I focus on the smaller assignments. I also try not to get frustrated and work on getting things completed, so I can spend time with friends and family enjoying some of the summer, but in the end the reward of a Master’s Degree is the biggest drive for me.” – Amanda Lambert, APU student
Juggling different priorities can become overwhelming, but maintaining productivity and utilizing various time management strategies can help alleviate the stress you may be feeling as you manage your workload.
Maintaining a Balance between Work, School and Life Is Helpful for Students
While time management and prioritizing responsibilities play major roles in successfully staying on track to completing a degree, what helps students the most is finding a healthy balance, they said.
“As an AMU student, having a good work/life/school balance is very important. During the summer months with the kids at home, it can make it difficult to focus. I try to plan out my week as best I can [to] take time for all of the important aspects of life. This includes assuring that you spend plenty of time with your family and a bit of time for yourself. Without this, the stress can really get to you. Keeping goals small and victories large can help assure that all of your ‘to-do’ items get done!” – Michelle Eckerman, AMU student
“In order to stay focused during the summer months, I keep in mind how important it is for me to reach my goals. In addition, I continue to stick to my daily schedule of balancing work, school and family summer activities. I have my mind frame set to reach my ultimate goal, but you have to balance that also with rest and relaxation in order to truly be successful! I want to wish you all the best of luck in your courses. Have a great summer!” – Amber Arjon, APU student
“It’s not about staying focused; success is about maintaining a balance. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was from my USAF Basic Military Training instructor wherein he told us to “spend one night on the weekend for yourself; spend the other on your goals.” He wasn’t pushing us to focus on one or the other, but instead [he was] giving us a valuable key to achieving balance. During these few months of beautiful weather, I make sure to enjoy it – that’s what keeps me focused.” – Justine Brechtel, AMU student
“Choosing to stay enrolled during the summer keeps me focused by knowing I am always one step closer to receiving my degree in hand. Although it is more of a challenge with four children home for the summer! Making sure I leave enough time to balance ‘fun out in the sun’ with quiet time to read and write for my studies all boils down to knowing what my expectations are for each week and in each class. Keeping a high GPA and graduating while staying on the Dean’s List keeps me focused as well!” – Heather Lucas, APU student
One way to ensure that you’re maintaining balance in your life is to schedule time to focus on self-care. To start, try factoring these five self-care strategies into your day.
Now that you know how some of your classmates stay focused during the summer months, we want to hear from you! Share with us how you stay focused in the comments below.