By Susan Hoffman
Contributor, Online Learning Tips
For adult learners, taking online classes in order to earn a degree or certificate is challenging enough. You have to strike a balance between your family life, your job, and your classes, so that you don’t fall behind and miss class deadlines.
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But when you add a holiday season to all of those activities, maintaining your academic workload gets even more difficult. There are gifts to buy and wrap, the house to decorate, Christmas cards to send, special food to cook, and parties and other events to attend.
So how do you handle all the extra demands on your time during the holidays? Here are six tips that can help you to cope.
#1: Stay Organized and Have a Plan for Your Online Classes during the Holidays
First of all, create a plan to organize your time. Whether you prefer to make a checklist or create a calendar, make a complete list and be sure it shows class deadlines. This tactic will prevent you from falling behind and getting a lower grade for turning in late assignments.
#2: See If Others Can Handle Routine Holiday Tasks
If possible, ask your family members to help with the more routine holiday tasks this year. Those tasks could include decorating the house and Christmas tree, shopping for gifts and party food, or wrapping presents. Another time-saving option would be to do more gift-buying online to spare yourself the need to drive from store to store.
#3: Find Unexpected Pockets of Time in Your Day
Often, there are ways to work in some study time into your daily schedule. Consider reading your next ebook chapter during your lunch break, jotting down ideas for a forum post while Christmas cookies bake in your oven (don’t forget to set the timer!), or getting up an hour earlier to do homework while everyone else in your family is still sleeping.
#4: Turn in Assignments Early If You Can
Policies about when assignments are due vary from one instructor to another. If you have to attend an unmissable event at the same time an assignment is due, check with your instructor to see if you can turn it in ahead of time.
#5: Build in Some Relaxation during the Holidays
Just as muscles need to rest from intense activity, you – and your mind – need to rest at times. Be sure to add in some free time to your schedule to give yourself a mental break. That could come in the form of a 15-minute break after you write your first draft of an assignment or by taking one night off from logging into your ecampus.
#6: Recognize That You Might Have to Miss Some Events
Although it’s not easy to give up holiday get-togethers with family or friends, there might be times when you’ll have to say, “Sorry, I can’t make it.” But making these small sacrifices now will be worth it later when you have the satisfaction of holding your new diploma or certificate in your hands.
Remember: Even though you’re dealing with a lot of demands on your time during the holiday season, there are ways to achieve balance among your family and social life, job, and online classes. Happy holidays!
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