Getting yourself organised before you start any home learning courses is an essential study skill. Being methodical in your study approach helps to keep procrastination at bay, but also helps to keep stress levels low and the end in sight.
So, what do you need to know to stay organised?
A Place to Study
Finding a suitable place to work and study is a challenge for most people. You may find you just can’t work with the background noise of the radio, catchy cartoon jingles, or your kids arguing with each other.
We can all become rigid in the ‘right’ places to study, probably as a result of many years of sitting at the same desk in the same classroom at the same school. However, in recent years, the art of studying has become more relaxed with a wider understanding that sometimes, being seated at a desk for hours on end is not the right place for some students.
You need to understand what works best for you. There may be a quiet space at work you enjoy in which could grab an hour or two every now and then. Public spaces such as libraries are also great for quiet study. Even snatching 20 minutes reading an article or surfing the web for research on your daily commute will help you fit in your studies.
IMPORTANT – maintain a flexibility to your approach to your place of study and recognise that no matter where you study, you are still working hard and gaining a valuable qualification.
3 Key Questions
- Where will your main place of study be?
- Do you have a choice in where you can study, or do personal circumstances dictate the ‘where’ of your study time?
- What kind of study place suits you best? For example, do you need a peaceful and quiet setting, free from distractions and interruptions, or can you work with family life happening around you?
The Study Environment – The Practicalities
The ‘where’ of studying has many practical and personal considerations, but it is important that you have space to spend time on your studies. At times in your course, you will need to submit assignments or coursework for marking. With a looming deadline, you will need to get your head down in order to complete the work.
But there are some practical considerations;
- Space – you need space to be able to spread out your work, textbooks and papers.
- Lighting – you want adequate lighting that doesn’t cause you to strain your eyes.
- Distractions – distractions are annoying, causing you to lose focus.
- Equipment – you may need access to the internet, or other materials to help you complete your work.
3 Key Questions
- How will you minimise distractions?
- Do you need to invest in certain kinds of equipment, such as a PC or laptop?
- Where will you keep your study materials so that they are accessible?
When to Study
Part of being organised is knowing when to take advantage of time, and that means working at a time that suits you, but that also allows you access to the place where you study best.
Some students draw up a timetable. This can be a monthly timetable or a schedule that lasts for the duration of a module or course unit.
It identifies the core times that you know you can work without distraction and that fits with work, life and family commitments.
By organising your time and schedule, you also organise your workload. This means you prevent the stockpiling of work before a key date or deadline, spreading your work and studies out across a wider timeframe.
When the volume of work becomes too much, it can seem like an unconquerable mountain. This leads to procrastination, and this can lead to you not completing your studies. By organising the place you study and organising your time, you can manage your studies more effectively.
3 Key Questions
- Looking at your week as a whole, how many study slots can you identify?
- Do you have a work, study and life balance in your study timetable?
- Have you left some study slots ‘free’ later in the week to accommodate any tasks that you have not completed earlier in the week?
Studying is a challenge, but when you get your certificate through the post, earn the promotion or start the first day of your new job, the rewards are worth it.
With our range of home learning courses, all students get 12 months of expert tutor support. Our best tip is this: tap into this support and use the expert knowledge of your tutor to enhance not only your studies, but your organisation of your work.