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Find Your Work-Family-College Balance: 4 Useful Tips

April 25, 2017 by Miranda Lim |

Image of person adding note to calendarAt some point in your life, you’ve probably frantically said, “Where did the time go!?” And if you’re thinking of becoming an online student, your question might even be “Where will my time come from!?”

6:03 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 9:56 p.m.—Day or night, as an online student, you can schedule your education on your time. Earning your degree is all about prioritizing your responsibilities, keeping track of your to-do list, and structuring your lifestyle to fit in an online class (or a few!). 

  1. Identify Your Priorities

    Determine the scope of your personal and professional responsibilities. What can you absolutely not rearrange? Where can you focus less time, and where do you need to direct more energy? Find out what really matters to you. Putting these things in order will help you be successful in all areas of your life, including in your role as an online student.

    Take it one day at a time. It won’t always be easy, but earning your degree online can be done. And it will be worth it. 

  2. Plan Ahead

    The best laid plans can be derailed if you stray from a schedule. In a virtual classroom, planning ahead can be simple. Many courses are offered asynchronously (meaning they have no set class time) and lay out assignment due dates at the start of the course, allowing you to know what’s coming up so you can schedule study time weeks in advance.

    Keep track of your to-do list. Ongoing time management is critical for making sure you have enough flexibility in your schedule to fulfill your responsibilities.

  3. Schedule Your Time

    Once you’ve prioritized your passions, you know what to do… but when do you do it? There are only 168 hours in a week. Once you factor in sleeping and eating, you’re left with roughly 100 hours per week to fill with other responsibilities. Add in work, family, and a little “me” time, and the minutes keep shrinking away. Digging into the numbers can help you find out how to best organize your time as an online student.

    On average, you can expect to spend three hours studying for every credit hour you’re taking. So, for a three-credit-hour course, you’ll probably spend nine hours per week on coursework—reading course content, completing assignments, listening to videos, engaging in group work, etc.

    You can determine how to structure your lifestyle to set aside these valuable hours for school each week. Use the Personal Time Evaluation Tool to calculate how to best structure your time to fit in coursework.

  4. Stay Committed to Your Goal

    It can be easy to get lost in a maze of distractions when you’re working online. After all, you have access to the infinite wide world of the web with just a click of a new browser window. Resist temptation and stay focused! Be cognizant of your schedule and keep your eye on the time. A semester will go by before you know it, and you’ll be another step closer to your degree.

Take the First Step Now

For other strategies on how to prepare to take an online course, check out And visit to learn about UNCG’s online degree and certificate programs.

What are you waiting for? The clock’s ticking!



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