So you’ve signed up to learn about your favorite subject online – congrats! You’re excited to get started and expand your knowledge, whether you enrolled in IIN’s Health Coach Training Program, one of our mini courses or advanced courses, or another type of program.
Online and distance learning certainly have their benefits, especially for the adult learner, but they require a commitment to yourself, including how you’re going to maximize your time and energy. From using time management tools to setting boundaries, there are simple yet effective ways to get the most out of your online education experience, which will translate in both your personal and professional lives!
1. Refer to your course schedule and write down important dates and deadlines.
All online courses and programs will have a schedule, whether content is released week to week or you automatically get access to all content, with only a deadline to take your final exam. Whatever the case may be, note important date(s) in your phone calendar, email calendar, physical planner, or all of the above! This could include test dates, a final exam date, and/or assignment submission deadlines. Keep yourself on track by setting reminders for these important dates, too.
2. Set aside time each week to go through materials, study, and complete any necessary work.
If you work full time, maybe this dedicated time is over the weekend ‒ or it can be early in the morning or later in the evening. If you don’t work full time but are caring for children or family members, you’ll also need to carve out this time for yourself. Essentially, find times that work for you and try not to pull (too many) all-nighters!
3. Find a support system and make time to check in with them regularly.
Your support system can be an individual or a group of people who will motivate you and keep you accountable in reaching your goals. Choose those who are supportive of your decision to earn an education, including those who will cheer you up when you’re feeling low or give you the tough love you need to keep moving forward. It all depends on how you like to be supported, which you can figure out by exploring your love languages!
4. Designate a (quiet) place that’s all your own to study in.
Ideally, you can carve out a quiet space in your home that’s filled with everything you need to enhance your concentration and focus. Perhaps you’re a minimalist, so you have just your computer, your headphones, and a water bottle. Or you love having extra things around to make it feel cozier, like an essential oil diffuser and a blanket. If you can’t find a quiet place in your home, maybe you can go to the local library or to the home of a friend or family member.
5. Implement time management tools, such as Big Rocks.
It’s easy to get distracted, whether by social media or a busy household, so managing your study time is key. One simple way to manage your time is to put your phone on “Do Not Disturb" and set a timer for a particular study period. But for long-term management of your time (which will benefit you in all areas of life), try IIN founder Joshua Rosenthal’s Big Rocks method.
Essentially, it all boils down to the tasks you’re deeming as nonnegotiable and must-do (the “big rocks”); the tasks that you need to do but can wait until you have time (the “pebbles”); and tasks you want to do but that don’t necessarily support your larger goal (the “sand”). Add them all to the “jar” (meant to represent your day) in the right order, and you can get everything in! But if you prioritize certain tasks first, like the pebbles and/or sand, you may not leave enough room for your big rocks.
Check out the full explanation of this method. It will change your life!
6. Set boundaries and expectations with friends, family, or roommates.
Those closest to you want to see you succeed; so while setting boundaries may be difficult at first, it will be incredibly beneficial for you in the long run. This could mean telling your family or roommates not to disturb you during your designated study time unless it's an emergency or declining plans with friends if you haven’t been able to study as planned that week.
Communicating openly and honestly with these people, who are also likely your support system, is key to maintaining these important relationships in addition to your success as an online learner!
7. Plan ahead (as best as you can) for any unexpected changes to your schedule.
Life happens! Planning for unexpected things that could derail your course progress is a good way to manage your time as well as your expectations for how your learning journey will unfold.
This will look different for everyone! If you’re expecting a child, you have a planned vacation, or you’re moving to a new home, aim to wrap up any important coursework farther in advance than you would otherwise. Week to week, this could involve trying to stick to your study schedule as much as possible so that if you have to miss a week or two, you can stay on track and keep from falling too far behind.
8. Acknowledge and reward your hard work.
Celebrate your progress and acknowledge the work you’re putting in to transform your life! Treat yourself to a coffee, or a lunch or dinner date. Or splurge on an item that you could use to foster your personal transformation or future career, like a tripod to record videos or those workout clothes you’ve been eyeing! Or simply acknowledge to yourself out loud how proud you are of yourself.
It may feel silly but try standing in front of a mirror and saying out loud: “You are doing a great job,” “You are worthy of success,” and “You are putting in the work to successfully complete this course!”
Not all courses and trainings are created equal.
As you can see, it’s up to you to get the most out of your online education. But depending on the online program, you may get resources and support that make success even more attainable! That’s what IIN’s Health Coach Training Program and other course offerings provide – not only comprehensive materials and instruction but also an empowering global community with which to connect and collaborate.
Whatever your goals and dreams, IIN is here to make them a reality!