Managing Your Workload in Online High School

Posted on July 15 2013

How’s your workload? Often, it seems that life is like one big juggling act. You try to balance your studies as an online high school student and your other priorities such as family, career and social life. Often, people who have a full plate consider getting a high school diploma through an online school a perfect solution for the need to accomplish certain life goals while still getting quality education. These may be athletes in training, aspiring actors or gifted students aiming for the fast track. The question is, is it really possible to maintain a balance between your studies and your other priorities?

It can be a challenge. There may be assignments in your online high school math class, that paper for your English class, the deadline your boss gave you or the need to prepare for a major competition or audition. But difficult though it is, it is possible to effectively manage your workload (and still get some leisure time on the side).

Here are some ways to manage your workload:

  • Know your priorities. Knowing and staying committed to your priorities help you focus your attention and energies on activities that help achieve these priorities. Ask yourself, “What are my priorities? What are the goals I have for now, for the medium term and for the long term?” It helps you cut down on “unnecessary clutter” in your daily schedule. You may have to say goodbye to things you enjoy (like online games or Facebook), or at least, minimize them so that they don’t each too much of your time.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Recognize that you can only juggle this number of balls at any point in time. Trying to do too much may set yourself up for disappointment and frustration. For instance, before you take on a number of online high school courses, find out how many hours you can spend on a certain course. The weekly number of hours you should allot for each course should include not just the actual number of hours you spend on the lessons, but also time needed to do research, to complete projects and communicate with online teachers and classmates. On top of this, you need to allot time to care for your loved ones, to rest and to enjoy recreational activities. Be sure to set realistic goals.
  • Minimize distractions. Working on your lessons at home may also make you vulnerable to distractions. If you are working or are an athlete or artist, there are also external pressures that can affect your emotions and the level of energy you have for your studies. This is often unavoidable. Try to minimize these distractions by focusing on the task you have at hand. You will get a rush in being able to accomplish an item in your to-do list. If you feel you are too distracted by other pressures, you can also take a “day off” from your studies to just concentrate on what is bothering you at work or in your family life.
  • Believe in yourself. A “can-do” attitude can make a lot of difference in the way you approach your workload. Keep your eyes on the goal (i.e. “I will earn my high school diploma by this year.”). Even as you try to set realistic goals, you should also aim to stretch yourself. Don’t let your vision of your goals be clouded by doubt.
  • Make a plan. Familiarize yourself with the coursework you sign up for. Using a planner, list down deadlines, as well as daily tasks that are designed to meet these deadlines. This helps you see how you can manage your daily workload at a glance, shifting tasks during busy days to days when you have more time. You can also ask teachers or support personnel from The American Academy to help you draft a graduation plan so that you know the amount of work you still need to do in the future for you to earn enough credits for a high school diploma.
  • Give yourself a break. Make allowances for “off days”, sick days or holidays. That means that projects should be scheduled to be finished ahead of time so that any unforeseen event can be accommodated without affecting your schedule too much. Regular breaks keep you from “working tired” and from becoming physically and mentally fatigued.
  • Ask for help. Remember, you’re not superman. You don’t have to go at it alone. Your family and friends (as well as your online teachers) can be an invaluable resource. Loved ones can pitch in to help with chores so that you have more time for your studies. Your online teacher can help by explaining areas you may be struggling with.