When was the last time you had an hour to yourself – a full sixty minutes where you could choose how to spend your time? Does that sound like a dream? Free time is a luxury we adults rarely have. Many of us have full-time jobs – sometimes more than one! We have families, household chores, and if there’s time left over after that, a social life as well! It seems like every minute of every day is spent doing something. We barely have time for ourselves, let alone school!
Let’s be real. Many of us don’t have an hour every day to devote to schoolwork – at least not in one sitting. However, we probably can find short bursts of time where we have a moment of peace throughout the day. Maybe you arrive at work a few minutes early. Maybe you had time while on the bus or the train. Maybe you put an episode of “Paw Patrol” on the TV for your little ones so you could have a few moments of peace.
The trick to balancing school and our busy adult lives is to make these short bursts of time work for you. Don’t dismiss these small breaks as ‘too short’ to accomplish anything. You can do a lot in 10 minutes, and these small tasks add up to big progress:
- Check classroom announcements and your AIU e-mail.
Be informed - knowledge is power! Your instructor and AIU have important things to share with you, and you may be missing out. It only takes a moment to be informed!
- Read over your assignment details for the current unit.
By taking a few minutes simply to read over your assignment for the week, you will have a better understanding of the tasks ahead of you. If you are caught up with the current unit, use your time to preview future units!
- Plan out your week.
Take out a calendar or your "to-do" list. Map out your work hours, social gatherings, household chores, and anything else that will require your time. Once you have done that, determine where you can fit in your coursework.
- Do the Determine Knowledge Assessment in intellipath®.
The first step in intellipath® - the Determine Knowledge Assessment - is meant to measure how much you already know at the start of a unit. Completing this step could save you time because it could allow you to test out of certain lessons.
- Read discussion board posts.
Even if you don't have time to post to the discussion board, take some time to read the recent activity. This will help you generate ideas for when have time to make a post of your own.
- Answer part of a discussion board question.
Many discussion board assignments ask multiple questions. Take a few minutes to answer one of them. Write it down, or save it in Microsoft Word. Keep adding to it the next time you have a few minutes to spare. You may be able to make a meaningful response to a classmate in ten minutes, especially if you read their post previously (see Suggestion #5).
- Complete a lesson in M.U.S.E.
M.U.S.E. lessons are generally short, and you should be able to review one in a short amount of time. (You may be able to do more than one!)
- Scan your eBook readings for the unit.
One of the most effective pre-reading strategies is simply to page through your text, noting the titles, headings, images, and highlighted terms. This will provide more context for when you are ready to begin reading.
- Read instructor feedback.
Your instructor’s feedback on your assignments is located in the classroom gradebook. Take a minute to read it over, so you know how to maintain or improve your grades.
Are you feeling crunched for time? Stressed? Overwhelmed? It only takes a few minutes to reach out to your advisor or instructor. Remember - they are here to support you!
If you were to spend ten minutes throughout the week doing the ten above tasks, that adds up to over 90 minutes spent promoting your success. Completing tasks like these will allow you to utilize your longer bursts of study time more effectively. Furthermore, since they can be completed throughout the day, it will still leave the majority of the day to focus on your other priorities.
Start watching for short moments throughout your day when you could be accomplishing something for school. Any time you find yourself standing around waiting for something, use that time to multitask. Use the AIU Mobile App on your phone to check in on your courses. Make sure you do something every day to support your progress in school – even if it’s just a ten-minute task.