One of the biggest problems online graduate students run into when pursuing an online MBA is balancing their academic schedule with their personal life. Since many students forego the traditional route of business school in favor of the more flexible online experience, the option of setting their own schedule is obviously one of the more appealing factors of the latter route.
However, online academic schedules often become cluttered because of procrastination, family or personal commitments, and conflicting deadlines. Here are a few tips for students to balance their life and MBA.
MBA and Life Balance: Create a Study Schedule In Advance
In order to prevent procrastination, it is very important to form a balanced schedule. At the beginning of every week, students consult a calendar. Try to spread their assignments out evenly throughout the week. If a student isn’t a fan of keeping track of such things by hand, apps such as MyHomework or Google Calendar are good alternatives.
Students should take a look at their syllabus. List out everything they have to do in the upcoming week, and begin allocating one assignment or reading per day until their schedule is evenly balanced.
Through this strategy, students will end up with a few assignments each day of the workweek. That’s in lieu of the disaster of having a mountain of assignments each on Thursday and Friday. Planning your study schedule ahead of time helps you not procrastination with only a little work each day.
MBA and Life Balance: Attend The Lectures
Some MBA tracks have mandatory lectures, requiring students to Skype and watch a live presentation from a professor. These scheduled lectures are more prominent in disciplines such as marketing and advertising. They could possibly be present in other areas as well. Either way, these lectures should be the student’s number one priority. It should be the first thing penciled into the calendar at the beginning of the week.
If a student is absolutely unavailable for a scheduled lecture, they should make sure the professor knows as early as possible prior to the lecture. Traditional graduate students have to go to many lectures per day. Professors expect online students to participate in occasional lectures. The student’s presence during these lectures is vital, so they are to make sure to clear out a block of time for them.
MBA and Life Balance: Plan Around Obligations
It is important to remember that a student’s schedule should be able to be compatible with their life. Students pursue an online MBA to allow themselves to complete their day job, family or personal obligations during certain times of the day. They leave their classwork for a different time.
For example, a student knows she has to take her daughter to swim practice on Thursday nights. She should be sure not to leave her accounting homework for Thursday afternoon. It’s highly possible she’ll rush through the assignment. Through planning ahead in this way, students will be able to have an idea of their “school week”. They can also keep their personal and professional obligations in check.
Designate A Time
Professionals who work from home often find it helpful to set aside a chunk of time every day dedicated to nothing but work. For instance, some brokers or accountants will get up early in the morning, have their coffee, and go to work before their kids get up. This is a way to make sure that they get their work done with the least amount of distractions, and the same logic can be applied towards the MBA process.
Students should give themselves space and time dedicated to nothing but work, and make sure they abide by it. For instance, if their “designated work time” is 9-11:30 AM, they must make it clear they will not be distracted during this time period and that they’ll knock your work out early, having the rest of the day to themselves.
Others prefer to work on their classes in the evening, fulfilling other obligations earlier in the day. Either way, it’s helpful to the student to make it clear to friends, family and themselves the times when they are absolutely unavailable.