Enrolling in an online RN to BSN program is an exciting step in one’s career. One of the greatest challenges, though, is figuring out how to juggle schoolwork on top of an already demanding schedule that includes a full-time job, family obligations and hopefully a little fun too. By implementing some of the following time management strategies, busy nurses can find a better balance and reach their educational goals.
Acknowledge Your Perception of Time
Although it may feel like there is not enough time in your day, that perception is possibly one of the biggest hindrances in achieving scholastic success. A 2019 SAGE study found that school-related anxieties and fears were frequently linked to time management concerns and that students’ perceived control of time positively correlated with their cumulative grade point average. Those who felt more in control of their time fared better. Acknowledge that you have the power to regulate your time and make decisions about how it is best spent.
Know Exactly Where Your Time Goes
Before maximizing your time, you must know how you are currently spending it. Consider tracking your schedule for one week. From mealtimes and work to sleeping and scrolling through social media, logging it all provides a realistic baseline along with concrete data for making adjustments. You will likely discover you have more time than you originally thought and that you overestimated or underestimated the time required for certain tasks.
Establish Goals and Prioritize Tasks
Brainstorm specific goals and write down your top two or three. Recording goals in detail correlates to higher achievements and strengthens the ability to laser focus one’s energies and attention. For example, you may decide to cover one textbook chapter each week so that you stay ahead on reading assignments. You can break that down into smaller, more manageable tasks — to read three pages each day or one page at each meal. Taking this methodical approach can keep you on track and make the larger assignments and projects less overwhelming.
Follow the 10-Minute Rule
All throughout your day are small windows of time, perfect for digesting a few paragraphs, prepping notes or replying to emails. Carving out just three 10-minute segments a day results in more than three hours of dedicated school time per week. The key is to have your to-do list broken down into small, actionable steps and commit to completing only one item from your list during each 10-minute span. Carry your textbooks or study materials with you as often as possible to take advantage of these brief moments to be productive.
Tap Into Technology
While your phone has the potential to be a significant distraction, it can also keep you on task. Project management and productivity apps like Trello let you plan your tasks and track your progress as well as collaborate with others. If you find yourself mindlessly browsing the internet when you should be focused on homework, download an internet-blocking app. These allow you to control web and app accessibility, essentially turning it on and off, in order to help you make the most of your study efforts.
Incorporating self-care practices is a critical but often overlooked time management strategy. Earning your bachelor’s degree requires commitment and stamina, but burnout or illness can quickly derail your progress. Some accelerated online RN to BSN programs can be completed in as few as 10 months, and self-care becomes crucial when taking the fast track to a BSN. Eating well, maintaining a set sleep schedule, exercising, and spending time with family and friends are excellent habits that will serve you well while in the degree program and beyond.
Managing It All
Balancing school on top of personal and professional commitments may seem daunting. Time management techniques ease scheduling worries and improve your daily efficiency. With these tips and a little planning, you can successfully reach your goals.
Learn more about Southern Utah University’s online RN to BSN program.