Managing your time as a distance learner
Maryse shares her experience of studying and working remotely and some tips she has picked up along the way to maintain work life balance.
I go full throttle at everything I’m passionate about. I am a do-it-all type of person, but I’ve learned the value of becoming more and more selective over the years. I’ve never really had an office job, but I have worked as a freelance professional photographer for a couple of years and most recently, as an English Language Assistant in Lille, France from 2020 to 2022.
After secondary school in 2016, the rest of my work and study life has been based online. I currently work as a Business English Coach and a Freelance Writer online, and I’m now a BSc Business Administration (Human Resource Management) student at the University of London.
I am very comfortable in a remote setting, and I see it as a blessing because it gives me the convenience of location independence. Thanks to this, I can travel and continue being more spontaneous in life. After my two years as an English Language Assistant, I can say that one thing is true: opportunity (for anything) sometimes lies in spontaneity.
I successfully managed my in-person teaching job in France with my online teaching job and online studies (at my previous university and learning foreign languages on websites such as Verbling and iTalki)! I also took on a short-term role as a Brand Manager for a journaling club, JoClub, at the start of 2022. Despite juggling multiple commitments during this period, I was able to travel to a few cities in France, as well as other European countries, and even India! My work and studies never stopped because they were all remote.
This experience not only allowed me to become a better person, teacher, learner and traveller, but it was a master lesson in stress management, time management, preparation, deadlines and many other core qualities needed for my journey as a University of London student.
In October 2022, after taking my new priority into consideration (commencing my studies at UoL), I developed a system to help me achieve my new goals. I find it helpful to plan my week to allow time to focus on my studies and to relax and recharge. I used to work six days a week, keeping Friday as my personal day to encourage myself to forget about “the serious stuff”.
Now that I am a student, I work four days a week. Sundays and Mondays are set aside as no work days. I use them primarily to focus on my university studies, given that my courses are divided into weekly segments with a fresh topic each week.
Allocating these two days gives me the chance to get a good head start on my coursework for the week. This format allows me to easily knock off most, if not all, of the university’s recommended 12-15 hours per course per week. Some weeks will have a lighter workload, so at times, I have actually ended up studying across different modules for maybe 20 hours, or even 15 hours in one week.
With the right motivation and setting realistic, achievable and measurable goals, managing your time can become easier than you ever expected.
Maryse studies BSc Business Administration in St Lucia.