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Effective Time Management Strategies For Busy Moms in College

written by: Cheryl Gabbert•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 1/30/2010

Obtaining a degree can be the fastest route to a new career for busy moms. The flexibility of a distance education means more ways to juggle college with a mom's crazy schedule. Here are some strategies and time management tips for online student moms on how to keep those balls in the air.

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    When Mom Goes to College

    Distance education can be a challenge for anyone new to this form of study, but for busy moms, it can be quite formidable. It's hard enough to keep track of work, home, the kids' schedules, and other responsibilities. Still, if you want to go to college, distance education is one of the best ways to do it. You'll need a plan, but with the right distance education program and plenty of dedication, you can earn your degree even if you're the busiest mom on the block.

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    Designate Your Own Study Area

    Walk through your home and look for a good study spot. Find a quiet place with a table or desk and let everyone know that this is your new study area. If possible reserve this space for you alone. Whether you have a room to yourself, or just a corner, do the best you can to locate a comfortable, quiet work space. Your study area should be clutter-free and pleasant, with plenty of light available. Keep your class materials well-organized in this area. Make sure your work space is off limits to the kids.

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    Stay on Target with Time Management

    You won't get many reminders from instructors regarding assignment due dates, so you'll need to stay organized and on top of your class assignments. Keep a calendar or planner in your study area. Be sure to note all upcoming projects, assignments, readings, and tests. Mark the due dates in red so you'll be well aware of what is coming up. You don't want to be caught off guard where assignments that affect your grade are concerned. Set a regular schedule for study and reading time and get in the habit of following it. Consider your other responsibilities when planning your study schedule. The best time to study is when the kids are not around. This could be while they are at school if you're a stay at home mom. A better time for some moms might be first thing in the morning or at night after the kids are asleep. If it's not possible to study when the kids are out of the room, at least make sure they are busy with a quiet activity while you work. Plan your schedule to meet your needs and preferences. Don't plan to study at night if you're typically exhausted by 9pm. Also, keep track of any necessary class communication, such as emails, message board postings, or chats. Participation in these distance education programs is sometimes part of your final grade, so don't neglect them.

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    Get The Kids Involved

    When the kids notice that mom is involved in "school work", they will be very curious. This may manifest itself in the children wanting to be in the middle of things. Go ahead and get them involved a little bit. Make up some study flashcards. Little ones can hold up the cards to help you study for an upcoming test. Older kids can actually read questions and help you study from your notes. Just make sure the kids aren't around when you need to make phone calls to your instructor. Trust me on this, they will not cooperate, and you will most likely get off the phone wondering what on earth was said in the first place.