I noticed in a few people’s assignments that the question of how to work around other people / commitments was a particularly tricky one. Speaking as someone who works full time, works part-time, is studying 60 postgraduate points and has 2 young children… yes… it definitely can be!
A good place to start to find out some tips on doing the study juggle is at the OU. There’s a whole section for Friends and Family support and the whole section provides some superb examples and advice. There’s also more help on time management skills available and if you’re a bit of a procrastinator, always finding something else to do rather than studying, then there’s even information on just that thing on the site for you!
My main bits of advice would be – tell people you’re studying. Get them on side. When times are tough and you may need a kick up the pants to get on with studying… if they’re behind you, they’ll be able to do this for you! It also helps them to understand that you don’t always have the time to go out as you used to when you weren’t studying, which can help lessen those pressures too.
What happens if you still get behind? The key bit of advice here is that sometimes you have to really focus on what you need to do, rather than what you’d like to do. Look ahead at assignments yet to come. Briefly cast an eye over the materials and identify where you will really need to direct your efforts. Work out a strategy which will get you through this difficult patch, talk to your tutor (me!) and be realistic. You don’t have to be perfect but it is important that what you write is effective so use the TMA as a checklist. Cross off each element as you complete it to make sure that what you can do is the best version you can produce at that time.
You don’t have to slavishly follow a time management planner if that’s not your style. Try instead setting up a calendar in Google Calendar (or another service) and have it send you reminders about a week before key dates and events. Use the course calendar on the T175 website to find the dates and keep track of them in whatever way suits you. Whatever you do… don’t forget that the ECA date cannot be moved and if you don’t submit your assignment by then, the only certainty is that you’ll fail T175… so… NOTE THAT DEADLINE! :o)
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