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How to study online effectively

Busy people this is for you. If you have limited time to study here are some tips and tricks to help you get more out of your study time.

By GlobalHealth Education Published 06/07/2022

If you want to accelerate your healthcare career, higher education is a must. It’s the perfect way to maximise your potential, boost your earnings and make a real difference to people’s lives. 


But what if your hands are full with the job you currently have? Where does study fit in? 

For busy people, going back to university might feel like working a second job. For healthcare workers, the workload is amplified. We’ve lived through a global pandemic, and the effect on nurses, doctors and others in the industry is profound.

The good news is, online learning has revolutionised higher education, making it accessible for time-poor healthcare professionals. The self-paced format of online study allows you to focus on each unit, while balancing your studies with other commitments – including self-care and exercise. 

You don’t have to attend class, not in the physical sense. With online courses, you can study anytime, anywhere, and access coursework, assignments and content via your device.

Still not convinced you can manage time, distractions and stress?

Keep this in mind. There are 86,400 seconds in every day. Quite a tidy sum, when you think about it.

The trick is, using them wisely.

Here’s how.

1. Plan your week

Begin your postgraduate journey with a review of how you spend your time. There are various fancy apps to record your activities, but essentially you just need a notes app or a piece of paper. 

Note how your time is spent online and offline. Include all the guilty pleasures. Once you have an overview of where the sand in your hourglass is going, simplify your time allocations into categories of study, commitments and non-negotiables.

Spending more time on Netflix than study? Time to negotiate.

Trim an hour from socialising and bank it towards research. Or, find a study buddy and combine socialising with study. Mix and match your time into a plan that’s realistic and achievable.

Schedule in assignment due dates, then work back to allow time to complete them. With fine tuning, you’ll kiss those midnight study sessions goodbye.

2. Be like the tomato

The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management technique invented by Francesco Cirillo, who challenged himself to work uninterrupted for 25 minutes. When he was successful, he gave himself a five-minute break, then started again. After completing four of these sessions in a row, he gave himself a half-hour break before coming back to work.

To track his time, Cirillo used a kitchen timer which happened to be in the shape of a tomato: ‘pomodoro’ in Italian. 

So, there you have it: the Pomodoro Technique. So simple, but so useful. 

Try it. Bursts of intense activity followed by the reward of ‘own time’ are intensely refreshing. 

Much better than burning the midnight oil for hours on end.

3. Resist the urge to multitask

In this hectic, always-on world, we like to believe we can do more than one thing at a time, but the harsh reality is that everything suffers. Neuroscientists say in reality we’re not multitasking, we’re just rapidly switching our focus from one task to another.
So, here’s a tip that doesn’t relate directly to study (but actually does). Don’t fool yourself that you can study while watching TV – just watch it and give in to the guilty pleasure. 

Fully sated? Now give study all your attention.

4. Create a study zone 

Create an environment that makes it easier for you to study, ideally, a quiet, comfortable space with good light that you want to spend time in. Keep visual motivations in sight to remind you of your purpose, such as your goals written on post-it notes or butchers’ paper.

Maybe you work well at the library or a cafe. Go there. Be where you want to study.

Invest in noise-cancelling headphones so that you can create a study zone wherever you are. Cancelling noise is like turning down the volume on the world.

Flat white with one sugar? Yes please!

5. Write down your goals 

The results are in. Research shows you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. For extra productivity, do it according to the SMART formula: only record goals that are (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)chievable, (R)elevant and (T)ime-bound. That way, you can drill down to the things that truly matter. 

Even if it is watching less Netflix.