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To strike the right balance, you need the right tools

A student sits on the floor using a silver laptop atop their crossed legs.

By Tyler Hansen
May 14, 2018

The question is not “Can I manage going back to school while juggling work and life?”

We already know – thanks to countless stories of student success – that the answer is a resounding, “Yes, you can.”

Instead, the question is “How do I manage going back to school while juggling work and life?”

And here’s more good news: We have answers to that question, too.

Once you’re enrolled as an online student with Oregon State, the OSU Ecampus student success team will help you develop an individualized plan to manage your time and priorities in order to establish yourself as a thriving student online.

One of the many ways the Ecampus success counselors help you achieve this is by directing you to valuable support resources. And with that in mind, here are four tools and tips they recommend to help you create and sustain a healthy work-life-school balance:

1. The Priority Game

There’s an exercise called “The Priority Game,” and it’s a great way to rethink your to-do list for the next day. Here’s the gist: Take five minutes to jot down the six most important things you need to do tomorrow, then cross off the bottom five.

Write down your No. 1 priority on a sticky note and post it somewhere you can see it right away the next day (your desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror).

Block 90 minutes on your calendar the next day, preferably in the morning, to work on that one thing and only that one thing.

2. Weekly task sheet

The Ecampus success team created a weekly task sheet that you can customize to fit your goals. If you enjoy crossing things off of a to-do list, this is a great tool.

By laying out the assignments or projects with their due dates, you can work backward and break each down into smaller pieces. This allows you to track your progress and provide a realistic timeline for project completion.

As a bonus, it also shows you the week as a whole. If something comes up, you can make adjustments as needed. In most cases, you can generally guess how long each piece is going to take and add it to another day if need be.

This allows flexibility and clarity, which will help you complete assignments with less stress.

3. Canvas calendar tool

As an Oregon State Ecampus student, you access your coursework through Canvas, OSU’s online learning portal. And the Canvas Calendar tool is a fundamental time management resource you need in your arsenal.

It is a simple way to see all upcoming due dates and events from all of your Ecampus courses in one place. You can completely customize the calendar to view it in a monthly, weekly or agenda format, add in other items as needed, and color code them yourself.

If you don’t like the look or functionality of this calendar, you can export the information from the Canvas feed into another system such as Google Calendar, iCal or Outlook.

4. Let technology be your friend

Maximizing and efficiently using your time is key to finding success as an online student. Utilizing technology and various apps will allow you to do just that.

One app that many Ecampus students use is a text to speech reader called Natural Reader. The program will take the text from PDF and Word document files and read them aloud to you.

This has proven to be a valuable tool for those that have long commutes to and from work by allowing them to maximize their time. It is also a great use of technology that assists students who have an auditory learning preference.

Ready to get started?

Enroll online with Oregon State, and the Ecampus student success team will eagerly help you tap into these resources and more.

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