Interviews

How to Organize Your Time to Learn Online

Discover the 4 keys for improving your productivity when learning from experts in online courses

Most people who choose to learn online have other full-time activities. Online learning has many advantages, like being able to organize your own schedule and follow your own pace when studying the different lessons.

For some people, however, the main challenge is managing their time. We invite you to follow advice from four Domestika teachers in order to fulfill all your commitments and take advantage of the flexibility of online courses.

Núria Mañé (@nuriacomunica), Reina Rodríguez Taylhardat (@reinarodriguezt), Ana Marin (@anamarinen) and Abigail Quesnel (@abyquesnel) face busy schedules and strict delivery dates every day, but also have the time to commit to personal projects. Learn their secrets!

How to Organize Your Time to Learn Online 1

Analog or digital calendars?

Experts agree that calendars and digital agendas are the best tools to never forget tasks. However, many prefer a mix that involves having handwritten reminders, dates and lists:

I love paper books and planners. For many years I have used Moleskine's annual planner. But now I find it more practical to use a digital one. Of course, in my work space, I also have a physical calendar on the wall where I only write down the most important items.
Núria Mañé
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Núria Mañé

For reminders, I tend to prefer digital planners. But I always carry my notebook with more detailed reminders and notes. So, my method is to use both formats.
Abigail Quesnel

I prefer digital calendars. 100%. I also love having them all synchronized (computer, cell phone, virtual assistants like Alexa, etc.) to know at any time what I have to do next.
Reina Rodríguez Taylhardat

Digital planners. I cannot live without my Outlook agenda. If something is not there, it will not happen. I even block time on it to work. But I like to use handwritten to-do lists, and I have them on a Post-it note on the laptop.
Ana Marin

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What apps do you use to improve your productivity?

The consensus is that apps that can be synchronized between different devices could be useful. Here, experts recommend different applications for time management, productivity and also to help with focus:

I especially use apps for my desktop computer, because that's where I do most of my work and I feel it's more comfortable. I prefer apps that have notifications and that are also available for smartphones.
Ana Marin
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Ana Marin

I really like Monday, and it's the one I use the most with my team. I also use a system to mark emails with several tags like “Follow up” “To do” and “To post” that help me a lot!
Reina Rodríguez Taylhardat

The one I use the most is Google Calendar, in addition to the calendar we have in Drive and that I share with the editorial team.
Abigail Quesnel

The application that I depend on the most is Calendar on my iPhone and also Notes, where I write ideas or pending tasks at the moment they appear or come to mind.
Moment is also very useful to know how much time I spend on my smartphone and to improve my focus.
Other interesting applications are Focus to Do, based on the Pomodoro technique, which consists of working in periods of 25 minutes. And as I like to combine digital with analog, in my office I also have a clock that I use to mark periods of intense concentration.
To keep track of the time I devote to each project or client I started using the free desktop version of Time Doctor Lite but now I use Toggl. To work in teams and assign tasks I recommend Trello and Monday.
Núria Mañé

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How do you organize your time to complete all your tasks?

A key aspect to succeed in online learning is making sure that you do not neglect the rest of your responsibilities. The techniques of these teachers vary between writing down what they will do all day and not missing deadlines.

Google Calendar is a great ally. I put my whole life there, not only work appointments, but personal reminders and to-dos to make sure I don't forget anything.
Abigail Quesnel
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Abigail Quesnel

I make a list of the things I need to do that I always keep in mind. I set deadlines for work, and the truth is, I end up working on weekends.
Ana Marin

I learned that we should not only schedule meetings, but also tasks. I even recommend spending one or two mornings or whole days to work without meetings or interruptions.
Every day I set three goals that I want to meet and try to accomplish them in the early hours of the day. I recommend combining tasks with objectives that help you boost your own projects, such as working on your personal brand, reading twenty pages of that book that seems like you are struggling to finish or meditate for ten minutes as soon as you get up.
Núria Mañé

I'm obsessed with calendars. I also only have one for both personal and work use because I am only one person and my time available is the same no matter what (I learned that from Arianna Huffington). In the calendar I set times for everything (even lunch!) and I like to try to do everything in the moment so as not to complicate things for myself later.
Reina Rodríguez Taylhardat

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How do you make sure to balance your work with your personal projects? What tips are useful for people who work and also study online?

Once you have decided what your goals are–for example, knowing that you want to learn a new skill–you should consider what level of priority this will have in your life. In general, our experts agree that you will have to invest a lot of your personal time, but it will be worth it!

Sometimes it's complicated, but I always set aside time to focus 100% on my personal projects. For me it is Sunday afternoon and evening: nobody bothers me and I feel super productive. Find the best schedule that works for you.
Reina Rodríguez Taylhardat
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Reina Rodríguez Taylhardat

Try to set goals in the short, medium and long term, and schedule time for your own projects, such as that online course you want to complete. Distinguishing the urgent from the important is basic, as well as giving space to what really makes us advance in our goals. When we learn to be more productive, we also reduce the number of urgent tasks.
We can use Eisenhower's matrix to write down the four types of tasks we have and prioritize them: urgent and important; urgent and not important; important but not urgent; and not important and not urgent.
Núria Mañé

I suggest you have everything ranked if possible. Prioritize tasks and solve them in order of importance.
Abigail Quesnel

I manage to concentrate on personal projects, but I do it by sacrificing my leisure time. There are weeks where I devote the whole weekend to do things like attending a Domestika course. But I love it! Otherwise I would not do it. My job is super demanding, so the only time to do the personal projects is at night.
Ana Marin

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