Being productive can be a struggle for anyone, but it becomes particularly challenging when balancing work and study. Returning to further education while continuing to work or run your business makes it essential that you make the most of your precious time. Optimising your productivity lets you get the most out of every hour and fit study into your busy schedule.
Luckily, there are a number of online productivity tools and general approaches that allow you to be more productive in both your work and study.
Common challenges for professionals returning to study
Returning to study can be a struggle for busy professionals in a number of ways, such as:
- Lack of focus: In our modern digital age it can be all too easy to get distracted. It becomes even more challenging to stay focused when running between work, study, and personal commitments. This kind of scattered focus can wreak havoc on your productivity and make you less effective in all parts of your life.
- Time management: There’s no doubt that balancing work, education, and your personal life is tough, and staying on top of everything by managing your time effectively is a challenge when there is so much to do. You may find that you seem to always be working or studying, yet never get anything done.
- Finding the right tools: In today’s technology-driven world, there are a range of tools available to support better time management and improve your productivity. However, this enormous choice can be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the best online tools.
How to boost your productivity with online tools?
By using a selection of techniques, strategies, and online productivity tools, you can improve your focus, manage your time better, and be more productive.
1. The Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique has transformed work and study in recent years, with millions of people adopting this time management technique to stay focused and accomplish their daily goals. The method focuses on working with time, rather than running against the clock. The underlying principle involves bursts of focused work or study with short breaks in between.
The simple technique breaks time into blocks called pomodoros, or tomatoes in Italian. You work for 25-minutes on one pomodoro, take a short 5-minute break, then get back to work again. You then take longer 15- to 20-minute breaks every three or four “pomodoros”. This method boosts focus by eliminating the mental fatigue and pressure that can affect productivity levels during extended periods of concentration.
A great online tool that promotes productivity, Trello allows you to organise all of your tasks into to-do lists and project management boards. This tool is essentially the digital version of old-school whiteboards covered with post-it notes, but much better organised! The well-ordered lists and cards make it easy for you to prioritise your work and meet your deadlines.
Toggl is another great online productivity tool. Toggl essentially does one thing — it lets you track how you spend your time — but it does it very well. Seeing how you spend your time keeps you on track to meet your goals, as well as letting you improve your time management skills. You can use this online tool on your computer, or download the app to track time on your phone, syncing automatically with your desktop version.
4. Online communication tools
In addition to helping you manage your time and be more productive, online tools can also allow you to communicate better. Faster and more efficient communication lets you get the information you need in a seamless way, which in turn makes you more productive.
EDHEC uses online communication tools like Slack which allow students to easily communicate with their teachers and their peers. Slack has an efficient search function, stocks shared files, and makes it overall much easier to find information than sifting through emails and a multitude of other communication channels. This way you can keep in touch while having the flexibility to study from anywhere and anytime.
5. Have a dedicated space for study
In addition to these digital tools, it is important to have a dedicated physical space to study, as well as for work (if working from home). Contrary to what you may think, remote workers and online students face their own set of distractions. Children, partners, and flatmates can be constant interruptions, and working from the couch or bed does not encourage the best productivity, not to mention being unergonomic! Setting aside a dedicated space for work and study while minimising distractions can help you maximise productivity.
6. Seek advice
Remember that you don’t need to go it alone. Reach out to the experts who can provide valuable advice on how to be more efficient and productive. For example, the EDHEC Online team includes staff that can help advise on productivity and time management. This human touch makes a big difference for those dealing with the challenges of online executive education as a busy professional.
Supporting better productivity
Achieving your daily objectives and long-term goals doesn’t have to be a struggle if you are armed with the right tools. By making use of online productivity tools and time management tactics, combined with the right physical space, you’ll become more productive and get the most out of the hours you dedicate to work and study.
Furthermore, a supportive online study environment such as EDHEC will allow you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to optimise your productivity.