Six ways to create space for study

Many marketers may be thinking the time is now right to take on some part-time study

AS holiday memories fade and we get back into the routine of work many marketers may be thinking the time is right to take on some part-time study (some may even be contemplating CIM's new level 6 Digital Diploma).

But whatever option you choose, get prepared with these six study tips:

1 Explain the benefits of your course to your employer - Explain the benefits of the study to your boss, colleagues or HR department, they may be able to offer you support. This could be a place to work on your assignments during lunch hour, or practical guidance about the content of your modules.

2. Reward yourself when you meet your goals - An online course will often feature multiple modules and assessments of your knowledge. Remind yourself that you don't need to do it all at once. It's helpful to set weekly goals as this can keep you motivated without making you feel overworked. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

3. A routine is vital for motivation and learning - Sports psychologists recognise the importance of ritual in performance. It's the same with studying; you'll make faster progress with your learning if you can develop a pattern of working. Rising an hour earlier in the morning is one way to do this. You can dedicate this time to your online learning with a clear mind, free from the distractions of the day. It's also very empowering going to work having taken another step toward your personal goals.

4. Aim for a quiet and tidy place to do your online studying - Whether it's your bedroom, kitchen table or office desk, you can make it more pleasant by keeping it clutter-free and asking family, house-mates or colleagues to respect your privacy while you're studying. Treat your study time as sacrosanct and isolate yourself with the task by turning off your phone.

5. Use apps to stay organised and back up your work - Free online tools such as Evernote allow you to ‘clip' web pages into an application. This is the perfect way to keep track of online research or resources, and is much more effective than saving bookmarks on your browser. It may also be worth investing in cloud storage options such as Dropbox or Google Drive. These tools will enable you to access your files at work, or while travelling using your phone or tablet. Also, this can help prevent the accidental loss of your notes or drafts.

6. Build your own peer community to support your learning - You're more likely to enjoy your studying and reach the end of a course successfully if you've got support so make contact with others studying the same course as you. Why not convene a study group through Google hangouts?

The CIM-accredited study centres offer a range of study options in Belfast, Coleraine and in the north west, from intensive boot camps to part time evening options. Find out more about your options by contacting CIM.

:: Carol Magill is CIM network manager for Ireland

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