Whether your schedule is too busy or you prefer the comfort of classes in your own home, online courses are a great alternative to in-person classes. But while they come with many benefits (i.e. snack breaks in the kitchen whenever you feel like it), they come with a unique set of challenges, like time management and organization.

1. Start Class Early in the Morning

Because the class is online and technically has no start time, it can be easy to tell yourself that you don’t really have to get up the first time your alarm goes off. But the reality is, you still should. Doing your work during the day means you’ll have plenty of people to reach out to should you have questions about an assignment and places like the library will be open.

2. Print the Syllabus

It may be an online class, but that doesn’t mean everything has to stay online. Print out the syllabus and leave it somewhere you’ll see it often. You should also highlight important dates, like when tests are or assignments are due. 

3. Make a Calendar of Due Dates

Many online courses simply require you to do all the work before a certain date, one that’s usually a few weeks or months away, so it can be easy to get in the mindset of “I’ll do that next week.” Keep track of your work by giving yourself your own due dates. This will prevent you from having to cram months of work into just a few days.

4. Organize Everything into Separate Folders

If you’re taking multiple classes keep everything organized in its own folder, whether that be a digital or physical one.

5. Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions

Even though it’s an online class, there’s still a professor behind the computer who is happy to answer your questions, whether via email, a video call, or a class forum. The internet and other students are a great resource, but don’t be afraid to reach out to the teacher just because you’ve never met them before.

6. Give Yourself a “Class Time”

If you wait until you feel like doing the work or until you have free time, you’ll never get to your assignments. Instead, set aside an hour or two at the same time each day to get your work completed. Even if friends ask you to come out or something is going on, think of this as your designated class time.

Debra Solomon, an autism life and career coach, helps young adults with autism and other learning disabilities identify their strengths and weaknesses to help find a job or school that best fits them!