The new semester has already started for me, and with my new schedule, the amount of free time that I have has gone down significantly. I’m taking 2 minors and a few extra classes this semester. The way that my University is organized, we can not really choose individual classes to fit our schedules. We pick the minor and they tell us when classes will be held. The schedule is never consistent and sometimes changes with a few hours notice. Yay… This means that I have some classes that are clashing. Yay…
With all of this staying on top of everything is a challenge!
Unlike last semester I would like to have a social life, time to relax, release stress, eat, exercise… have a life. So before this semester started, I made some rules and plans to stay organized and focused. At the end of the day, school is one of the main focus of my life so I need to prioritize my classes, studying, grades and projects high on my list.
Buying a planner was the first task on my list. Putting due dates, schedules and vacation dates may seem easier to put into my phone’s calendar, but there is something about writing it down that sticks it to my memory and I love seeing everything down so neatly in writing. For simple tasks, I use the reminder app on my phone (Samsung S8) that displays them on my home screen so that I am constantly reminded. Yes, that does cause a little stress but it’s good stress because it kicks me to actually get the assignment done on time and not to procrastinate.
Buying the right notebook! Last semester, I thought that buying a notebook for every class would be a fantastic idea so that I would be more organized. So I thought… In reality, I got confused a lot, brought the wrong notebook to the wrong class way too many times and it just became a mess. So this semester, I bought one large notebook with built in separators… no mix-ups, no issues, no stress.
Staying focused and organized. Keeping my mind on my future career and life goals can really help me stay motivated to study harder. By constantly reminding myself of my future goals, I am more inclined to stay organized because the excitement of the future really pushes me.
Keep to the tasks. When I write down the task, I try to get it done. Once I got into the habit of actually keeping to a plan, it because so much easier. Eventually I don’t have to push myself to look at my planner or reminder app, and I was checking things off naturally.
Scheduling life. During the semester, I plan everything. Well, almost everything. Chores, shopping, assignments, time with friends, meal times, and everything in between. By doing this, I was able to get things done without having to rush. My house was clean, laundry was done, and I was able to turn in projects weeks in advance and had extra time to study for exams. It may seem very boring, but by doing this, I got the best results and my exam grades were up by 1 point. (The grading system is from 1-10 here.)
Waking up early everyday, even weekends. This seems like torture but when you get used to it, you can get things done. Waking up early allows me to take full advantage of my productivity hours since my brain pretty much shuts off at 9pm. My most productive hours happen between 11am to 5pm, so if I am waking up at 10am, the time it takes for me to actually wake up and not just be awake would really cut into this prime time. Also since I need to take up early, my bedtime has moved up. This means I get better sleep at night.
Bring lunch or snack. When I have to spend the day in class or I have a long class, I try and bring food with me. My body being hungry doesn’t help me at all when it comes to absorbing the lecture. Having a healthy snack before class allows me to remember the information given during class which of course means that studying later on for the exam goes a lot easier.
Staying organized can seem like a task on it’s own but it can become so easy and natural. It’s always good to remember that its OK to schedule “off” days.
Let me know what you do to keep yourself organized.