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5 Organization and Productivity Tips to Start Your Semester Right

With the new school year starting, organization is key! I often feel that when I get disorganized, my mind becomes cluttered and I am less effective at getting school work done. Studies show that when you develop a system of organization for your school or work materials, your work and studying is more effective! With the right organization, I feel as though I can think clearer and get more work done easier! Therefore, here are 5 organization tips to start your fall semester right! 

1. Keep a planner! 

One of the biggest things for me when it comes to organization is to keep a planner! There are all kinds of planners available, such as phone app planners, digital computer planners, and paper planners. I like being able to write out my day by the hour as well as write out each task that I need to complete on a checklist-style section, therefore a hard copy planner works best for me! Whatever planner style you choose, it is important to only keep ONE planner. I used to keep a digital planner on my phone as well as a hard copy planner in my bag, and while it worked for a while, I began to realize that I had gaps in the two planners, missed events, as well as forgetting to complete checklist items that weren’t in both planners. One of the best planners I recommend for the girl who likes to keep her day scheduled by the hour is the Day Designer. The Day Designer allows for hourly scheduling, top priorities, and checklist columns. While the Day Designer can be pricey on the website, they also sell varying Day Designer collaborations on other websites such as Target and Staples. 

Day Designer from www.mirrormirrorblog.com


2. Annotate and Mark Up Your Syllabi

One of the biggest things in college are your syllabi. Usually, the syllabus for each class will outline the course requirements, instructor information, and assignment lists. I used to keep my syllabi in a folder and not look at them again, and I often ended up forgetting assignments. However, now I regard my syllabus as the most important part of the class. I highlight my syllabus, highlighting the teacher’s office and office hours, the classroom location, as well as the final exam date. I also put large marks next to all of my tests and projects!


Collegecompass.com Annotated Syllabus!


3. Keep Your Backpack Stocked!

This seems like a pretty self-explanatory tip, but it will save you a lot of time, stress, and money (when you forget your supplies and have to rush to the bookstore to buy more)! I usually tend to clean out and restock my backpack each night. I take time to remove loose papers and any trash from my backpack. I also make sure to keep my backpack stocked with fresh pens, pencils, highlighters, and sticky notes each night. I also go ahead and put my supplies for the next school day, including notebooks, textbooks, folders, and chargers each night. By getting into the habit of loading your backpack before bed each night, you will save yourself valuable time in the mornings (especially if you usually run late in the mornings like I do)!


4. Spend 10 Minutes Daily Tidying Up Your Workspace! 

I love cleaning. I mean, I LOVE cleaning. I feel as though I focus best with my workspace clean and tidy. After a long afternoon or evening of studying, I make it a habit to tidy up my workspace for 10 minutes. Usually, this includes throwing out trash or snack wrappers from my study session, putting away loose papers, organizing folders and supplies, and putting my textbooks back on their shelf. If I make it a habit of cleaning up my desk as soon as I finish studying, I avoid having to clean my desk before studying the next day, or losing the motivation to study from a dirty cluttered desk!


5. Prioritize Your Tasks!

I’m sure you’ve heard this tip before, and if you’re like me, you’ve dreaded it. Researchers say that when listing out all of your tasks for the day, you should always do the most difficult, or dreaded, task first. I usually try to do my smallest and easiest tasks first; however, after finishing a large amount of small tasks, I find that I run out of motivation to finish my large tasks. Now, when I plan my tasks for the next day, I always write my hardest or longest task first, that way I have the motivation to do the hardest task first, and then find the rest of the smaller tasks easy after completing the hardest one! 


A Perfect To-Do List Template from: sites.miis.edu


As you start off your new school year, I hope these tips help you have one of your most organized and productive school years yet! Best of luck! 




Megan Schnupp is a senior at Belmont University studying English (writing) with a secondary degree in Religion. When not hanging out on campus, she is extremely passionate about photography and traveling as much she can (well, as much as a broke college student can). Her other hobbies include exploring her city and visiting every coffee shop within a twenty-mile radius. Follow her on Instagram @megschnuppp, where she's probably posting a picture of her most recent adventure or latte.
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