How to Stay Organized

It’s the last weeks of the semester and if you’re anything like me, you’re desperately searching for anything that will help you stay on track and finish strong. Here are some tips that you can use to keep the momentum going (or to get a great start to the next semester)!

Make a Game Plan for the Day

This tip has two parts. Firstly, I hate feeling like I’m scrambling before I leave for class. Try to plan out what you need and get a jumpstart to the day by preparing your clothes or packing your backpack the night before. This helps streamline the morning process and allows you to devote your thoughts to other things as you’re heading out the door. You might also find that you have more time in your morning routine to grab an extra 15 minutes of sleep or actually get breakfast—two things that will help you feel more prepared for the day.

The second part involves being real about when you work best. Are you tired everyday from 2-4pm? Try to schedule around this window by working a little more at other times of the day. Have an exam in your 9:20 class? Be realistic. Will you honestly want to do work for your 11:20 afterwards or will you want to relax for a bit? This all comes down to you knowing when you are able to truly focus so you can work smarter instead of harder.

 

 

Calendars/Planners

Calendars and planners help so much when it comes to organizing your time. I can personally confirm that keeping a calendar is a life-saver. Write down EVERYTHING in your life, including as many details about each event as you need. A calendar makes it super easy to see the big picture for the day/week/month, which helps you stay on top of your schedule and what you need to do next. During exam week, I even budget out how much time a day and what days of the week I’m going to study for each exam. Be sure you actually stick to what you’ve scheduled! Writing things out by hand in a planner can also help you remember things better. If you find the process of dragging out a planner in every class too tedious (like I do), simply use the calendar app on your computer or phone. As a bonus, you can set alerts to remind you of events ahead of time.

 

Lists

If committing to a whole calendar seems like too much for you, try making “To Do” lists instead. Laying out everything on your plate really helps you wrap your head around what needs to be done. If writing out the list is making you feel stressed or overwhelmed, try including some ‘smaller’ goals (printing readings, emailing a professor, picking up a package) that can be easily crossed off. Starting to cross things off will help motivate you to finish the list and make your tasks for the week seem less daunting. All-encompassing lists really help me make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

 

Tidy your room

The biggest enemy of being organized is being overwhelmed. The whole point of organization is making your life feel manageable; if you’re overwhelmed, this certainly won’t be the case. One of the ways I combat feeling overwhelmed is by keeping my room tidy. Keep in mind: tidy is not synonymous for minimalistic. You don’t need to get rid of everything sitting on your desk in order for your room to be organized. Start by finding a place for each thing you have. For example, scissors always return to the desk drawer, coat belongs on the back of the chair, hairbrush stays on the left corner of the dresser. As long as you can easily find what you need, you’re good to go. Being able to locate things in your room without panic will go a long way towards making you feel like you have your life together.

 

(Re)Gather Class Materials

As the semester drags on, papers seem to end up everywhere. Do yourself a favor and start tracking down past handouts or tests and collecting them in some way (binder clip, folder, ect). You’ll thank yourself when exam season rolls around and you need to start studying. If you’ve just organized your room, it will be super easy to find a place to keep these materials until you need them.

 

Now, all of these idea are great, but they just tell you HOW to get organized, not how to STAY organized, which is what this article promised you. There are two parts to staying organized. One part is figuring out what works for you. You can definitely change or modify any of these organizational strategies (or seek others) to fit your life and your needs. If it’s making you miserable, it’s not a strategy anymore.

Once you find the strategies that work, the hardest but most important thing is to be consistent. Straightening your room one time is great, but it doesn’t really help you in the long run if your room is messy again four days later. Maintaining a schedule of cleaning your room, doing laundry, writing out assignments, etc. every week is key. The only way this is going to happen is if you hold yourself accountable. Do things when you told yourself you would, even when you’d rather do anything else.