COVID-19 may be keeping us inside the house most days, but that doesn’t mean that our days aren’t as hectic as ever. I find myself having a lot on my plate with the heavy workload from my classes, student organizations I’m a part of, work responsibilities, and family responsibilities. It can really be overwhelming at times! This is when I need to maximize my time and stay organized, so that I can stay on top of all of my work. I struggled with being organized when I was younger and found myself always stressing over all the work I had to do. However, through experience I’ve gotten better at managing my time and now I am always calm even during a crazy week. For those of you who were like me and want to know where to start, here 3 key things you can do to keep yourself organized when you have a lot to do.
1. Buy an agenda or a calendar
First off, I suggest that everyone buys themself an agenda, preferably a daily or weekly one. These agendas give you a whole page for each day to write the things you have to do. I make my weekly to-do schedule in my agenda at the beginning of each week and begin to check things off as I go. I also write down deadlines and due dates for my list items in order to make sure that I get them done on time.
In addition, I also recommend buying a 12-month calendar. Now I know that it may seem excessive having an agenda AND a calendar, but trust me for those of you who are real busy bees, having both can be a game-changer. I like to use my 12-month calendar to write down my biggest, main events such as social events and important meetings and I use my agenda for school or work-related activities because the agenda gives me more space and freedom to write more. However, you can decide how you want to organize your events in whichever way works best for you. The most important point is to have a tool to help you stay on top of things and their respective dates.
Some may prefer to use their phones via the reminder or calendar app. However, if you’re like me and like to write things down yourself, then having that agenda or calendar is the best way to go. There are even pocket-sized agendas, so like your phone, you can always carry it around in your bag. They also have a variety of cute 12-month calendars that come with different themes. My current calendar is French Bulldog themed and I absolutely love seeing the new picture for each month. They also have themes such as flowers, kittens, and vacations destinations.
As an extra personal and aesthetic choice, you can also invest in different colored pens and stickers to personify your calendar. The different colored pens useful because you can color code your events and dates. Making my agenda colorful is not only enjoyable to do, but also makes me look forward to the events and things I have to do. It becomes even more satisfying as you cross things off your list. Now while it may seem paradoxical to be working on an agenda or calendar when you already have so much to do, remember that for every minute spent in organizing an hour is earned.
2. Prioritize you time
Besides taking note of all the things you have to do, another way to stay organized is to be able to prioritize you time. There are only 24 hours in a day and your goal is to somehow find time for all the things you have to do. It may seem daunting when you see your long to-do list, but there’s no need to stress as long as you schedule your time accordingly.
There are different ways you can do this. I personally choose to start working on my easiest and fastest assignments first, so that I have less to worry about and can begin checking things off my list. As I see my list shorten, I am even more motivated to keep working because I feel that I am making progress. Then I begin to work on the longer or harder assignments. Another way to organize your time is to start working on the things that are due sooner. The most important thing is that no matter how you decide to organize your time, make a schedule for yourself. It is important to set goals and have a plan of action to attack all the things on your to-do list. Remember that not everything has to be done in one day, so divide your tasks into manageable parts and little by little you will get your work done.
Always remember that when organizing your time, to make yourself a priority too. Of course, make time to do the essentials like eating, sleeping, and taking a shower, but also make sure you have some free time for yourself. This time can be spent relaxing, watching some TV, listening to music, or talking with your friends. As busy as your life may get, remember that your mental health just as important to take care of.
3. Don’t procrastinate
Sometimes when those to-do lists are looking long, we have an urge to just curl into bed and ignore the situation, but we all know that we come to regret that decision later on. I know that it is easier said than done, but it’s true: don’t procrastinate. This includes going on your phone, scrolling through Instagram, watching Youtube videos etc. Anything that will distract you from the task at hand and make completing your work longer than it needs to be, has to be put to the side. In order to do this, I usually put my phone away from where I’m working so I won’t be tempted to take a peek at it. I make sure I do my phone activities before I begin my work, so that I can get the urges out of my system. I also let my family know that I am busy doing work, so that they know not to disturb me for a while.
Another important part of not procrastinating is making sure you don’t leave things for the last minute. I know some people will argue that they work best when under pressure, but is it really worth putting yourself through all that stress too? Making sure that your work doesn’t pile up is one way you can avoid these stressful moments of having too much on your plate. There’s a reason why some of the things people leave for the last minute are usually the biggest and most important tasks such as a big paper or a lengthy project. These tasks at face-value seem to be long and tedious and it would just be easier to leave it for another day. Instead of leaving it until the due date is merely hours away, take that large daunting task and break it up into smaller parts that you can complete over a series of days.
Prioritizing your time is how one can avoid procrastinating because when you are organizing your time you are setting goals for yourself to get things done. There is no room for you to procrastinate if you have these goals set out for yourself and stick to them. In no time, you will create a workflow that will have you moving efficiently.
Hectic schedules may seem stressful when you first see the number of things you have to get done, but with these 3 tips you should help you be on your way to focusing your mind and getting your work done on time. Afterall, good order is the foundation of all things.