The Best Ways You Can Stay More Organized This Semester

The beginning of a new semester means new classes and a different schedule, which can be hard adjusting to! It also means a fresh start for better habits! Here are a few simple ways you can make staying organized easier and more enjoyable.

Use the sticky note feature on your laptop to create course-specific reminders of upcoming assignments, meetings, or tests. If you want to go the extra mile, color coordinate them! This is an easy way you can see what’s coming up at a quick glance – no more scrolling through old files to find that buried syllabus.

Which brings me to my next tip – put the syllabus for each course you’re currently taking on your home screen near it's coordinated sticky note. It’s super efficient to check the dates for your classes and you can get into the habit of going over them each week or on days that work for you. I usually try to check mine every Sunday to see what’s coming up that week.

Set reminders on your phone! This one is really easy to do and can make a huge difference in getting you on the right path to getting organized and staying organized. I have a few that are set to remind me every week on a certain day at a certain time. For example, I have a weekly blog post that’s due every Wednesday for a particular class. I have a reminder that pops up 2 days before the blog is due so I can be sure to get it done before the online deadline closes.

Give yourself incentives to get things done on time/early. Often times we need to actively look for the things we desire that feel like a treat to make the hard work we do worth it. Some things I enjoy adding in and around my classwork, job, and volunteering are buying myself an iced coconut milk latte, having a movie night with good snacks, or getting a gel manicure. These are things I strategically place into my busy schedule to keep me motivated and get through the less fun stuff.

Schedule your down time just the same as you would your tasks. It’s really important to carve out some time for the things that will help you to stay happy, healthy, and productive. Without this balance, burnouts can happen quickly and you can feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to get done. When I create my weekly schedule on Sunday nights, I make sure to write in the specific “down-time” activities I want for that week. Some things I include are: workouts, naps, social time with friends, and FaceTime calls with family.

Cut down on your social media “scrolling”. While it’s extremely easy to get caught up in all the beautiful feeds out there, whether it be college meme accounts on Facebook or travel bloggers on Instagram, it can be a big waste of time. But you already knew that. Something that could help minimize your scroll-time could be to set a timer for 10-15 minutes during which you can scroll your heart away, but as soon as the time is up, it’s back to work on what you need to get done. While this isn’t the most fun thing to do, I have found it can be really effective when keeping you to a tight schedule.

Plan your meals/snacks to give yourself the energy you need to stay motivated. This one is huge! Without proper nutrition, your body doesn’t have the energy it needs to feel motivated to get the things you need to do, done. Even if you’re on a meal plan, you can plan ahead to the snacks you might want to bring/buy on campus to ensure you never find yourself in a hunger-slump. I recommend buying bulk dried fruit or nuts that you can put into individual bags or containers to toss in your bag. They end up being a lot cheaper than buying pre-packaged snacks and are often a lot healthier!

Have a partner or friend be your conscience when you need motivation. While being self-motivated is a great thing, sometimes we need someone else to give us a nudge when we’re feeling slow. Try and have at least a few people you can rely on to give you encouragement, whether it’s someone in one of your classes who you can schedule study dates with, or someone you can rely on to get you to the gym. These people are so important on the days we need a hand, and they know you’ll turn around and be there for them!

Set short term and long term goals. Try and set goals for each day of what you would like to accomplish, even if it’s just reading one chapter of notes. Write down your goals or share them with others so you can feel good about getting them done. Long term goals are a great way to stay motivated on things you may not enjoy at the moment. By creating a vision of what you would like to accomplish, and imagining how you’d like to feel when you’re done is a really powerful way of manifesting your future and staying in touch with what you’re working towards. Journaling or doodling can be a good way to explore possible goals you might want to set as well!

Take the time to plan out your daily/weekly/monthly schedule in a way that makes sense to you. This is probably the most crucial one. If you are truly aligned with what you need to get done, what you enjoy doing for fun, and know how to schedule it (and stick to it) then you’re ahead of the game! Whether it’s by doing an online calendar, putting lists in your phone, or writing in a planner, the main point is that, when you look at the tasks ahead of you, you feel in control and not only motivated, but excited! Stress is often linked to uncertainty, so the more you can prepare and ready yourself for what is coming up, the better you’ll feel and the more you’ll enjoy throughout each day!

Try a few of these tips out and see if they make a difference in your schedule! Now go own this semester, girl!