There are very few feelings of happiness in this world next to that of a brand-new planner, a three-ring binder, a set of gel pens with the plastic tops we all secretly chew on, and a few college ruled spiral notebooks. The preparation for a new school year or the start of an internship make organization feel like a game and less like a task. In all honesty, back-to-school shopping has become my Christmas in July as I’ve grown older.
This is why customizable planners are so tempting, with endless sticker and labeling possibilities over the span of twelve months or more, making each day’s tasks a little more decorative. Who doesn’t love to make their weekly agenda custom tailored to whatever aesthetic they’re jiving with that month? However, once the stickers lose their appeal and the assignments take precedence over color-coordinated folders, sometimes it can become remarkably difficult to remain on top of the organization that you had envisioned for your future plans.
This “prioritization burn out” or “organization slump” of sorts is common—so don’t worry if you feel like the scheduling skills you started the semester with begin to feel slightly lackluster a few months down the road. When assignments begin to pile up and exam dates are looming, updating your Excel spreadsheet quickly plummets to the bottom of your to-do list (and rightfully so). It always seems like it’s right around this time when you miss your first assignment of the semester, or at the very least forget it exists until 45 minutes before the due date.
So, while it is normal and perfectly okay to push organization and planning to the side, it can inadvertently detour plans you’ve set to prepare you to become the best version of yourself. It can be easy to wave the white flag and give up on all hope for any form of coordination in your day-to-day life, but don’t be so quick, as avoiding unneeded anxiety can be as simple as pivoting your tactics to fit your busy schedule.
With that being said, here are Five Organizations Pick-Me-Ups to help you survive midterms, and any obstacle the rest of the semester might bring!
- Use. A. Calendar … please …
We have all been the victim of a missed meeting at least once in our lives, and as a senior, interviews are the last thing I want to forget about personally. Using a calendar ensures you don’t have to save the date with the only insurance being your memory. Whether it be in writing on the wall, or as a notification on your laptop, a future tap on the shoulder to remind yourself is always beneficial. More conveniently, many email services such as Gmail and Outlook combine calendar features so you can schedule directly from emails received and attach anything needed for your meetings.
- Make sticky notes your friend
If you have a heavy course load, or are spread thin with multiple events, using color-coded sticky notes can be helpful! Using a different color note for each class, club or meeting can help you to maintain a schedule of what is due and in what quantity. Putting the notes in a place you frequent, such as on a mirror or on your bedside table, will ensure you don’t miss out on something important.
- Form one habit you complete every day
Though you probably already perform multiple habitual tasks a day, designating one to be completed consciously each day can help with routine formation. This habit could be as simple as stretching for 10 minutes before bed, a specific skincare routine or listening to a podcast episode while making breakfast. Having one aspect of your day that you can look forward to and expect can be instrumental in forming healthy practices.
- Clean up your desktop
We are approaching midterm season, which means you should have a sizable stack of assignments, study guides and lecture slides accumulated. Whether you prefer your work in print or digital, keeping desktop folders labeled by each class or a file folder with individual tabs is a quick way to alleviate the stress of locating past work. Knowing you have completed an assignment when studying for an exam but being unable to find it in your downloads takes away from necessary study time. Taking a second to sort each course out can save you from future headaches.
- Don’t neglect your inbox
It always seems like the second you intentionally leave one email left unread, within the next minute there’s 15 more. It can be easy to blow off emails when they get too overwhelming, but it’s just as easy to miss a deadline because you didn’t want to fire up Gmail for a quick 10 minutes. If a full inbox makes you want to flee, creating inboxes to separate your mail can make the influx of communication a bit more manageable.
If you feel that midterm slump creeping on, don’t lose hope! Staying organized is never a linear path because plans change as quickly as we do. Finding different ways to keep your brain decluttered and your days worry-free is important to building on your daily and future success!