How to Stay Organized: Tips from a Senior

One of the things most people compliment me on is my ability to be organized with my extremely hectic schedule. For those not familiar with me, I’m involved with a lot of things on campus, including Student Government Board, a fraternity, five ensembles, an on-campus job and having to allot time for recital rehearsals and class meeting times. You can simply say that I’m a very busy senior. People often ask me how I manage to keep my head straight while not missing anything important. Well, I’m about to let you in on my secrets. 

I think the first point is obvious: know your limits. It’s okay to go out of your comfort zone, try new things and get involved with new clubs and organizations. But it’s crucial to know how much you’re able to handle before you pile on new activities. When you sign up for a class, organization or job, be aware of the time commitments you’re about to make and what’s going to be required of you. 

What usually helps me stay on track is having an online schedule using Google Sheets. I create multiple tabs for each week of the semester and color code each activity. With the different sheets being different weeks, it allows me to plan for however far I want in advance for whatever activities and classes require it. Although I do utilize a physical weekly planner, using Google Sheets allows me to see a constantly updated version from my phone and computer along with being very easy to use versus a mobile calendar app. 

Like I mentioned above, I do use a physical planner. I fill it in a day before the new week starts, and it also lists all of my tasks and due dates that are approaching. It’s always with me so I can jot notes in it on sticky pieces of paper or write down something for my to-do lists. My planner even has monthly goals, sections to take notes, and even a built-in coloring section!

My last tip of advice is to stick to your schedule. Plan times for eating, studying, sleeping, hanging out with friends and all the other things you need to do in order to function. Of course, things can be spontaneous, but if you have a big project due the next day, you should be planning time for that and not to go out with friends. Building in this time will help you stick to a schedule and also form a routine. I know that every day, I’m out of bed by 7:15 am and practicing in the music building by 8 am. It’s part of my schedule since I planned time for it. 

Of course, not all of these things will work for each person; this is what helps me manage everything I do. If you struggle with organization, it’s alright! Everyone can learn how to keep a schedule. And if you had to take away one thing from reading this article, let it be this - don’t overwork yourself. You may have the best planning and organizational skills, but if you’re so busy and overworked, you won’t be able to get much done. So take time for yourself, breathe and do what makes you happy!