It’s midterms, ya’ll, and you know what that means… a pile of assignments, constant stress, and a never-ending list of to-dos. With so much going on, it’s easy to forget an assignment or meeting when everything feels like a top-priority project. I’ve found having task-oriented to-do lists the best way to keep track of all the chaos during the busiest part of the semester. Take a look: maybe my method can help you, too!
(A note: List-making doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s cool too! If you try it and find it unhelpful or stressful, don’t worry. Find what works best for you!)
I have two notebooks that I use to keep track of my assignments. My first is a weekly and monthly agenda by Rifle Paper Company. Each week, I check all of my different syllabi and write down the assignments for each class. My agenda is formatted so that each day of the week has two checklists: I use one for assignments, and the other for meetings or personal tasks I need to accomplish.
I use this weekly agenda to format my second notebook, which is smaller, and the pages are composed with a dot-grid. Either at night or in the morning, I write down smaller daily goals each day as a list of to-dos. Rather than “Essay due Friday,” as I might put in my agenda, I’d write down “research and outline essay” on my daily list for Friday, and then “draft essay” on Saturday. The agenda has my due dates and big goals, but the daily notebook contains the smaller working parts that help me organize my tasks.
It took some time to understand my own limitations, and how much I could feasibly do in a day when I made these daily lists. If I don’t finish something, I try not to be too harsh on myself. We’re only human, after all! Instead, I just draw an arrow through the task to remind myself that it needs to make the list for the next day. Otherwise, as I complete each task in my notebook, I cross it out. When I fully accomplish a homework assignment or task and submit it, I cross it out of my weekly agenda.
This sounds like it takes a lot of time, and when I started figuring out which system worked the best for me, it definitely took a little bit more effort. However, now that I have the system down to a science, it takes me less than ten minutes to assess what I need to do and record it in my notebook. And as a bonus, it’s a great feeling to be able to physically see the tasks you’ve finished each day! I wish you the best of luck on your midterms and the semester ahead, and hope that you find a system of study that works best for you!