How to Get (And Stay!) Organized in 2018

Organization. We love it. We probably even crave it. So why is it so hard to maintain? What's the secret? I don't know. I feel wildly unqualified to be writing this post, but I've learned a few tricks over the past few years, and I figured there's no better time to share than the beginning of a new year and semester! 

Number one: Get a planner THAT YOU LIKE. I put that in all-caps because I think it's the most important part. And here's a disclaimer: I mean an actual, physical planner that you hold in your hands and carry with you. This isn't electronic. I've found that when I actually like the way my planner looks, I am more consistent in using it. I don't know why, but it's true. And if it's true for me, it's probably true for some of you, too. You also need to make sure that you like the layout of the pages inside. Some have extra space to write, some have grids, some have lines, and some have neither. Which do you like? Look for that. Some people like to have time slots in a planner. Great! Find one. Other people, me included, hate those. Also great! Don't get one of those. It's just like clothes and shoes. You wouldn't buy a pair of shoes you hate just because they're shoes, right? Why would you do the same thing with a planner? 

Number two: Create your own system to use in that planner. I like to color code things, which I know a lot of people do. Classes have their own colors, meetings have colors, travel has colors, I'm like Oprah when it comes to handing out color assignments. Everything. Gets. Its. Own. Color. And I love it. I also write everything down in my planner. From meetings to grocery lists to travel plans. It's all there. Figure out what kinds of things you want to keep up with and keep organized, and throw it in your planner. I'm serious. It's like a mental thing... we all love checking things off. It's satisfying and makes us feel accomplished. Find your system and stick with it.

Photo via Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

Number three: Budget. Not just your money. In fact, I'm so bad at that, I'm not even going to mention it. I'm talking about your time. College is stressful. Plan your time wisely. Procrastination sounds like a good idea until suddenly you're drowning in caffeine and papers. Grab that handy dandy planner you love and figure out when you can dedicate an hour to each class, and actually follow through. For me, that means I do my math for the week every Wednesday morning from 9:00 until 10:00. Every Wednesday. Doing that makes for horrible Wednesday mornings, (I hate math) but I don't have to stress about it later. I know that it'll be done and I won't have to worry about getting behind or missing deadlines. Do that for every class, especially online classes. Those are really easy to let slip by and then you're screwed. But it's just as important to allow time for yourself! Carve out an hour or two to pamper yourself, whatever that means. Maybe sleep some more. Do a facemask. Get your nails done. Watch a movie. Whatever you want, just do something you enjoy. 

Number four: And this one seems to go against the normal "organization" post, but... don't be scared to be spontaneous. I know, I know. I just told you to write everything down in a planner and that doesn't really work with spontaneity, but hear me out. One of the best weekends I've had was when I decided to fly to LA to visit friends. I did not plan it. I just went. And it was great. I've figured out that planning everything and staying super organized is awesome and makes life (especially as a college student) a lot easier, but it's important to not lose yourself in the process. Don't become obsessed with planning. Be natural with it, be chill and every once in a while, be a little crazy. Get on that plane and just go. You can be organized later. Your planner will be waiting for you when you get back. I promise.