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During a time when many are working in a virtual setting, it is incredibly important to stay organized. When all of your work is placed on one device, and you are stuck working in one place, it can be easy to feel a bit scatter-brained. Differentiating what needs to be done is a challenge, but it isn’t one that you can’t tackle.  

Update Your Personal Calendar 

Personally, I am a very digital person. I dislike handwriting and keeping journals. However, some people really enjoy keeping physical copies of their work, and that is completely okay! Do what works best for you! No matter whether you are more of a screen or a paper kind of person, utilizing your preferred medium is a great way to stay organized.  

When it comes to digital resources, there are so many virtual calendars available to you, such as Google Calendar. Rather than using a predesigned calendar, I tend to create my own using the tables function in either a Google or Microsoft document. I will create a column for each day and a row for each week, removing weeks as I advance and adding more over time. I usually plan at least a month in advance. Beneath this calendar, I will note long-term deadlines and events to be aware of. On top of that, I color code everything! I tend to color my classes in blue, assignments in green, and events in red. 

However, you can also purchase a physical calendar, or a whiteboard with a calendar design. The other option is to DIY your own calendar with paper! It is totally up to you. 

Create the Ultimate To-Do List 

Every week, whether it is digital or handwritten, I update my to-do list. In order to organize this to-do list, I categorize what I need to do by creating headings with their own corresponding tasks in bullet points. My headings usually look something like “important things,” “assignments,” “club activities,” and more. I will even include social events or birthdays to remember, placing them under a “social” category. Sometimes, I will expand on these bullet points with descriptions, adding specific due dates, steps to complete the tasks, and more.

After creating this ultimate to-do list of everything you must complete, both in the long and short run, highlight what you should focus on. I do this every morning to remind myself of what goals I have for the day. I also use color-coded highlights. For example, in my case, a blue highlight means that the task must be done, whereas a yellow highlight means the task doesn’t have to be done, but I should start it. A grey highlight means I will work on the activity if I have time. 

Send Notes to Yourself 

Personally, if I do not write something down, I will forget it. These times are too crazy to be expected to remember everything, and I recommend ALWAYS writing down something that you need to remember. Throughout the day, I may think of other things to add to my to-do list or calendar. I note these things in my phone to add and remember them later. Additionally, I send myself many emails of thoughts, links to check out, and more so that my future self will check the email and remember the ideas I had.

Keep Your Space Tidy 

Some people may not work well in a tidy space. However, I find it difficult to focus when my space does not look neat. If it doesn’t, I’m inclined to fix it rather than complete my goals for the day. Therefore, you should always put something back where it belongs to give yourself some peace of mind. It will be easier to find the items later anyway. 

In addition, set the tone in your workspace. For me, this includes turning on my Christmas lights, using my wax burner, and listening to a Ravenclaw common room ambience on YouTube. I also always have water or tea on hand to stay hydrated.

Work in Intervals

I have recently found that my phone is a major distraction. This isn’t because of social media, YouTube videos, or text messages. It’s because of the countless amount of emails I receive every day. Of course, it is important to check these emails, but I am also the type of person who hates to have unread messages. If I don’t put my phone away and close my email, I will be distracted by each notification that I receive. 

I recommend setting times to check your notifications, whether it is in fifteen minutes, a half-hour, or an hour. An awesome app to do this, that I have discovered, is Flora. The app forces you to set a time to put your phone away. If you check your phone, you will be charged a price that you set for yourself. The best part is that while you are stepping away from your phone, you are actually growing a real tree through the app! Once your time is up, you can take a break to check your phone, get some exercise, and do whatever it is you need to do to stay productive.

Allyson is a junior at SU, studying Luxury Brand Marketing and Management. Outside of the classroom, she can be found writing articles, teaching ballet, watching anime, creating tik toks, and singing showtunes.
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