Netflix fans everywhere are obsessing over its newest reality hit, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” Kondo visits people who are overwhelmed in their own homes, and teaches them how to organize their houses in ways that are easy to maintain. The Japanese author has a method known as KonMari, where you clean out your items and only keep those that spark joy for you. Since the show’s January premiere, it has inspired viewers everywhere to start their spring cleaning a little ahead of schedule.
It’s time to jump on the “Tidying Up” movement to organize not just your home but your mind and schedule. At the beginning of the semester, it’s crucial to have a tight grip on all school and professional-related activities. What you do now sets a precedent for the entire semester. This is why starting the semester on the right note is essential. Students are involved more than ever with not just a full schedule of classes, but sometimes jobs, internships, Greek life and other student involvement. But organizing school can be tough and even discouraging sometimes.
For most people, school doesn’t exactly spark joy, and that’s where Kondo’s KonMari Method will let you down. Here are 5 ways to tidy up your school and professional life to spark joy within and start the semester on the right note.
1. Download Google Keep
This free app puts Apple’s Reminders to shame. You can create checklists and organize it by, color, label it and pin the most important ones to the top. You can even incorporate images.
You can download the app or use it on web. Like Google Drive, you can access Google Keep from anywhere, which in an emergency can be a lifesaver. Google Keep is perfect for keeping track of assignments, grocery lists and any other notes you need. It’s also not exclusive to just lists. My favorite part about the site is that once you complete a task and check it off, it doesn’t disappear, it just crosses it off and moves it to the completed section. Many people find satisfaction in the little things like seeing what they have completed which then inspires them to be more productive.
2. Get an appointment planner
Not a monthly calendar, not a weekly calendar, but an appointment planner. I always find myself scheduling multiple things with overlap, and that’s where the appointment planner comes in. It breaks each day down by the half hour interval and then includes a to-do list, notes section and another section that will depend on your planner. For me, I can make as many lists as I want, but sometimes I just need to see it in print. It’s important to note that you should only have one planner. Having more than one planner or a schedule app will lead to confusion and misinformation. Switching from a typical daily planner to one thicker than any of my textbooks was the best decision I have ever made when it comes to school purchases. The only struggle is in selection. Options are typically limited when it comes to finding the appointment planner you need. Planners of this caliber can be a little pricey, so it’s important to know what you’re investing in and utilize it the best you can. My personal favorites are Day Designer by Blue Sky and At-A-Glance.
Bonus Tip: Get colored pens and color coordinate! Assign each class its own color and outline the time slot with that color so you never get confused.
3. Create a routine and stick to it
Now that you have a planner to get you to the right place at the right time, you have to learn how to stick to it. The best way to do this is to set a basic routine for yourself, so when life becomes unexpected, you aren’t scrambling. There are three things that need to be on your schedule – meals, sleep, and “you” time. But when things get hectic, the two biggest things that are pushed aside are meals and sleep. In order to do well, you need food. It is just science. Love yourself and eat on schedule. When exam season approaches, sticking to a sleep schedule can feel like it’s nearly impossible. But by scheduling your sleep time, you are efficient in planning for everything else you need to do that day. And then there’s you-time. Every day, you need time with just yourself to relax, whether it’s reading, taking a bath, playing video games or whatever makes you happy. Putting “you” time into your schedule gives you something to look forward to, which can also help with productivity. By following a schedule, you’ll function better in nearly every aspect of your life, including mentally, physically and emotionally.
4. Get an external hard-drive
I always thought that the only people who needed external hard-drives were computer scientists, engineers and graphic designers. That is, until my laptop broke in the middle of the semester. Scrambling, I had to get one to back-up everything to transfer to a new laptop. Funny enough, it took Apple two weeks to send me a laptop replacement. So, in the middle of the semester, right in the heart of midterm season, I went two weeks without a laptop. I was okay because of that hard-drive which I could take to the library, or a friend’s, or work. Now I use my external hard-drive for nearly everything: keeping my laptop clean, organized and running fast from all of the available memory. I got lucky and still had time to back-up everything when my laptop broke. For some people, it’s too late once it breaks. You never know what’s going to happen, and having a backup option will save your life.
Now that you have the proper tools, you are one your way to living an organized life and owning this semester.