Small Changes to Organize Your Life in 2019

When you’re a student, especially full time, life gets pretty messy pretty quickly. We all tell ourselves as soon as the next year or semester starts that we’ll get our lives together. But for some reason, that’s a lot easier said than done. When I became a junior, I told myself I had to be more organized to prepare for the craziness that is senior year. The fall semester was a long period of trial and error until I eventually found a few habits that kept me organized consistently. They worked wonders for my hectic schedule and hopefully, they’ll work for yours too.

1. Finding your perfect planner

Everyone tells you that you need a planner whenever you say you’re disorganized. So, you go out and buy a planner. But for some reason, it never works and you’re back to writing things on your hand to remember them. What no one tells you is that going to Target and buying the first planner you see is almost never going to work. Why? Because everyone’s schedules are so diverse that one planner that works for you might not necessarily work for your friend. It’s best to ask yourself what you really need out of the planner that you’re getting. Do you need an hourly one, so that you can see where you need to be and what you need to be doing every minute of the day? Do you need a weekly planner to help you keep track of assignments or to do lists? Or, you might just need a monthly planner to keep track of those important deadlines. The key to finding that perfect planner is asking what you really need to do and/or keep track of. If none of the formats you find work for you, you can always create your own planner using a blank notebook or bullet journal.

2. Wake up schedule

It happens to us all, that we sleep in too late and then feel like we’ve missed the whole day. I’ve found that the best way to combat this is to have a set sleep schedule. When your sleep schedule is fixed, it forces you to be more productive with your waking hours. Instead of leaving that paper until the last minute, you get a head start on it because you know that you might run out of time later. When you get the recommended eight hours of sleep, you’re going to function better in your waking hours. If you can stick to your sleep schedule, you’ll eventually be able to wake up on time with minimal drowsiness. This tip might be the hardest to stick to because we all procrastinate a little, but being strict with yourself here will outweigh any short term hassle.

3. The ten-minute clean

This tip is, in my opinion, the most important out of the three. Even if your planner is perfectly kept and your sleep schedule is set, your life will still feel disorganized if your living space is. The ten-minute clean is a classic method to keep household chores in check without having to devote hours at a time to cleaning. The trick is to set your phone timer to 10 minutes (or 15 if you live in a larger space) and just tidy during those ten minutes. You can put away those shoes you left out and wash those dishes in the sink. You won’t get the whole apartment, dorm, or house clean in those 10 minutes, but you can pick up exactly where you left off the next day. With this technique, you’re picking up little by little so that the mess never accumulates and stresses you out. By cleaning ten minutes a day, the work seems less intimidating and time-consuming than a three-hour cleaning marathon.

These three tips are what changed the game for me during junior year. Instead of feeling like I spent the day running back and forth in different directions, I knew exactly what to expect when I woke up every morning. It can be hard to implement a new routine, so the best advice I can give is to start slow, adding a new organization method each week. By the end of the month, you’ll have the routine down and the rest of the semester will be smooth sailing.