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My Tips and Tricks for Staying Organized This Semester in a COVID-World

I consider myself the queen of organization. As a type-A student, you can bet all of my assignments are completed days on days before their due dates. Well, that was true before this year. Since unwillingly enrolling in online school halfway through last spring semester, I’ve lost my mojo, to say the least. With so much flexibility in my new schedule due to the pandemic, it’s almost as if I have too much time on my hands. So much time that I procrastinate on simple assignments and end up more stressed than ever by the end of the week, and lately, my stress has taken a serious toll on my mental health. However, I know exactly what it takes to get back on track; it’s all about whether or not I follow through with the goals I set for myself. Keep reading for some of the tips I’ve learned on staying organized and being more accountable within my own life!

Buy a planner and make a schedule

This is hands down my number one tip. Calling my planner my lifeline is an understatement, and I think if I lost it, my world would completely fall apart! I make sure to write down everything in mine–from assignment due dates, test dates, class times, sorority events to club meetings. I write down my weekly and yearly goals in there, too. Writing my goals and to-do lists on paper increases the likelihood that I’ll actually work towards achieving them. Lately, I’ve also started planning out when I’ll complete my assignments and how I’ll use my time. That way, I’m not saving all my work for Sunday night. This has helped me so much and while holding me accountable!

Another thing I love about planners is how much you can personalize them. You can design your planner online with companies like Erin Condren or Shutterfly. If you want a more simple option, you can go for a cheaper option on Amazon. I got mine from Target for around $20, and it is perfect for organizing my life out onto paper!

Take one step at a time

Taking one step at a time means taking one assignment at a time. I often start an assignment only to become overwhelmed thinking about a different one. I’ll stop working on one assignment and start another, waiting until the absolute last minute to finish the first one. It’s a vicious cycle I keep finding myself in. Although I haven’t personally nailed this issue, I’m practicing putting my phone away and concentrating on what is in front of me, whether that’s the work I’m doing, the canvas I’m painting or the people around me. Being present is so imperative in carrying a task out from start to finish. 


Another tip I have for you is to give yourself an ultimatum. My personal rule for myself is that I won’t go out until the majority of my work is done for the week. This means designating Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays as homework days. I try not to go out until I’m nearly finished with my work. Don’t be fooled, I go out every Tuesday or so, but when I do, I make sure to plan out how I’ll get back on track the next day. This aids in assuaging my stress about school each weekend. Needless to say, my Sundays have been a lot less scary since implementing this into my weekly routine. 

Make your bed

Someone once told me that making your bed every morning would make you more productive during the day–I didn’t believe it. However, since trying this out, I’ve realized it isn’t a lie; it’s the truth! Making my bed in the morning makes me feel so complete and successful. I feel like I’m on top of the world and as though the world is my oyster! After all, that’s how we should feel anyway.

Remember to clean up

This tip goes off of my previous one,  but it’s just so important I had to mention it. When my living space is tidy, my whole day feels tidy. When everything I need is in its proper place, I feel much more motivated while carrying out my daily tasks. Cleaning is also scientifically proven to ease stress and anxiety. In fact, cleaning is therapeutic for me. While some may dread wiping down the counters, sweeping the floor or doing laundry, the result is so worth it. 

Dress it up

My last, and probably most popular tip, is to wake up each morning and pretend as though you are going to class or work. Feeling motivated during a pandemic is hard, to say the least. I do love dressing nicely, but these days I know people question the point of doing so. I mean, why would you dress up just to do work from bed? Trust me! Putting on those jeans just may be what pushes you to grind out that paper. Take a shower, do your hair and wear a casual outfit before starting whatever you need to do. You’ll feel more put together and confident in doing whatever it is you need to get done!

Getting back into a routine similar to the one I was in before the pandemic is hard. With classes and virtually all events online, feeling productive is a daily struggle for me. Since implementing these tips and tricks into my life, I’ve started to feel more like my pre-COVID world self. I hope whoever is reading this feels motivated to be more efficient with their time each and every day. Life is short, so time is precious. Use it wisely. 

Taylor Walsh

Virginia Tech '23

Hi everyone! I'm Taylor Walsh and I'm a Professional and Technical Writing major here at Tech. I'm from Bristow, Virginia--about 40 minutes south of D.C. In addition to writing, I love painting, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family!
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