I’ll be honest, right now I have dirty clothes sitting in my closet and bathroom, clean clothes in my hamper that have been waiting to be folded since Monday, books and random papers are scattered across my bed and desk, and there are shoes everywhere. I am not perfect, it’s been a rough week. However, organization is a habit that we create and it is not always easy to maintain, I am exhibit A. The following tips are habits that I do my best to follow everyday, sometimes things will slip out of your control, but doing your best to stick with these can make a huge difference.
1. Utilize a planner
I’m not sure if it is even possible to be organized without a planner. They are an essential to keeping your schoolwork in order and ensuring that you are staying on track. If you don’t have one, I can only hope you have a great memory.
2. Write down tasks for the week on Sundays
Laying out the week on Sunday nights allows you to figure out what to expect of the coming week, how much free time you will have, and how to section your homework off throughout the week. If you’re going off of your memory or you’re not creating a plan, you may not be as prepared or you may do too much in one day.
3. Prepare the night before
It is best to take the extra five minutes at night to ready your backpack with the notebooks and essentials you will be taking to class the following day. As an added helpful tip, layout your clothes while you’re at it. This limits time you have to think about it in the morning. Plus, I know we all wake up late sometimes, save yourself the stress and have everything ready for your future self.
4. Set specific days for cleaning
Setting a day for cleaning and doing laundry is helpful so that you know when it was last done and you already have the time set aside from that day.
5. Multitasking doesn’t work
I know, multitasking is the epitome of the 21st century, but it is also very distracting. For example, imagine that you are watching a movie while doing homework. Watching that movie could turn one hour assignment into three.
6. Meal prep
Prep your meals at the beginning of the week, it can be just your dinner or the whole day. It sounds tedious but the time you spend cooking and prepping now, is time saved later.
7. Go to the store the same day each week
Similar to the idea of picking one day to do your cleaning and laundry, this is good for ensuring that you will have the time to go to the store set aside. This will also save you money so that you are not making several trips to the store and buying more than you might need.
8. Take five
Take five implies to take five minutes every day to pick up your dirty clothes, clean off your desk, make your bed– do what you need to do to clean your room. When your space is organized, you will feel more organized mentally.
9. Set a budget
Setting a budget is not only an efficient way to save money, it is also a good way to keep track of your money, savings, and bills. Sectioning your money into these three areas and knowing what you have left will remove some of the stress if you feel you are overspending or are unaware of where your money is going.
10. Exercise in the mornings
Exercising, if you do not already partake in it, is great for your overall health and for reducing your stress. If you do exercise, working out in the morning will get it out of the way early so that you are not trying to squeeze it in later in the day, or pushing other responsibilities aside for it. If you are someone who feels better working out at night, schedule this and go at the same times so that you know it is something you have to do, similar to any other responsibility.
11. Set intentions for the day
In the morning, in addition to scheduling your week on Sundays, wake up and refresh your memory of what you need to accomplish and plan the order in which you will do it.
A healthy mind makes for a healthier life. Getting enough sleep may not seem essential to organization, on the contrary, when you are well-rested it keeps you in a more positive mindset to go about your day. Not to mention, as much as napping is wonderful, this cuts into time that could be used to be productive and accomplish your homework during the day.
13. Organize folders on computer
Raise your hand if you have your files scattered all over your computer, in no particular folders? *Insert hand-raising emoji here* Solve that now by creating folders for your assignments. Organize them by class, chapter, date, whatever method is going to be easiest for you to follow and keep up with.
14. Print syllabi
Syllabi should not be forgotten about after syllabus week. These are your guidance, they are centered around organization. Print them out and refer to them every week to see what you can expect. Write down tests and exams so that you can refer to them in your planner and begin to plan for them early.
15. Organize classes in separate folders
Having a notebook that is a collage of information, big no no. If one page is english notes on Walt Whitman, and the next is preparation for your exam in statistics, this is going to make it difficult to find them later. Knowing where your information is kept and keeping classes separated is a way to ensure that you have what you need when you go to study it later.
16. Color code
Color coding is not just for middle schoolers who love to have 30 different colored pens, they are also good for organizing classes. Assign a color to each class, it will make it easier when referring back to your planner for the week.
17. Prepare for tests and large projects in advance
Attempting to learn eight chapters in one night, while impressive, is not going to help you retain all of the information, nor is it healthy. Studying like this likely requires a few cups of copy and little to no sleep. If you see an exam approaching, plan your studying to begin at least a week in advance. Studies show that your retention for information significantly increases the more you read it.
18. Group chat with classmates
That exercise where your professor asks you to turn to the person next to you and get their number in case you miss class, do you remember that one? I bet you never contacted that person. I understand, it seems uncomfortable. Although, it is beneficial to have someone to go to in case you get sick and can’t make it. Missing class means falling behind, means losing your organization, means stress.
19. Keep a calendar on your phone
How often do you not have your phone with you? I can’t name a time mine isn’t with me. Use your technology to your advantage by setting up a calendar with reminders for assignments and events.
20. Don’t procrastinate
This probably should have been number one, this is the golden rule of college and organization, and yet we all end up waiting until the last minute. Due tomorrow does not mean do tomorrow. Planning ahead is the key habit you should develop to ensure you stay on track and, in turn, stay organized.