The start of classes brings the collecting of shiny new folders and binders, and the notion that, “This year, I’ll be organized!!” However weeks, or even days, later, the folders still lie empty, and our backpacks explode with random half sheets of paper and empty mechanical pencils. As tempting as it is to throw up our hands exclaiming, “it’s no use”, resist the temptation to give up, oh fellow students. Following are a few helpful hints that keep me organized throughout the entire semester:
1) Don’t over-organize. If you start off the semester implementing a meticulous system of organization, you won’t be able to keep up. If it’s a hassle to put it in it’s rightful place, you’ll never put it there. Maybe instead of a million tabs in one giant binder, color coordinate a folder and notebook. You should have easy access to everything. Stack books, binders, and notebooks in such a way that you can remove one (no matter where in the stack it is) without any trouble.
2) Only bite off what you can chew. In my opinion, there’s no bigger mistake a student can make than looking at all the assignments that are due for a given class. There is no better way to overwhelm yourself. The advice I give to everyone is to focus only on the assignments due that week. If there’s a giant project due in the near future, chances are the professor will remind you. I write out a post-it note with all the classes and homework for the week clearly written out alongside their due dates. Cross off things as you finish them, and start a new post-it whenever needed. When tackling a week’s worth of work, do everything in the order it’s due. It’s no use being done with the reading for Thursday on Monday night when you have a paper due Tuesday morning.
3) Schedule fun. Instead of telling yourself that you have to do X, Y, and Z at some point during the day, make up a schedule somewhat like the following:
1-1:30: Hangout with Roomie
It’s helpful to do things in small chunks followed by fun or relaxing activities so that you have something to look forward to.