3 Tips to Stay Organized when College Gets Chaotic
Balancing school, extracurriculars, a social life, and work can be difficult at times. As the semester picks up pace, events increase, and deadlines quickly approach. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed or get distracted from the tasks at hand. But not to worry, here are three tips that can help you get organized and avoid that mid-semester meltdown.
Tip #1: Figure out your scheduling preferences.
Having your schedule laid out so that you can see your availability for that day, week, or month can help when planning for extracurriculars and social events. This can seem like a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. But consider whether you prefer a virtual or hand-written planner. Do you like to have everything to be on a computer or mobile device or are you a person who likes to handwrite things out? If you like everything in one place, consider if you take notes online or with a pen and paper. Don’t be afraid to try different methods until you find the one that works best for you.
If you decide to track things using technology, add your schedule to your calendar. One that connects to your email is super helpful for when people email links to meetings. If you decide you want to use pen and paper, decide if you want to use a monthly calendar, a planner, or a desk calendar (where you can tear off the pages after you use them).
Tip #2: Color code your commitments.
Using colors to connect certain topics in your mind can help focus your thoughts and immediately distinguish between items on your schedule. Pick a color for each class, a color specifically for work, and then a color for each club you’re in. Then when you are tracking your deadlines and writing out your schedule, use the same color for deadlines that you used for that specific class or for work or whatever else you have on your schedule.
If this seems like too much to try all at once, start by separating work and school, pick one color for each, and as you become more comfortable with the color-coding, you could add more if you chose to.
If you’re wanting to get really into it and you take notes by hand, you can get your notebook colors to match your chosen calendar color for each class.
Tip #3: Prioritize your to-do list.
Most people have some form of a to-do list, whether it is in their head, on a piece of paper, in their planner, or on their phone/computer. To-do lists can be super helpful when you’re trying to get your thoughts in order and writing out things you would like to finish that day or within that week. The trouble is they can become long and overwhelming really fast.
To prevent this, pick out the top 3 things from your to-do list that must be finished first. I pick out mine based on deadlines. Whichever 3 things have the most immediate deadlines are the ones I want to knock out first. Another way to do this can be to see which 2 things are due the soonest and 1 thing that will take a long time which must be started now. You can still write out your whole list, but each day pick at least 3 things to start or partially finish. When you finish those 3, pick out another 3 you want to start on.
As the semester progresses, utilize these three organizing tips to get a better handle on what you need to get done. This can definitely help lower your stress so you can finish strong!
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