I’ve always been good with organization. Ever since I was in elementary school, I loved planning and organizing things
(except my bedroom, haha). So the transition from high school to college wasn’t too hard for me. I was used to working hard and having a completely different schedule didn’t throw me off.
But I know it’s not the case for everyone. Organization is one of the things college students struggle with the most. It also happens to be one of the most important skills you can develop during your college years! You will need it to stay on top of assignments and social commitments, just like you will need it in the future with deadlines and appointments!
While I may be an organization freak, I also know what it’s like to be a hot mess. So today I thought I’d share some of the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with you!
Use your planner
That’s a no-brainer. The #1 tool that helps me staying organized and manage my time correctly is my planner. I would be lost without mine. Between work, classes, blog-related things and my TV shows, I need a place where I can track down everything that is going on in my life. My planner helps me balance everything out.
And don’t just buy your planner and let is sit there. You need to actually use it! You don’t have to make it all pretty if that’s not your style, but making it cute actually helps stay organized! It will make using your planner much more fun. I personally don’t color code according to classes, I have my own system! But I like to use pretty pens and highlighters so it looks cuter on paper. I wrote a whole post about how I organize my planner if you’re curious!
If you’re not much of a paper person, that’s fine too! There are tons of apps that can help you get organized. One that I’ve started using recently and absolutely love is Google Calendar! It’s easy to use and you can use pretty colors for each of the “events” you log in. If you always have your phone, laptop or tablet with you, then you always have your schedule on you, which I think is great! I personally don’t carry my planner everywhere with me, so the app is a great way to stay organized when I’m on the go!
I use both Google Calendar and a planner and I really like that system! I use my planner for everything uni-related, like classes, internship-related things and assignments and exams due dates. I also write in work shift and my TV shows’ air time. I use Google Calendar for all the rest! I log in classes, work shifts, meetings and TV shows, but also blogging events (like chats). I’m still new to this system, so it might change, but so far I love the combo planner/app so far!
Highlight important things
One of the ways you can keep your planner organized is by highlighting what’s important. As I mentioned, I have a color code of my own: I use one color for exams, one color for assignment due dates, and one color for oral presentations and things that fall into the “other” category. Having a color system (or highlighting in general, for that matter) helps make what’s important stand out. That way, if I want to have a quick overview of what’s to come, I know what to prioritize.
Write down all due dates
I know you might think you’ll remember everything, but you won’t. You don’t want to be that student who comes to a class one day only to find that your midterm is today (#beentheredonethat) or that you had a paper to hand in. Instead, write down all deadlines and exams dates as soon as you receive your syllabus! Even if it might change throughout the semester, at least you’ll have a general idea of when things are due.
Keep a to-do list
One of the things I like to do when things get overwhelming is write down a to-do list. This is, once again, something that I cannot live without. Weekly and daily to-do lists are life savers when it comes to prioritizing. I’m quite the busy gal and I can’t always remember everything that I have to do during a week. So, what I like to do every Sunday night is to go through my planner and write down every single task that I have or want to accomplish during the upcoming week. It can be blog-related, homework, studying, personal… Everything I have to do, I write down. You can also have a daily to-do list if you prefer that system. I suggest writing it the night before so when you wake up the next day, you will already know what needs to get done and you can get started ASAP!
Keep your desk clean
That’s probably the thing I struggle the most with
(if you could see my desk right now…). But, having a clean desk not only helps you be more productive, it also helps you with your organization skills. If you know where everything is all the time, you won’t have to search for that important paper all over your room when you need it. Instead, keep things tidy and make sure you have as much desk space as possible (even if you have a small desk)! Only keep what’s really important, such as a pen holder, your laptop, a desk lamp, etc. Try to keep your desk clutter-free. Trust me, you’ll feel much better this way (and I know what I’m talking about!).
Use your syllabi
Remember that thing your professor handed to you on the first day of class? Don’t throw it away! It’s actually super important to ensure your success in your classes. I cannot tell you how many times I check my syllabi during the semester! Write down all assignment deadlines and exam dates in your planner! This will help you know what’s coming ahead so you can prepare correctly. You can also refer back to your syllabus for explanations concerning the different evaluations in each class. Normally, there are a few details to help you understand what you need to do and what your professor expects from you. Whenever I doubt about something, I always make sure to look back to my syllabus before asking the question to the professor. A lot of the time, the answer will be “check your syllabus” anyways.
Invest in storage items
If your room, desk, or backpack is a real mess, invest in some storage items! That way, you can put all of your clutter away, and you won’t be turning your room upside down to find these notes you took last week. I have a box underneath my bed where I put all of my notes and textbooks of previous semesters. I also use that box to put out-of-season clothes and anything that just doesn’t fit anywhere else but that I want to keep.
As for my backpack, I mentioned in my back-to-school essentials post that I love using an expanding file. I think it’s a great way to keep my notes and hand-outs organized, and it keeps them from getting wrinkled in my bag. Storage items are a great way to stay organized and they can be quite inexpensive!
Want more tips to be more organized?
Organization is a topic that is often covered in college blogs. Here are a few of my favorite posts on college organization:
- 45 Tips for Staying Organized in College by Sara Laughed
- How to Be Organized: College Edition by Chase the Write Dream
- Stay Organized With My Due Date Spreadsheet by Michelle Adams
- Organization Tools You Should Be Using by Living Between the Lines
- The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Life in College by Macarons & Mascara
- Life Binder: Planning Ahead by My Crazy Hectic Life
- How I Stay Organized by College with Caitlyn
- How I Use Google Calendar by Kayla Blogs
- Ultimate Guide to Managing College & Work by Desire Chanteuse
- School Supply Organization: College Edition by Killer Harmony
What are your tips for staying organized in college?