The coronavirus, aka COVID-19, has caused many universities to transition to fully online and remote classes. As a result, we students have been forced out of our traditional type of classrooms into completely new territory. Online classes are not for everyone and neither is video chat lectures, hence why we chose to take their classes at a physical university and not with a university online. However, it was out of our control and it was necessary to help flatten the curve with the COVID-19 virus. As a result of moving into new territory, many of us struggle with how to stay organized. Many of us have assignments being posted all at once to their classes and it can be difficult to manage and make sure you're adhering to deadlines. So, I have compiled a list of 11 tips to help make sure you're staying on track with your assignments and classes!
1. Invest in A Planner
I used to be one of those people that ordered a new planner at the start of each new semester or school year. I would use it for about the first week and then forget about it. However, this year I took organization very seriously and invested in a type of planner that I knew I would use. Planners can be super helpful for helping remember when you have what assignment due when and other tasks you have to do throughout the day or on a specific day in the month. Writing it down can also help you commit it better to memory so that you know you aren't forgetting anything! Checking it at least once a day is a great way to make sure you stay on track each day.
2. Use Google Calendar
Many people don't like to use planners, because they buy it and then never use it. If you tend to be one of these people then google calendar is a better fit for you! Google Calendar is a great tool to use because you can have it open on your laptop and you can also download the app for your phone! Google Calendar lets you create all-day events for assignments or even tasks that you can delete or check off once you're finished! It's a great way to stay organized virtually and on the go.
3. Download and Print To-Do List Task Sheets
If you need a checklist to keep you on track, a to-do list is your best bet. You can print one out from templates you like online or many stores have them in stock online or on Amazon as well. Many planner sites also offer this as an option with your planner as well, so you get both a way to track your assignments and a way to keep track of things you need to do during the day as well!
4. Buy and Use a White Board Calendar
Similar to the options I listed above, a whiteboard calendar helps you to see what you have due each day while also looking at your schedule for the rest of the month. I invested in one for this year because I knew between work, school, and extracurriculars I was going to be super busy and needed all the organization in my room that I could get. The whiteboard I bought had a part next to the month where you could list tasks you needed to be done each week or day. This helped to keep me accountable if I ever didn't look at my planner for the day or didn't want to get it out. It also helped me keep track of events I had on different days as well as my work schedule. Definitely invest in a whiteboard calendar if you can because they can be used for more than just a year which makes them all the more appealing.
5. Invest in Folders and Binders
This is super important for staying organized for each class. Many professors for in-person classes tend to hand out a lot of items, so it's best to try and organize yourself by having a place to put everything. It also helps to have everything from one class in one place so you're not scrambling trying to find something when you need it. If you do this with a binder, you're able to organize yourself further by having tabs for each type of documents you get in the class such as papers, handouts, the syllabus, tests, etc.
6. Use Google Drive to Make Folders For Each Class
This may be a better option than investing in folders and binders for each of your classes since classes are all online now. Google Drive is great because it lets you add documents to different folders so it's a great way to stay organized online. You can also have subfolders inside folders to make the folder similar to how it would be if you were using a binder, so you're extra organized. This also helps to keep everything you need in one place for your classes if you use google docs to write out discussion posts for your classes.
7. Sticky Notes
Sticky Notes are a great way to write down small tasks that need to be done throughout the day. It also helps to put them in a place you know you'll see them so that you have no choice but to look at what you need to do. It helps keep you accountable and makes you look at your tasks straight on.
8. Stickies on Apple MacBook and Sticky Notes on Windows
If you don't want to buy or invest in regular sticky notes, most computers and laptops have virtual sticky notes! On apple MacBook, it's called stickies, and it's super helpful to have on your home screen. It helps so that when you log on to your laptop for classes and work, you are looking at everything you need to accomplish for the day! You can delete stickies after you accomplish each task or just erase it and start fresh!
9. The Any.Do App
This app is super helpful because it's basically a virtual to-do list. It's also helpful in that you can have separate lists for each specific type of thing. So, you could have separate lists for work, school, chores, and groceries! This way you're staying even more organized by keeping different sub-tasks together under one general list it falls under.
10. Turn Notifications Off and Put Your Phone on Do Not Disturb
Turning off notifications is one of the best ways to help you keep your focus. Turning them off makes it so that you don't have any distractions and can give all of your focus to the assignment or task you need to be working on. If you're not comfortable with turning off all notifications if you put on do not disturb you can still receive notifications, but you won't be distracted, because your phone won't alert you with any sounds that someone is contacting you.
11. Organize Your Email and Inbox
Many professors will be using email and announcements in your courses because they can no longer communicate important things to you in class. Similar to my google drive suggestion, it's going to be super beneficial for you to have folders in your email for each class or at least for this semester. This way once you read it, you have a way to go back to it more easily and it keeps your inbox from appearing cluttered.
It can be challenging and hard to discipline and organize yourself in online classes. However, I hope these tips help to relieve some stress and help you get your motivation back for staying organized and interested in your classes. Staying organized is a key way to success, so with these tips, you're sure to be right on track again!
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