Okay, imagine this.
You have a midterm on Friday, two quizzes on Thursday, a group presentation next Wednesday, three discussion posts due by Sunday at midnight, and chapters on chapters to read and take notes on for two different classes.
Bet that got your heart pounding just a little bit.
One of the most complicated things for college students to effectively do is organize. Of course, organizing may come easier for some people, but all in all, staying systemically together can just be a big pain in the ass.
I, being the anxious person I am, needs to have a to-do list for every single day with the time frames marked down to the point.
Having a mind full of things you need to get done by the end of the day, or the end of the day can be extremely overwhelming. Having that overflowing basket of laundry, dishes piling up, homework, studying for tests, or doing assigned readings can be very easy to get submerged in, and could also promote every college students favorite thing: procrastination.
Procrastination is without a doubt one of the biggest drawbacks. What I have learned from personal experience as a first-year student at Eau Claire is that sitting down and working on schoolwork with no list of what I actually need to be doing is extremely dawdling.
One thing I purchased (actually one out of four), was the Me & My Big Ideas: My Happy Planner sticker books.
Best. Freaking. Thing. Ever.
They all sorts of categorized kinds of stickers from starting a budget, goals, meal planning, journaling, exercise tracking, to-do stickers, and so much more than you can use in your planner.
By using these, it has made organizing my semesters less of a pain in the ass, and actually fun.
First things first, you need a planner. Just ONE planner. If you are using a planner, an app, or multiple planners, chances are something will slip and you forget to write something important in both planners. To be completely honest, I have no idea how I would have made it throughout my first year if it was not for my planner. I owe it all to my planner. Check it out, they have cute, affordable planners on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble
If stickers don't do it for you, that is perfectly okay. You can try color coding. By color coding, you are separating "branches" of tasks that need to be completed by using colors! Using colors to map out your schedule not only stimulates the creative side of your brain and helps you visually separate what needs to be done, but it encourages you to map through your daily tasks every day. Take three or four different colored pens, pencils, or markers only, too many colors can get confusing.
Or to-do lists. Start it simple... I just recently began doing to-do lists, and once again I wonder how I made it through college so far without one. It is as simple as taking a notecard or a post-it and taping it somewhere where you can see it, like in your planner or on your desk at home. To begin a to-do list, I like to break down what I am doing. For example:
Put Laundry In 3:00-3:15
English Paper 3:20-4:00
Get Laundry/Small Break 4:05-4:20
Chemistry Homework 4:25-5:00
It is as simple as that. It is very important that you give yourself breaks in between almost every task. In breaks, you are giving your mind a chance to recharge after diligently studying. Check! Instant gratification.
These are the three things I do that has helped me immensely with managing my time with school. If you are learning or looking to improve with your time management and organization skills, you must have a positive, encouraging mindset to want to be better at organizing. To build that mindset, you can start by maintaining a clean workspace. A small goal to start with is at the end of every night to try to have a clear desk. Just your computer, lamp, books, desk organizer with utensils (make sure this is organized too!). No clutter, It will keep your room tidy, and it will make it effortless to find what you need, plus working at a clean desk will limit your distractions. So, once you have that proactive mindset, managing your tasks and organizing your chores is something that you will look forward to doing.
It is all so worth it in the end. Being organized via planners or to-do lists can sometimes come at a cost, but the good grades, strong motivation, and the utter relief of stress slipping off your shoulder task after task make it meritable.