It’s back-to-school season and I want to help all of our college-aged readers get organized this semester. Yes, I graduated from undergrad five years ago and graduate school almost four years ago. So there’s reason to argue that I don’t have any relevant advice to give. However, organization is my thing.
7 Organization Tips For College Students
Keep a planner or use some sort of calendar system. Surprise, surprise. I’m recommending a planner. Before I knew who Erin Condren was or discovered her planners, I used a regular old Staples planner to keep track of all my classes, assignments, social plans, Alpha Phi Omega events and work schedule. Figure out what works best for you to keep track of all your classes and events in one central location. Color coding is an effective way to do so so you can track one particular topic at a glace. For example, if all of your journalism class assignments and dates are green and your sorority recruitment events are magenta, they’ll be easy to distinguish.
Save all your syllabi. This is your road map to your semester. Keep a digital copy and print one out and leave it in the front of your binder. If due dates or assignments change, make note of it right away. Transfer all relevant dates into your planner or calendar so that you can see how assignments overlap in your other courses. I remember one time I didn’t notice that the Thursday location of my Tuesday- Thursday class was different. Also be sure to highlight the professor’s and TA’s office hours.
Make an assignment list. When I was taking six classes, keeping an assignment list kept me sane. Gather your syllabi together and make one long sheet of every day that an assignment is due. Because I love a printable, I’ve created a free assignment tracker for you all. Excel is your friend and you can make a customized tracker that also fits your needs.
Figure out your most productive time. Figure out what time of the day you are the most productive and schedule your work around that time. If you’re an early riser- arrange your schedule to get most of your work done then.
Set time goal. Back in my University 101 class freshman year, we learned about the Pomodoro Technique, a productivity method from the 1980s. In this technique you:
- Decide what your task is (e.g. write English essay, proof history paper, etc.)
- Set the Pomodoro or timer to 25 minutes
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
- Take a short break anywhere between 3-5 minutes
- Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break of 15 – 30 minutes
Use tomato-timer.com or your phone to try the technique.
Limit time spent on websites to procrastine. SelfControl or Stay Focused are tools that keep you from accessing websites like Facebook,Twitter, or Buzzfeed when you should be working on that paper that’s due. These are both free and you can customize them to block yourself from whatever website you may want to browse in an effort to procrastinate.
Don’t forget self-care. SLEEP. Take time out for a yoga or a dance class. Join the Quidditch team or any other intramural sport that might give you a little reprieve. College can be hard, so don’t forget to take time to take care of yourself.
Do you have any tips to share with college students? Leave them in the comments below!