Yes, I do consider myself an organizational professional. With the help of some painful trial and error, self-awareness, and coffee, I have discovered the secrets of organizational success.
#1 Write. It. Down.
Do yourself a favor and set yourself up for success. Get a planner. I have one and I use it for everything. It’ll be the best purchase you’ll ever make and your best friend all at the same time. The next step is to actually use it: write down the big projects and the little projects. You will forget that extra credit assignment or even the hair cut you scheduled for next Tuesday amid all the big stuff you have to do.
Keep in mind that getting a planner should make things easier on you. Search Amazon for one that fits your lifestyle. If you have big hand writing, then find a large, full-sized planner that will fit your writing. Do you like a traditional calendar layout, or do you like week-by-week layout? If you prefer the digital world, get a mobile planner or calendar app for your phone and computer. Be sure to get one that you really like to look at. A great cover design and practical interior layout can go a long way in your organizational success.
#2 Plan Everything
From homework sessions to naps, to meals, to walks, to travel time, to the times you just want to sit around and watch Netflix, schedule it. I used to struggle with this at first. I would move scheduled homework time around if I wanted to fit in something else—usually a nap. The key here is to literally schedule those naps. Then, schedule what homework or studying you wish to accomplish within your homework sessions
As long as it’s in your schedule, you should feel no remorse for taking a 20 minute power nap or a 10 minute break from homework in which you browse Twitter, pee, and fill up your water bottle.
#3 Consistency Is Key
Make your schedule and stick to it. Find a routine that works for you. I have a morning routine, a before and after class routine, and a nightly routine. For example, every morning when I wake up, I stretch right in bed. After that, it’s straight to the coffee brewer. With a mug of black coffee, I review my list of to-do’s for the day. Every night before bed, I read an interesting article, a chapter of a book, or anything that will help me decompress and relax for sleep. These are just a few things that work for me. Find something that works for you.
If you’re thinking this is over-kill, empathize with me for a moment. Nothing helps me get in my daily groove more than my morning routine. It takes me less than 30 minutes and by the end I’m feeling awake, alert and prepared for the day ahead. Here is a great reference point for finding your own morning routine.
Make sure you stay accountable. Grab a buddy, a friend, a significant other, etc. to help keep you accountable. A great support team will help you cope with your bloated schedule. If you are both students, then you’re in the same boat anyway, so you might as well help each other out. Schedule study sessions and quiz each other or study quietly. There may be stressful times, but at least you have your people with you who will support you through it.
#5 Attitude Check
I try to stay positive as a student and in everyday life. I’m constantly telling myself little phrases of encouragement to keep from drowning in my own busy schedule. Your attitude is everything. It can be half the reason you’re feeling overwhelmed, especially if you don’t allow 30 seconds to take a deep breath and love yourself.
Every person is different and has different needs. These five tips are just the beginning. Putting them into practice will take discipline and it won’t happen over night. Give yourself time to adjust and try some things out. Take what you need from above, or use it all! The point is to try it if you need some guidance.
Jennae is a senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan majoring in Advertising and Public Relations with an emphasis in PR. She is the Vice President of Professional Development for Grand Valley's chapter of PRSSA. She is also a sports marketing intern for the Grand Vally Athletics program. Jennae enjoys spending most of her time at the beach, but she also enjoys practicing yoga and watching The Office with a hot cup of tea.