Happy Wednesday Everyone!
Regretfully, winter break is coming to a close and I think it’s about time to start talking about the spring semester.
Every semester I like to set little goals for myself in the hopes that maybe they will make the next few months even just a little easier, and this time is no different.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I find that organization is key to a happy and mentally healthy semester. It makes my life so much easier when I have all of my ducks in a row, and although my methods are by no means fool-proof (I still get overwhelmed and behind sometimes), I wanted to share some of the things that have helped me stay organized, on track, and motivated!
1. Make a Master Syllabus!
Okay this is definitely creating MORE work for you in the beginning but I cannot tell you how much this actually worked for me. I would find myself looking at it all the time and it’s just so much easier to only have to go to one place for all of your assignments, quizzes, and exams!
So if you don’t know what a master syllabus is, let me tell ya!
It’s basically just one big syllabus for all of your classes. So instead of having to keep track of at the very least four different classes’ syllabus, you make one yourself of everything.
I color coated and made mine a font that I liked to keep it more interesting!
If you’re really ambitious, you could also move assignments up a week so you’re never behind on them. I have a friend that that works for, but I personally just like to keep everything the way it is.
Having what is all due in a day all laid out in front of you makes your life 10x easier, I promise. It was a life saver for me multiple times in the Fall! I honestly found myself opening it quite frequently on my computer in class (:
2. Use the calendar on your smart phone! (And if you have access, sync it up with a smart watch!)
I’m going back to this method for this semester! I put in my class names, the time, and the location into my calendar as well as dance practices, meetings, and so on and then have it all sync right to my Apple Watch. That way, every time I look at my wrist, there is a little reminder of where I need to be next.
I’m not proud to say but I was a little scatter brained last semester with stuff like this. It would just slip my mind, and so having it displayed right in front of me has always been helpful!
Especially because there is nothing worse or more unprofessional than being mega late or missing something just because you forgot. There’s no excuse for that!
3. Find a planner that works for you (and actually use it!)
I didn’t use a planner my Sophomore year and I really think I suffered because of it. Although you have your syllabus and so on, it’s just so nice to plan your week every Sunday (or whatever day), because everything is fresh and you can see what you need to prioritize on!
There are so many kinds of planners and planner formats but the one I’ve been using for the past year has been from Recollections. It’s literally exactly the same as an Erin Condren and cheaper so it’s a win-win! (:
Plus, you can spend so much time on Etsy looking up different sticker shops to make planning more fun! Be warned though, it can definitely become a guilty pleasure. Some of my favorite shops include The Coffee Monsterz Co and Fox and Cactus!
(3b). Don’t JUST use a planner, an dry erase board calendar is super helpful too!
I wanted to include this as a little part two to the main point of number 3 because this is something that again helped me so much stay on track and on top of all of my assignments.
Like I mentioned before, it’s excellent to plan on a week to week basis, but it’s just as good to plan for the month as well. It reminds you of everything that is due and of meetings etc. that you might have. Plus having one of these calendars hanging up loud and proud in your room is a must. It’s just a little reminder every time you look at it what is coming up and of what you have accomplished. I love being able to look back on the month, cross things off, and see all that I’ve been able to do. Of course we can all attest to how hard college can seem at times, but when you reflect in hindsight of it all, it’s so rewarding (:
And I also love that since you’re using a dry erase board, it’s reusable for years to come, which is totally awesome!
4. Make a promise to yourself.. DON’T start assignments the night before they are due!
This applies for me ESPECIALLY with papers. There is absolutely nothing worse than trying to write an entire paper in one night. I feel agitated, cranky, tired, and worst of all I know I’m not putting forth my best work.
My sophomore year I was awful at this. I can remember doing major assignments and studying for exams the night before and then not getting the grades I wanted.
As of my junior year, I thought to myself, what changed between my freshman year and now? And it was definitely how I did my work. So I made myself a pact that I would, at the very least, work on papers/study even just a little bit 1-2 weeks before the due date actually comes around. And this really made such a difference.
Even if you work on a paper just a little at a time, a few paragraphs a day add up over time. Or even giving yourself the right amount of time to properly research your topics will help you instead of having to scramble for information just to try and prove your point.
Doing this has overall made me happier. I was more proud of the work I was handing in because I had time to proofread it, find the faults, and fix them rather than just saying ‘Whatever happens, happens’.
5. Make time for you!!
In this, I would recommend three things: 1. Self care. 2. Exercise. and 3. Drink lots of water.
I know all of these things don’t necessarily come to mind first when you think about staying organized, but doing all of these will improve your mental, physical, and emotional health, and by doing that will reflect well back on you.
You’ll have a much clearer head and you’ll just feel all-round good and that is the key to staying focused and cranking out all that I know professors demand from you.
It might seem like you don’t have time, but I assure you, you do. I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with all three of those things, but once I push myself to stop sitting around and complaining about ‘not having time’, that a whole other world opens up. So since it’s 2018 and we all want to jump on the bandwagon of ‘New Year, New Me’, I encourage you all to challenge yourself, go out of your comfort zone, and try to find a few times a week to consciously do at least one of the three things listed above (:
You can bet I’ll be seizing the day on self care (A.K.A. face mask central here I come)!
And that’s pretty much it! There are of course other ways to stay super organized, but these are five that have really worked for me personally and I just wanted to share them with all of you!
What do you do to stay organized? Are you excited to take on the second semester of the year? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below (:
Until next time,