Being a student or having a full time job comes with a lot of responsibilities, deadlines, and due dates. I know from personal experience that sometimes it can get hard to balance school, work, and your personal life if you are not able to manage your time efficiently. Today I’m sharing a few of the things that I have learned over my years in school that help me stay organized and on track.
- Invest in a planner: I know you might be thinking this is unnecessary and a waste of money, but trust me, if you use it religiously, it will change your life. Planners don’t have to be expensive either–this year I got mine from Target and you can find it here. If you are a student I would recommend getting a planner that starts in mid-summer or August that way you can start off fresh every school year and you don’t have to get a new planner when January 1st rolls around. If you have a busy schedule I would also recommend a larger planner with more room to write. My planner is structured by week and has room for my schedule and to-do lists for every day of the week and room for notes in the margins. It’s important to find a planner that fits your needs and inspires you to become more organized. If you’re not totally in love with your planner you will probably give it up after a few weeks so make sure you spend time looking around and comparing different planners to find the perfect one for you! Here’s a few pics of mine:
- Color code: Whether you choose to use colored pens, highlighters, or sticky notes, different colors will allow you to see and read your thoughts more easily. For example, I like to use a red marker to note firm deadlines for papers and other assignments and I use blue to write down smaller personal due dates I make for myself. In high school I would often color code by class–red was for math, blue was science, green was social studies, and orange was english. I doesn’t matter how you choose to color code, as long as you use a system that is effective for you!
- Time out your day: This might sound a little excessive, but it will help you greatly with your time management skills. I think that a lot of people overbook their day and as a result they end up frantically working on a project or assignment until 4 am, running on red bull and coffee. The first step to avoiding this all too familiar fiasco is to take 10 minutes and think about how long all of your tasks are going to take you. I used this trick a lot in high school when I was trying to figure out how long my homework would take me that night. Start by making a list of all the things you HAVE to do that day. Next to each task estimate how long it will take you to complete it. This is where you have to be honest with yourself and set a realistic goal for completion. If you use this method a lot you will become better at figuring out how long your tasks will take you and you can determine when you can squeeze in some time for your social life!
- NO PHONES: I know we’re all guilty of this one–spending 40 minutes scrolling through Instagram when all you were supposed to be doing was checking the time. When you have something important to work on that needs to get done, put your phone in a different room or turn it off so that you’re not tempted to use it. Not only will this help you stay focused, but it will also help you get through your tasks faster as you’re not checking your phone every 5 minutes to see if someone texted you back.
- To-do lists: I’ve already mentioned to-do lists throughout this post, but I want to touch on them a little more. I usually keep a running list of all the things I have to do in future, whether I have to get something done tomorrow or in the next month, so that I don’t forget anything. Then, after I’m done with my classes (or whatever I’m doing) for the day, I look at my lists and create another list of the things I have to get done that night.
Also, make sure you take breaks when needed! I know the feeling of being overwhelmed by writing an eight page paper or working on a massive project the night before it’s due and knowing you’re in for a long night. It’s important to take short breaks after 40 minutes or so of hard work so you can give your brain a break. Grab a quick snack or something to drink, but get back to work before you lose all of your motivation!
I hope these tips a tricks will help you live a more organized life!