School’s right around the corner. Time to get your life back together. Only this time, it’s forever. That’s right, I’m challenging you to take the leap and really commit yourself to…wait for it…try not to cringe…organize.
I am a firm believer that organization is key. I work 10 times better when my room is clean, and even if it’s just the fact that my bed is made I noticeably study better. Granted, this also bites me in the ass when I start a fight with my boyfriend because he didn’t put my mug back in the exact right spot. Maybe I have a low-level OCD issue to look into…or maybe he should just love me as I am. Crazy, neurotic, and insane.
Everything in life seems to feel better when you just take this one step and commit to it. Commit to organization, and commit to helping yourself out because your future self-will thank you.
This summer I’ve really put my best foot forward and attempted to organize as much as possible. That task wasn’t too hard for me because I think organization is fun, so here are some tips for those who may not see eye-to-eye with me on that whole “fun” thing:
Step one: Get a planner, a big one.
You want one of those that has the monthly views and weekly views with a lot of space to write. This is the first part of your journey. Treat this planner like it is your best friend, sidekick, and the one thing you’d never travel without. It is your new must-have.
Step two: When noting important tasks, deadlines, or days write it down in the weekly and monthly view.
This will help you keep track of it all all the time. You will be able to see all of your important deadlines, exam dates and meetings in a monthly view, helping you plan when you have time to do other things visually. Putting them in the weekly view also allows you to look at what needs to get done in the immediate future and on a more detailed scale. This way you will be sure not to forget anything.
Step three: Write down everything you need to do immediately.
Don’t allow yourself time to forget. I know some people like to write tasks in their phone but I believe that leaves too many options for forgetting something. You may write certain things in your notes, reminders, or email, but if they are all in your planner – one safe place – nothing can get lost or forgotten.
Step four: Have a strict work and school schedule.
This semester I’ll be tackling the idea of being highly involved on campus as well as taking classes and working 20+ hours a week. It’s doable and I know it is, but in order to stay on top of everything, my life needs to be carefully planned. Keep an index card in your planner with your class schedule on it, this way you will never forget.
Plan out when you will be in class, when you will be at work, when you have meetings, and when you will go to the gym. You have to stay strong and actually stick to this schedule if it’s going to work – routine is the best way to get, and stay organized. Remember to plan for what’s reasonable and allow yourself a margin of error.
Step five: Put the gym on your schedule.
If you don’t, you won’t go. If it’s scheduled you have to and you are sure you have the time for it.
Step six: Write monthly or seasonal to do list goals.
At the start of the summer I wrote one big list of everything I wanted to accomplish before going back to school. Then I divided that list up more deciding what needed to become a daily task, such as working out, writing index cards for textbooks, or reading. Anything that wasn’t a “daily task” got divided up into weekly goals. One week I cleaned off my phone and organized my Spotify account. The next week I assigned a few more tasks. And slowly but surely, each week I can cross a few more items off that big to do list.
Pro tip: on the very last page of your planner, write all the long-term goals you want to accomplish throughout the year and see how many you get done!
Step seven: Have weekly items written at the top of your planner.
Anything you need to do that week should be written at the top of that week’s page. This way you know what you specifically have to do and it’s the first thing to catch your eye. Then you can go about assigning your tasks for each day.
Step eight: Color code your tasks.
Remember that index card I mentioned for your schedule? Flip it over. On that side color code your tasks. I bought a pack of colored BIC pens and wrote out what meant what. Have a different color for each of these items: meetings, appointments, to do’s, homework, work, due dates, deadlines, tests, phone calls to make, emails to send, birthdays, and anniversaries to remember, etc.
Step nine: Make sure your daily list is complete each night.
Don’t wait until the next morning to decide what your to do list is. Write it in your planner the night before. Any additional tasks that aren’t already written should be done now. If you wait until the morning you won’t be as motivated.
Step ten: Have daily tasks.
Routines are key. Have things that you have to do every day written at the top of each day. Mine always says that I have to workout, journal, work on my coding skills, and read every day. Each day I know I have to do those things and think of where they fit.
Take this summer to truly embrace organization, planning, and routines. You will find your life becomes easier and the extra coordination isn’t as much of a hassle as you’d think. No more worries about forgotten tasks or not budgeting enough time. Start this school year right by investing the time necessary for a calm, cool, collected you.
Featured Image via The Trend’N Female Magazine.