Now Mom, I know what you must be thinking, “my daughter, the most unorganized, messiest person on the planet is giving tips on organization?!” but try to stay calm, take a few deep breaths, it’s all going to be OK. I think.
In the first few months of my sophomore year in college I’d have to say that the biggest lesson that I’ve learned thus far hasn’t been about math or chemistry (both of which are currently kicking my butt), but in the importance of being organized. I used to think that organization in any aspect of life was pointless, (cue me graduating high school with a 2.5 GPA, and my parents having to replace the carpet in my childhood bedroom after I left because 18 years of my constant messiness left it in such a decrepit state my mother couldn’t stand to look at it anymore) but now that I’m becoming a sort-of adult with with actual adult responsibilities, I’m realizing that organizing my life is the only way to maintain it, and become the successful, hardworking person I’d like to become.
So here’s the first post in a little series about how I’ve become more organized, what I’ve got to say is probably basic knowledge, but hey, I hope this helps.
- Keep a planner.
This is a suggestion my dad gave me at least once a week during my school career, and a suggestion I promptly shot down at least once a week as well. Sure I’ve started a planner a couple of times, but I have never actually kept up with one until this year when my boss presented me with a flowery At.A.Glance that made me think, why not give it a try? Sure enough ladies and gents, I am now a believer.
My planner is one of my most prized possessions, because without it I honestly wouldn’t know where I’m supposed to be ever, but with it I know where I’ll be at this exact time three months from now. It is my biggest tool for organizational success, hence it is tip #1. To anyone who successfully remembers dates and events without a planner, I commend you for your superhuman abilities. But for everyone else, here are a few things I’ve learned about successful planning, hopefully they might be able to help you as well.
- Use a physical planner: personally, I don’t even know how to use the calendar app in my phone. I know, I know I’m failing as a millennial. I find I remember things so much better when I physically write them down and have them on paper, rather than typing them into the mess that is my phone (one thing I still have yet to organize). A physical planner gives you a set space specifically for organizing your day that is distraction free, unlike the many tempting apps on your phone.
- Color code: I color code my planner with three different colored highlighters. Pink for personal items (when rent is due, birthdays, etc.) and school items (when an assignment is due, when a test will be), blue for student government events and deadlines, and yellow for my work shifts and other work related items. This might seem a little excessive, but it really helps me to know what I have going on just by glancing at a day on my calendar.
- Write out your schedule: I don’t do this for everyday, as most of my days consist of the same basic routine, but when I have a day where I need to get a lot done that seems particularly daunting, I’ll sit down and write out a complete schedule for the day in the notes of my planner. This helps me to stay on top of where I need to be, and helps me to de-stress as my busier days seem a little less busy on paper than they do when I picture them in my head.
- Find sturdy planner that you don’t hate to look at: your planner’s gonna go through a lot with you, if you actually manage to keep it for an entire year. That being said, try and pick something that’s gonna last, and is aesthetically pleasing to boot. Here are some links to few cute ones I found on Amazon.
- Orange Circle Studio 17-Month 2017 Do It All Planner, Secret Garden
- Ashley G for Blue Sky Blue Abstract 5 x 8 Weekly/Monthly Planner, Academic Year Jul 2016 – Jun 2017
- Ashley G for Blue Sky “Dot Fleck” 7 x 9 Weekly/Monthly Planner, Academic Year Jul 2016 – Jun 2017