How to be more organized in 7 easy steps
Juggling deadlines and commitments at university can be tricky. Getting yourself organized will save you a whole lot of time, stress, and money!
With a million and one things going on at once – everything from lectures, course assignments, and extracurricular activities, to coffee and beer appointments – it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on, what you need to do, and when.
How many times have you tried to tell yourself “it’s fine to leave it all to the last minute, I work well under pressure”, only for it to all end in disaster?
Being organized is easy to master once you put a few small things in place, and it will save you a whole lot of stress, time, and cash (time is money in the uni game) if you keep on top of it all.
How to be organized at university
Save yourself some stress with these easy organization tips for students:
1. Keep a diary
This might sound a bit old school (and just to be clear, we’re not talking about a Bridget-Jones-style diary), but carrying a paper diary is a really useful tool to keep you organized. Go for a relatively small one so you won’t hate carrying it around in your bag, but big enough that you can write a to-do list if needs be. There are loads of diaries that give you space to plan for each day – this is our top pick. Using a diary helps you to keep track of all the deadlines you have ahead of you and you can even put warning messages to yourself on the days approaching a deadline (e.g. ‘Sociology paper due one week from now) so you don’t get any nasty surprises and you can scare yourself into being uber prepared.
2. Write to-do lists
We are massive fans of lists (as this article probably demonstrates). The best thing about a ‘to-do’ list is the sense of achievement you feel as you score things off. Even a day in bed using your laptop can make you feel like you’ve had the most productive day ever if you manage to strike off everything you needed to do. If you feel you’ve got a lot of work piling up, break it all down into smaller tasks and split them across a few days’ lists (your diary will come in handy here).
3. Get enough sleep
You’re never going to feel like you’re on top of things when you’ve only managed a few hours of sleep. It’s recommended that you get about eight hours of sleep a night and you’ll be surprised by how much more in control you’ll feel when you’re well-rested and alert. If you’re exhausted, the chances of you missing appointments or classes are much higher and you’ll lack the motivation to tackle any of your to-do lists.
4. Store paperwork in labeled folders and get more storage
Folders will become your new best friend on your road to becoming organized. They’re perfect for storing lecture notes, seminar work, or anything else that’ll be useful to your studies – including important documents like utility bills or any material sent to you from the uni. You’ll save yourself a hell of a lot of time searching for relevant material by already storing things in the right place so they’re quick to locate. We’d suggest stocking up on some super cheap folders near the start of term which you can add to as the year progresses.
5. Invest in a key tray
Always late because you’re constantly forgetting where you put your keys/phone/wallet? Investing in a key tray may seem like a teeny tiny thing, but trust us when we say it’ll change your life. Buy something big enough that you can dump all your essentials on and stick it next to your bed. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and can be as simple as this one from Amazon.
6. Know how much you can take on and learn how to say no
British people are notoriously bad at saying ‘no’, but not having the guts to turn something down if you don’t have the time or headspace for it could really affect your studies and your stress levels more generally. If you have a deadline coming up that you’re struggling with, and a classmate asks you for help, it’s ok to say you can’t do it. Don’t feel obliged – that’s what tutors are there for, anyway. Similarly, if you’re balancing work and uni and your boss asks you to fit in some extra hours, just say no!
7. Make back-ups of everything on a hard drive
Make doubles of everything. Stock a backup of all your essays, photos, music, films, and files onto a hard drive or on a cloud storage site like Dropbox. That way, if your computer suddenly crashes and all your files are wiped, you haven’t lost all your beloved memories from your last summer holiday. Or, even worse, that 10,000-word essay that you just spent three weeks writing.