Keeping your time and task list organized while in college is frequently challenging, particularly if you’re still adjusting to the transitions required for living on campus instead of at home.
But even if you’ve already been at university for a few years, you can still benefit from a neat calendar, apps for school organization, and a clear schedule. Staying organized prevents procrastination, keeps you motivated, and improves your focus. You might be surprised at the impact of a few simple daily habits when the end of the semester comes around. Here are eight simple ways to stay organized throughout the semester and improve your productivity.
Goal Setting & Tracking
Chances are there’s something you’d like to accomplish this semester besides simply passing your classes. Maybe you’d like to get an A in a particular class or win a sports championship. Your goals might include speaking with your professors more often or exercising regularly. The first step to accomplishing any of these goals is to write them down, with a few benchmarks you can check in on to see how you’re doing. Setting goals before the semester starts is the best way to begin organizing your habits, tasks, and times so they can later become a routine. Reviewing your goals as you move further into the semester can help you stay motivated and on track to accomplish something you’re truly proud of and continue to grow as a student and an adult. You can even use a simple notepad app on your phone or computer to do this.
Make a Calendar
Your calendar is the ultimate tool for organization, but only if you continue to maintain and update its contents. Spend time reviewing your calendar app options before the semester starts, and make sure whichever calendar you pick is something you’ll actually enjoy using regularly. Google Calendar is the way to go for many students, while for others, organization apps like Wunderlust and Trello are a more efficient solution.
A planner is also a great option for keeping up with your calendar. Make sure to add more than your class schedule for best results. Your calendar should remind you when it’s time to work on assignments, when your extracurricular meetings are, and the time and place of your next sports event. You may also want to consider scheduling time to relax and sleep, so you aren’t overloaded with work.
When adding new items to your task list, assigning categories helps you break down what’s ahead into more manageable assignments. You’ll likely want a new category for each class, internship, or even group project. If your task list isn’t digital, you can easily do this by assigning a new color to each grouping. If you’re working with a task list app, then chances are it’s even easier to keep your tasks separated.
Keep Your Class Notes Online
Taking notes with a computer is faster and more efficient than with pen and paper. You’re less likely to lose your notes, and you’ll also find it easier to refer back to when studying for an exam or quiz. However, most students take notes simply by opening a new document every class. With this system, you’ll likely have a tough time finding all of your class notes by the end of the semester. A project organization and notetaking app online make it easy to group your notes by class. In addition, you can easily access your notes from all your devices rather than a single computer. It’s also easier to share your notes with a classmate in this form – all you have to do is send them a link.
Schedule Time for Productivity
Set up a few times on your calendar in which you’ll work productively and organize your tasks each week. Finding a place to be during this time is also important. The most suitable space should have minimal distractions and a comfortable place to sit. Even if you don’t have major assignments due in a particular week, you should still utilize this time proactively to stay ahead of any upcoming assignments. You’ll reduce procrastination and prevent yourself from needing to pull an all-nighter. You might be surprised how much you can get done well in advance of an assignment deadline.
Clean Up Your Space
A tidy desk and dorm often provide students with a motivational and productivity boost that simply makes it easier to get things done. It’s easy to neglect the cleanliness of your space while in college, but as soon as these chores are complete, you’ll likely feel completely different about what you have to do next. When it comes to organizing your desk, make sure your books are accessible, your papers are stowed away neatly, and there’s plenty of open space. If forgetting to clean your dorm and desk is a bad habit, set a few repeating times on your calendar for cleaning.
Take Time for Sleep and Relaxation
It’s just as essential to find time to relax as it is to schedule out when you’ll be working productively. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with assignments or other activities outside class you may forget to take a little bit of time throughout the day to relax. Many students also have a tough time making sure they get enough sleep and as a result, aren’t working as productively. You’ll likely find that a few extra hours of rest and relaxation goes a long way towards improving your focus and concentration so you can work more efficiently.
Make Organization a Habit
Staying organized in college requires more than setting up a calendar and a task list. In many ways, it’s more of a habit than a one-time fix. While it may seem challenging to add these organizational tasks to your routine at first, you’ll likely find that you are able to stay productive more consistently and motivated to finish the projects and assignments associated with classes, clubs, and university life. When you check in with your goals at the end of the semester, you might be surprised at how much you were able to accomplish in a single semester.