Between taking 18 credits, keeping a healthy lifestyle, writing essays for college applications, and attempting to have even a glimpse of a social life, I barely have time to do my own laundry. But don’t worry, I get around to it… eventually.
A lot of people think that I’m very intelligent having a spotless transcript and all, but I just chalk it up to exceptional organizational skills. So while I can’t teach you how to score at 36 on your ACT or really anything about the LSAT, MCAT, or any of those dreaded acronym tests that are more fun to say than actually take, I CAN set you up with tools for lifelong success.
I write down everything in my planner, literally everything and anything that I need to get done or remember. I have developed a very advanced and sophisticated system for my planner: different color pens for each class and activity. I realize that this might raise some heart rates, but remain calm. Beginning planners need to create a system that works for them and makes sense in their heads. There’s hope for everyone; my brother finally learned how to use an agenda during his Junior year of college.
The best thing to do is to find a planner with a layout that you think is the most useful for your daily life and career. My current planner is from Day Designer, also sold at Target, and I chose it because each day has ample writing room as well as a “To-Do” list on the righthand side. This planner is also great for prioritizing your week as it asks for “This Week’s Top Three” on every weekly spread. All my classes are written in different colors to keep my assignments straight and each completed task receives a red check mark next to it.
Here’s what a typical week in my planner looks like:
Like anything worth having, consistency and commitment to your planning is crucial for success.
Keep a Clean Space
Clean and tidy is the new dirty talk. Being clean should translate from your bedroom to your closet to your car to your computer’s desktop. I am constantly tidying my space to make it faster and easier for me to access the things that I need. When your space is clean, your mind can be clean. If you know me then you know that my room stays neat and that everything has its place. You would also know that I hate when people move my things around whether it’s messing up my bed or moving things around on my desk and cosmetic drawer. Avoid additional stress due to a cluttered life by keeping your living quarters in shipshape and not inviting those friends who tend to disrupt your system over often.
Cut down stress by nailing down the top 3 things that you need to get done that day right when you wake up. With so much on my plate, I prioritize tasks based on importance to me and deadlines. For example, finishing my Global Supply Chain paper and presentation = high priority, meeting up with the college tennis player that keeps snapping me = low priority. See how simple it can be?
Utilize Your Supplies
Do you remember that strange girl that sat across from you in your 8th grade algebra class with her rose patterned planner that perfectly matched her binder and a pastel pencil case still in the same color story filled with those Paper Mate mechanical pencils and felt pens that were practically black market currency all laid out across the desk like she just returned from the hunt of the year? Well, that was me. Back to school shopping at Target was the understated Disney World. 8th grade was the year that I lost my virginity to accordion folders. (Binders weren’t really doing it for me.) Nervous and unsure where that relationship would end up, I can proudly say that we’ve been together ever since. Here’s a list of the top supplies I use to stay organized every single day as a student:
- Planner or agenda
- Accordion folder (or binder with appropriate tabs)
- Google Drive Folders & Desktop Folders
- Colored pens/pencils/highlighters
- Pencil bag with pockets for flash drives and headphones safekeeping
- Sticky notes
Post Your Goals
Wise people say that you should write out your goals and place them in a spot where you will see them everyday. I wouldn’t classify myself as a wise person per say, but I’m hoping that I could use the sheets of copy paper tacked to my wall overwhelmed with my short term and long term goals like a press pass into the covert clique. Writing your goals down really helps you to put your life in perspective and will motivate you to keep working towards them everyday. A wise man I met in college wrote his career dreams and character goals on sheets tacked to the back of his door, and even though I have always known that successful people do this, it was him who inspired me to sit down and write out my own.
Wake Up Early
I wake up at 7am every morning, whether I have class or not. I love my mornings because I know a pretty little thing is always there waiting for me to get out of bed and I watch his face light up everytime; Alright, it’s just my MacBook. The morning hours are the calm before the storm where I can enjoy my Stevia spiked coffee and dive into my work without the interruption of constant notifications. I find that I am the most productive in the mornings and will block off this time for myself.
Image credits to: Creek Line House