If one of your goals for spring semester is to be more organized, you're probably already familiar with many of the conventional organizational methods such as keeping a planner, making lists or bullet journaling. However, sometimes the structure, format or rigidity of these techniques just doesn't suit you − and that's okay! There are plenty of other, less commonly known ways to stay on top of your busy life. Follow along for a few unique tips to help you get organized!
1. Verbally recite your plan for the day.
Either before you go to bed the previous night or first thing in the morning, say your plan for the day out loud. Be as thorough as you can by including specific times and locations. For example, your plan might start off like this: "At 9:00, I will go to the dining commons and eat breakfast. From 9:30 to 10:30 I have an English lecture, then I will go to my biology professor's office hours until 11:30. At noon, I will meet my roommate at Subway and we will have lunch..." and the plan will continue for the rest of the day. This method is great for people who better retain verbal information than written information, and hearing yourself say your tasks out loud gives them a tangible quality and provides more motivation to complete them.
2. Designate one note on your phone as an "information dump."
Personally, I dislike the rigid structure of a planner or calendar and prefer to just write things down as I need them. On the Notes app on my iPhone, I keep one note in which I jot down anything and everything I need to remember, without having to file them under a specific date or category or worrying that I will run out of space (How do people fit everything in those tiny calendar squares?). My designated note consists of lists of all sorts (to-do, shopping or packing), driving directions, cool quotes heard throughout the day and class schedules, making it truly multi-purpose and serving my needs perfectly. There is no format and no constraints, just all the information I need in a designated, easily accessible place.
3. Keep all notes and schoolwork in one collective unit.
This method especially pertains to students who prefer taking notes on paper and having hard copies over doing schoolwork digitally. If you are one of these students and find yourself struggling with keeping all your papers organized, try keeping everything in just one large notebook, binder or folder instead of having separate items for each subject. Multi-subject notebooks automatically come with dividers and you can purchase binder dividers for less than two dollars so you can easily keep subject material together while reducing clutter and keeping things simpler! Plus, you will never again have to show up to a class just to realize you brought the wrong notebook; those days are behind you!
4. Have an accountability partner.
If a friend is also trying to up their organization game, offer to create an accountability partnership! Set a specific interval and time (for example, every day at 9:00 p.m. or every Sunday at noon) to check in with each other and confirm that each partner has been on task over the latest time period. Having to regularly report your productivity to a trusted person increases motivation and accountability, and you can help each other along the way by providing reminders, assistance and encouragement. Getting more organized can be a challenge, but it helps to face it with someone at your side.
5. Designate a space for miscellaneous items.
Physical organization is not just about categorizing every object and labeling every box, but also about accounting for items that cannot fall into any category or fit into any specifically designated area. These misfit items can easily create clutter and take up space so it is wise to assign a box, drawer or shelf solely for miscellaneous objects. That way, you can categorize and label the rest of your space without worrying about placing objects in categories to which they don't belong or leaving them to waste space. Much like number two on this list, it's perfectly OK to designate a "dump space," as long as it helps you stay more organized at the end of the day!
There is no right or wrong way to be organized, as long as it's effective and works for you. In addition, don't be discouraged if none of the suggestions on this list fit your lifestyle; it's all about finding inspiration, being creative and crafting new solutions. Happy organizing!
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