Two planners, a pocket calendar, two phone apps and a small notebook. It seems excessive, but for me, it’s just part of staying organized.
I have to be organized — to a fault — and while I have come to accept that not everyone will go overboard like I do, there are still some tried and true tips and tricks I can share with those who have trouble keeping track of their time.
First and foremost, find a system that will work for you. Sure, writing things down helps me, but for the next person, scribbling down that appointment on paper might be completely worthless.
No matter what type of planner you prefer, I would suggest having two planners: one dedicated solely to school assignments and the other for day-to-day activities and commitments.
Once you’ve nailed down how you’ll be doing your planning, it’s time to focus on how you should plan your time.
It can be easy to pack your schedule so tightly that you have about five minutes — or less — between each activity, but this is counter productive to both your schedule and your health.
Whenever possible, plan extra time between activities. For example, if your class ends at 10:30 a.m., don’t commit yourself to be anywhere at least until 11:15 a.m. Your class could run late, you could hit traffic, etc., and you don’t want to be running late everywhere you go.
You must be realistic about your time. It can be easy to say, and you’ll definitely garner some sympathy, that you plan to go home and study for eight hours. But let’s be honest, that won’t be a solid eight hours if you include bathroom breaks, snack breaks and screen breaks (because, yes, you will check your phone).
Instead, schedule in hour-and-a-half increments of studying with short breaks in between. If you already know that you’re going to take a fifteen minute break at 5:30 p.m. to eat, you’ll be less likely to break early and waste time.
And last, but not least, when it comes to scheduling, make sure to schedule some down time — or you won’t get any. Pencil in at least an hour each week dedicated to self-care.
Whether you blast music in your room and dance out your frustrations or pop a bath bomb in the water and take a relaxing soak, it is important to give yourself some “me” time.
Now, stepping out of the planner, there are other ways I remember things — one of which is to tell other people. Just don’t rely solely on them remembering.
You’d be surprised how many times I’m reminded of a responsibility by a friend. It might seem annoying in the moment, but you’ll be thankful you didn’t forget that exam.
It might seem silly, but I slap sticky notes on my bathroom mirror and inside my laptop from time to time.
Come prepared to college with the tools to stay organized, and if you find yourself continually forgetting assignments and appointments, don’t be afraid to ask a professor, adviser or classmate for help. You might just learn a new trick that works for you.