It’s scary to think that 3 out of 4 students report feeling stressed. College is supposed to be the best time of your life!
You might think that cutting back on sleep is the best way to fit everything in. It’s easy to fall back on a diet of coffee and energy drinks.
But with a little planning, you can actually find extra time you didn’t know you had.
Read on to learn our best college organization tips.
1. Learn to Prioritize
The best way to make sure you manage to fit everything in is to learn to prioritize. The sad fact is, you can’t possibly do everything.
But you can do more with your time than you think. All you need is a plan of how you’re going to spend your time.
Sit down for an hour on a Sunday evening to plan to week ahead. You can even invite your friends and have a group planning session.
Or use it as an excuse for some ‘me’ time. Light some candles, make a mug of your favorite drink, and sit down with your planner.
If you’re an artistic person, you might want to try keeping a bullet journal.
Check out The High Performance Planner for inspiration.
Block in your classes first, then add your shifts at work if you have a job. Next add social engagements and other commitments. These will change from week to week.
Now you can use half of the remaining time for assignments and studying. Devote the other half to exercise and down time.
If you get a call from a friend to do something and it falls during a study period? It’s up to you to decide how important that social event is.
You’re allowed to say no!
2. Use Technology for Your To-Do List
You probably find yourself getting stressed or anxious because you’re trying to remember everything. Let technology do the heavy lifting for you.
Choose an app to handle your to-do list. Todoist and Any.do are popular choices that work across devices.
Or try out Google Keep for a simple and free option. Add tick boxes to any note and turn your note into a checklist.
Set up the next week’s list during your Sunday planning session. If something is rolled across your to-do list for a week or two, decide if it’s important enough to keep on the list.
If it is, work out why you’re not doing it straight away.
3. Cut Down Distractions
Even the best willpower in the world won’t stop you from getting distracted. Put away your smartphone and close down all those browser tabs.
If that doesn’t work, try putting your laptop into flight mode so you can’t access the internet. Use a productivity app like Forest that rewards you for getting into the zone.
By cutting down distractions, you’re increasing how much work you can get done in a study session. Say you spend half of a two-hour study period browsing Facebook.
That means you need to do two of those study periods just to do two hours of work. But by cutting out the browsing, you can do it all in one sitting.
No one expects you to work for two hours solid. Try the Pomodoro technique to improve your productivity.
4. Set Your Own Deadlines
One of the reasons why students get so flustered is that they use the deadlines set by their tutor. But all it takes to throw you off track is a computer malfunction or a migraine.
So take the deadline you’ve been set and move it by a week. If you finish it by your deadline, you can submit early and have a more relaxing week.
But if something goes wrong or there’s an emergency, you’ve got the flexibility in your schedule to handle it.
Make sure your tutor knows if you’re struggling. There is help available if you ask for it.
5. Avoid Multi-Tasking
No one can actually do multiple things at once. If you try, all you’re doing is quickly jumping between tasks.
That means you never enter the flow state that’s required to make work easy. You’re interrupting yourself by switching from one task to another.
Instead, stay organized by sticking to one task at a time. You might think this will slow you down. But you’ll end up getting each task finished faster.
If you really can’t avoid multi-tasking, do the shortest tasks first. This gets them out of the way and helps you to avoid the temptation to multi-task.
It also gives you a sense of achievement and momentum which helps with the bigger activities.
A great book that can help you improve your productivity is Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.
6. Stay Tidy
A simple way to stay organized is to stay tidy. Otherwise how long do you spend looking for something among the clutter?
Create a filing system for paperwork. Or scan receipts and other documents so you can find them in digital format. Tagging documents makes them easier to find using the search function.
Cut through your clutter to make it easier to find things quickly. If you don’t need something, donate it or sell it to make space.
7. Keep Your Notes Organized
Do you use a single notebook to keep all of your notes in? If you do that across subjects, it becomes difficult to keep track of everything.
It’s even worse if you try to work on loose sheets of paper. They quickly fall out of order and you waste time trying to make sense of them.
Instead, keep a notebook for each subject. Label them so you can find the contents.
If you work digitally, keep a separate notebook in Evernote, or a separate document in Google Docs. That way, you can always find what you’re looking for.
Which of These College Organization Tips Will You Try?
We hope that you’ll give these college organization tips a try. They’ll make your life run more smoothly so you’ll get more out of your time at college.
With a little bit of planning, you’ll soon get into the swing of managing your workload with your social life.
Why not check out our rentals page for more excellent books about productivity?