College Organization Tips to Keep Students on Track and Stress-Free

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?


11 College Gifts to Get Roommates and Friends to Help Them Succeed

college gifts

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but sometimes, it can be tough to find that perfect present. Whether shopping for someone special, your mother, or your college bros, finding the right gift that sends the right message can be tricky. 

There is a lot of hidden pressure that is put on gift-giving, especially around Christmas time. The average household spends over $1500 on Christmas gifts each year and that number is only going to rise.

Don’t fret too much, however, because we are here to help. Keep reading for some inspirational college gift ideas that you could get your buddies.

1. The College Cookbook

While it doesn’t have to be this title, it is one that is tailormade for the budget-constricted lifestyle of a student. 

If you can cook in college you will never be lonely, and having a cookbook like this to guide you means you will never be broke either. Giving it to a friend who can cook can be a gift seen in two ways, sincere and jovial, which only makes it an even better choice. 

2. Coffee Makers

Depending on your budget, and who the student is, buddy, family member, loved one, you couldn’t go far wrong with a nice coffee maker. A single serving machine will not set you back too much yet will provide exactly the right amount of caffeine to kick start someone’s day. 

A thoughtful and practical gift that could last through college and beyond. 

3. Smart Programmable Alarm 

The life of a student can be unpredictable, but late nights and partying are pretty synonymous with campus life. So what better Christmas gift for college students than a programmable alarm clock. 

They can enter their schedule as soon as they know it and rest assured the clock will wake them at the right time on the right day. Lectures will be made and not missed with this useful gift for college students. 

4. Selfie Toaster

Sometimes a gift is a gift. It’s fun and frivolous and may even be something only every cracked out when you point out its missing, but that’s the fun and personal nature of gift-giving. 

A selfie toaster is one such product for the friend who is addicted to selfies, filters and all things social media. A photo can be turned into a toast stencil so that every slice comes out Instagram ready. 

5. Fire Extinguisher

Is there any item that is going to be more important in a dorm room than a fire extinguisher? We’ve all been there. A party gets going, Josh decides its time for his famous trick and the next thing you know the curtains are on fire. 

There can be no denying that a fire extinguisher, while entirely practical, is one of the best gifts for college students. 

6. The Gift of Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is a fabulous resource for everybody, but for a student, the ability to get free next day delivery can be a godsend.

While it may seem like a strange thing to give a friend, the first time they need to use it and see what they can save, they will come to realize exactly what a powerful present it was. 

7. Nintendo Switch

College gifts do not always need to be functional. They can be fun too, and right now there is no single thing hotter than the Nintendo Switch (or the Switch Lite)

With games galore, the ability to move from playing in your dorm to on the go as you move around the campus, it is the ultimate college accessory. Not to mention Nintendo makes some of the most entertaining party games known to man. 

8. Chewable Coffee Blocks

We don’t mean a cup of coffee from that dodgy greasy spoon on the corner, who faded sign lays claims to be the world’s best, but rather specialist edible coffee blocks that will give the recipient everything they need to get up and go in the mornings. 

The ability to smell colors and see soundwaves is just an added well-caffeinated bonus. 

9. Swiss Army Knife or Multi-Tool

Students aren’t always known for being the most resourceful, so when thinking of the best gift ideas for college students something like a Swiss army knife or a multi-tool could be a great way to go. 

It helps them be prepared for a range of eventualities as well as teaching self-reliance but giving them what they need to take care fo small things around the dorm without the need to call someone to do it for them. 

A multi-tool and a YouTube video can go a long way.  

10. Smart Notebook

If you want to think about high-end Christmas gift ideas for students then a smart notebook is a great gift to consider. 

Students have to make a lot of notes and carry a lot of things. Things get lost or misplaced. But what if their notes were saved to the cloud? That means every scribble was captured for future viewing. What better gift to give someone this festive period. 

11. Home State T-Shirt

Many students are moving away from home for the first time. That is a big life event and can be challenging for some. What better thing to get a friend this year than a t-shirt that reminds them of where their home is. 

A t-shirt emblazoned with their home state could be just what they needed to help them through their transition. 

The Best College Gifts Speak to the Individual

The same is true for any gift, but college gifts above many will speak to the individual more than anything else. They may be something random or funny, or something that doesn’t make any sense to someone other than you and the recipient. 

College is a time for self-discovery and learning who you really are as much as it is learning a craft or trade. The perfect gift is out there and deep down, you know exactly what it needs to be. 

With Christmas shopping out of the way, why not check out some of our other articles on college life to help you succeed in all avenues of higher education.