With the new school year starting for most university students, the age-old question remains: how do you get on top of your course load and stay on top of it? Students have come up with plenty of time management and productivity hacks since the dawn of higher education itself, but at the end of the day, success often comes down to organization. Below are five easy tips for maintaining an organized life during the college semester.
Get the best of both worlds with a digital and physical planner.
Debates over whether a digital planner or a traditional pen-and-paper one is a better choice can get fierce, with both sides of the argument making good points. Keeping a calendar or planner on your devices keeps things streamlined and ultra-accessible, and allows you to set reminders for important items. On the other hand, the traditional route has the benefit of tactile concreteness and sticking around in your mind more effectively. There’s also a lot more you can do with physical planners; for instance, you might prefer to use a blank bullet notebook and plot out your week from scratch according to your needs. By using both methods, you can double your chances of successfully remembering that chemistry quiz next week.
Conserve space in creative ways.
A rite of passage for many college students living in dorms is lofting your bed– but that’s not the only way you can utilize your room’s space to its full potential. Whether you’re on campus or at home, crafty organization methods can keep your space neat and optimal for studying in. Always look for wasted space and think about how you could best use an area for your needs. Sometimes rearranging just a few items can make a huge difference in your quality of life in your dorm, apartment, or any other space.
Always plan for more time than you think you need.
To be fair, the time you think you need may be perfectly reasonable– but that doesn’t mean using that full-time wisely is always easy. It’s no secret that in the modern world, students have a lot of distractions to contend with. By accounting for that extra time you might end up really needing, you can help to mitigate the “I have a month to finish it” to “I have to cram this tonight” pipeline in your studies.
…And while you’re at it, try new ways to track time.
If you’re someone who likes to keep inventory of how much time you have left in order to stay focused, a visual timer may be for you. Or, as Forbes suggests, try your hand at a time audit to better understand how you use that time. It may simply be that you need to adapt to your own time management habits and learn how to utilize your strengths and work around your weaknesses when it comes to efficient time usage. What works for one person may not work for you, but that doesn’t mean nothing will; the important thing is to keep being proactive.
Master the art of notetaking.
Much like keeping both a digital and physical planner, both typing and writing down your notes can help ideas sink in deeper (AKA deep enough for that upcoming exam.) Maybe you prefer the speed of typing rough notes in class and the relaxing process of writing neat, perfectly-highlighted notes afterward. On the other hand, you might like to scrawl down important points during the lecture and create the most aesthetically pleasing Google document known to man later that day. No matter what works for you, the reinforcement of information you gain through doubling up is invaluable. It also helps to learn what note-taking styles work best for you, such as the Cornell method or creating a mind map.