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Schedule Yourself Sane

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Mar. 09, 2015

There was a time in my life when I could remember all that I needed to get done, no need to be reminded or to write things down. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. With a packed schedule, and a constant steam of assignments and quizzes, it’s easy for something to slip my mind. And let’s face it: we can’t afford to let things slip in college. Some professors don’t accept late work, and it can be difficult to reschedule an advising appointment to fit a busy schedule.

So what can you do to prevent forgetfulness? The solution can be as simple as picking up your phone or a pen and paper. Here are some tips to take the pressure off you memory and make your life more organized:

1.     Use a planner/calendar: What I’ve found that works well for me is having a planner to record all of my class work in. I’ll write the assignment in the space for the day it’s due, including what class it’s for. Any assignments/due dates given on syllabi at the beginning of the semester go straight into my planner so I don’t forget about them (that way I don’t have to check my syllabus and planner for due dates). You can do the same with a calendar if you don’t want to carry a planner around or are afraid of misplacing it. Other things you can include in a planner or calendar are class or work schedules, campus events you plan on attending, and club/activity meetings. And if you’re not a fan of all that paper, use a calendar or notepad app on your phone. If you’re concerned about being late for something or missing an assignment, you can always set an alarm on your phone and an extra precaution.

2.     White boards, corkboards, and post-it notes: Another part of my organizational system is to leave myself notes about special appointments or activities that pop up during the semester. For example, if I have an intramural soccer game Monday night, I’ll leave myself a note on the whiteboard hanging on my wall to remind myself. I also keep track of the number of hours I work from week to week so I can make sure my paychecks are for the right amount. The same can be done with a corkboard, or you can simply hang post-it notes instead.

3.     Color-coding: Adding color to your schedule can be fun and organizational! Assign a color to each class, and use that color for everything: folders, notebooks, notes on assignments, and files/documents on your laptop or tablet.

4.     Proximity: Writing things down or recording them by some other means is only half the battle. It won’t do you any good if you leave yourself notes somewhere you won’t see them. If I need to remember to schedule an appointment or turn in a scholarship, I’ll leave a note at my desk, where I know I will see it. Figure out whatever works for you. Maybe sticking post-its to your bathroom mirror works better, or leaving notes in your car.

By taking these simple steps to keep things organized, you can better focus on tackling tasks and assignments. Take things one day at a time to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, and don’t forget to reward yourself and give yourself some breaks! When you record your schedule, you give yourself a visual and allow yourself to have a better idea of how to divide up your time.