College students are champs at spreading themselves too thin and putting too much on their plate. Check out the picture of stitch to see a real life image of me during finals. For example, right now I am working two jobs at home, blogging for Hawktalk (totally my favorite responsibility, in case you were curious), a senator for Student Government, a member of the One Campaign, doing community service work at running philanthropy events at home as Miss Ocean County of the Miss America Organization and crazily, about to compete in the Miss New Jersey pageant! AND, I’m trying to be a normal college student who keeps up her GPA and gets enough sleep.
In the midst of discussing all of these things with my best friend, she asked “Ally, how do you do all of those things and not forget about activities for each?” In trying to find my response, I realized I’ve never really thought about my ‘secret to doing it all’. However, in my reflection I finally figured out that it’s all about staying organized!
Having a hectic schedule can definitely be overwhelming. My simple answer to keeping my head above water and being successful is organization. I write things down, I mark all my important dates down on a calendar, and I keep all important documents and notes in folders. I thought I would share with you guys the different things that help me to ‘do it all’. Or, I guess you could call it my many secrets to staying organized, calm, cool, and collected (most of the time).
First, write everything down! Try keeping a notebook with you at all times. Write down lists of things you have to get done or things you cannot forget to do. For example, I write lists of things I can’t forget to bring home if I’m going home for the weekend, like a book for an assignment due Monday or clothes I need for work that weekend. It’s also helpful to make lists of things you have to accomplish for a specific obligation. For instance, a list of the things you have to get done for a club or extracurricular activity you are a part of. You could even try making a list of things you have to buy like deodorant, toothpaste, or more popcorn. There is nothing worse than going on a target run and realizing you forgot to buy more popcorn. Lists can also come in especially handy when you are traveling and thinking about what to pack. So, list it out ladies and gentlemen.
Next, definitely use a calendar! I use a planner that I bring to classes and meetings with me! If I were to lose my planner it would be like losing my right arm. You can buy big planners or small ones but they are great to carry with you and write down homework and due dates in. A lot of my friends use online calendars so you could even can keep track of your day right from your phone! You can also use your calendar to write down your schedule for the day. You can write down meetings, work hours, family obligations, doctors appointments, assignment due dates, team practices, workouts, or plans you have. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with trying to balance all of the different things you are juggling, but by keeping track of everything in a calendar you take a lot of pressure off yourself to remember everything. Try writing down things the minute they are assigned or you learn about them and check your planner each day in the morning. It’s a great way to keep yourself on a good schedule!
A planner or online calendar is also a great way to make sure you dont forget about homework. Personally, I write down my homework assignments and what they entail in the weekly section of my planner. When my day is over and I go back to my room to start my homework, I just check what I wrote down earlier that day. This way, I know I’m not forgetting anything! For all of you guys who are notorious for forgetting a homework assignment, a calendar or planner could save you some serious grief (and your grade!)
Lastly, try keeping everything you need for a specific class or obligation together in a folder or binder! Keep all of your math notes and handouts in one folder and all of your World Lit essays and notes in a different folder! Try color coding things. I use a blue binder, folder, and notebook for student government and a pink notebook and folder for work stuff! This way, when you are looking for an important paper, you know exactly which folder to look in. You can also organize essays and papers on your laptop by making a specific folder to save everything in. I have seperate folders in my Google Drive for everything! This is a really good way to keep yourself from losing things, too. If you are organized about where you keep everything, you won’t have to stress out about where you put your syllabus or the notes for a test you’re trying to study for!
One more little pro-tip. Clean your desk and room every night! It doesn’t take long to get rid of clutter and put things back where they belong. By having an organized, clean space, you will have better mindset and feel like you are capable of being on top of all your commitments, which you all are, rather than feeling like they are weighing down on you!
Hope my secrets to ‘doing it all’ and staying organized helps you all as much as it helps me. I know you guys can do it!